An Intro to Sheriff Sales in Philadelphia

Due to all the talk in the news about mortgage foreclosures, many people have recently asked me about buying foreclosed properties at sheriff sales. As a result, I thought I’d write a post about how Philadelphia Sheriff Sales work.

In Philadelphia, there are two types of sheriff sales - tax lien / tax delinquent sales (tax lien and tax delinquent mean the same thing) and mortgage foreclosure sales. Each type of sale occurs once a month.

At these sales, a number of properties get auctioned off by the Philadelphia Sheriff and the highest bidder wins the property. If you are the winning bidder of a property, you must immediately pay ten percent of your winning bid in cash, certified check, attorney’s check or money order to the Sheriff. You then have 30 days to pay the remainder of your winning bid (Click here for more information about how to bid on properties at mortgage foreclosure and tax lien / delinquent sheriff sales).

Here is how each type of sheriff sale works and where you can find more find information about upcoming sheriff sales.

  • Tax Lien / Tax Delinquent Sheriff Sales


A Tax Delinquent Sheriff Sale allows the City of Philadelphia to recapture unpaid municipal debt levied on properties located in the City. These debts can include outstanding water and sewer bills, School District of Philadelphia taxes or City property taxes. Although the main goal of a tax delinquent sale is to recoup unpaid debts for the City, one can bid on, and become the owner of, a tax delinquent property after the original owner fails to make arrangements to pay the outstanding debt. This is one method of acquiring lots, houses, or commercial and industrial buildings.

In general, the properties listed in a Tax Delinquent Sheriff Sale are in very poor condition. But, you are free and clear of all liens levied on any property you buy. In turn, there are a number of properties that sell for prices far below market value.

Tax Delinquent Sheriff Sales usually occur on a Thursday at 10:00 AM. You can find a listing of all upcoming tax lien / tax delinquent sheriff sales in Philadelphia by clicking here.

  • Mortgage Foreclosure Sheriff Sales
A Mortgage Foreclosure Sheriff Sale allows mortgage companies and other financial institutions to recoup lending debts, primarily in instances where a homeowner defaults on his mortgage payment. At a sale, the bidding price on each foreclosed property starts at the outstanding loan amount of the property. Since a portion of the mortgage is normally paid off by the original home owner, this presents a great opportunity for a real estate investor or a first time home buyer. Nowadays, you’ll see anywhere between 400-500 foreclosed properties listed in a Mortgage Foreclosure Sheriff Sale.

Mortgage Foreclosure Sheriff Sales usually occur on a Tuesday at 10:00 AM. You can find a listing of all upcoming mortgage foreclosure sheriff sales in Philadelphia by clicking here.

This sounds too good to be true, so where’s the catch? Well, there are a number of gotchas for a first time sheriff sale buyer. For example, you may end up buying a property that has a large amount of unpaid taxes. Therefore, you must do your homework.

If you are fully prepared before attending a sale, you can really walk away with an amazing deal. Be sure to research the amount of outstanding taxes due and inquire about second mortgages before buying any property listed at a Sheriff Sale. A useful online tool that will save you a lot of time researching mortgage foreclosure and tax delinquent properties in Philadelphia is PhiladelphiaSheriffSales.com. The site provides you with a detailed listing of every sale. Each property is listed on a map on a map with street view pictures, descriptive information, owner information, yearly market values, and outstanding tax information. You can also use the site to discover new property investments in Philadelphia.

For more information visit: Frequently Asked Questions about Sheriff Sales in Philadelphia.

Post on Philly Living's Philadelphia Real Estate blog.

An Intro to Sheriff Sales in Philadelphia

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