Sheriff Sale of Real Estate FAQ
What is a Sheriff Sale?
An execution on a judgment that may be taken on real estate to satisfy a debt.
This is NOT a Tax Sale, which is the responsibility of the Dauphin County Tax Claim Bureau.
Where are Sheriff Sales held?
Each year there are 4 regularly scheduled sales listed on the Dauphin County Court Calendar. These sales are held in the Dauphin County Administration Building, Corners of Second and Market Streets, Commissioners Hearing Room, Harrisburg, PA, at 10:00 AM.
Additionally, there are 4 continued sales listed on the Dauphin County Court Calendar which are scheduled midway between regular sales. These sales are held in the Dauphin County Courthouse, Corners of Front and Market Streets, Main Lobby, at 10:00 AM.
How can I determine if a property will be sold?
Listings of all sales may be viewed on the Sheriff's Website or at the Sheriff's Office, at no charge. Upon request, listings will be provided at a nominal fee. Listings for regular sales are published by the Middletown Press & Journal and the Dauphin County Reporter, for three consecutive weeks before the scheduled sale.
May I preview the listed property?
Neither the Sheriff nor the Plaintiff in the action has physical access to the property. Properties are owned by the debtors until sold on the day of the sale and are not open for public viewing.
What stops a Sheriff Sale?
The sale can be stopped by (1) the writ being stayed, i.e., all proceedings involving the sale are stopped by the attorney for the Plaintiff; (2) a court order; or (3) an active bankruptcy.
Can a sale be postponed?
Yes. When a sale is postponed, it may be continued to a continued sale date or the next regularly scheduled sale date.
When do the sales take place?
Sale dates and times are listed on the Sheriff's Website. The sales always are scheduled on a Thursday at 10:00 AM.
How much does it cost to bring a property to sale?
Effective with the filing of Real Estate Executions for the January 2013 Sheriff’s Sale an advanced fee of two thousand dollars ($2,000) shall be placed on retainer by the attorney for the plaintiff, from which sheriff’s costs and advertising fees are deducted. A refund, if any, is issued at the conclusion of the action, or additional funds collected, to zero the balance due to the Sheriff.
What method of payment is accepted if I purchase a property?
The successful bidder shall provide payment in full at the Sheriff's Office, Room 104 of the Court House, by 2:00 PM on the day of the sale, in the form of cash (in exact amount, large denominations only), certified bank check or money order.
No personal checks are accepted. If payment is not presented by 2:00 PM, the property is re-auctioned at 3:00 PM at the Sheriff's Office, the same day of the sale. The original purchaser at sale shall be held liable for the deficiencies of the re-auction and additional cost of said sale.
How can I determine the amount of money the property will be sold for?
The attorney who represents the plaintiff determines the amount. This is the "upset price" which may or may not be disclosed at Sale.
Is any property research required before the Sale?
The Sheriff guarantees no free-clear title to any property sold at Sale. The purchaser assumes all debt attached to the property.
Conditions of Sale