Frequently Asked Questions

I want to inspect the property before I bid on it. How do I go about that?

The Sheriff's Office does not know whether or not persons occupy the property and has no lawful authority to give permission for any prospective bidder to enter and inspect any structure located on the property to be sold. As such, properties likely cannot be inspected prior to the sale. The prospective purchaser buys the property, more or less, "as is, where is." Any other questions regarding this, should be directed to the attorney for the plaintiff or the mortgage company.

I want to know more about the property for sale. How many bedrooms does it have? How many bathrooms does it have? What are the real estate taxes? Does the well and septic need improvement? Are there any liens on the property? Are there any back taxes due? Are there any easements? How old is the roof? Are there any plumbing issues? Has the house been winterized (if vacant)? How old is the furnace? Does the house have central air conditioning? Does the property meet code?

The Sheriff's Office conducts the sale of the property, but does not have specific information regarding the property or the condition of the property and what improvements may be required.

All properties are sold "as is". Persons interested in obtaining information about a property are encouraged to contact the plaintiff or their attorney of record.

If you have a serious interest in a property, you may desire to contact a title company or an attorney to perform a title search. Questions regarding the legalities of purchasing a foreclosed home should be directed to an attorney that specializes in foreclosures. Further, it is the buyer’s responsibility to have the occupants legally removed if the property is occupied.

The Notice of Foreclosure Sale states a judgment was entered on a specific date for a specific amount against the defendant. Is this amount the opening bid?

The plaintiff determines the opening bid. The mathematical equation to determine this is not known by the Sheriff's Office. The opening bid may be below or above the amount specified in the judgment.

How and where do I go to research what encumbrances may be levied on the property? I might be interested in the property, but how do I research the financial obligations that go with the property? What about back taxes? What about other defendants listed on the Notice of Foreclosure Sale?

The buyer assumes all liens and legal encumbrances on the property. The Sheriff's Office cannot provide legal advice on how to properly investigate what financial obligations may be outstanding. Other defendants listed on the Notice of Foreclosure Sale may have a financial interest in the property. Resources available may be a title search, record search, the Clerk of Courts, Treasurer, and the Register of Deeds.

If I bid on the property, will I be given time after the sale to go the bank and get the amount specified in the minimum deposit language contained in the Notice of Foreclosure Sale?

The successful third party bidder is required to have 10% of their bid in cash or in bank-certified funds made payable to the Dane County Clerk of Courts at the time of sale.

Some Sheriff Sales are either cancelled or adjourned. Why?

The plaintiff in the case may cancel or adjourn a Sheriff's Sale. Typical reasons for doing so include settlement or bankruptcy. In this situation, the Sheriff's Office has no control over whether a sale is cancelled or adjourned or how many times that may occur.

In addition, the Sheriff’s Office may adjourn the sale up to 3 months at the if the Sheriff’s Office considers it in the interest of all persons concerned . Notice of adjournment is given at the time and place fixed for the sale. Further notice shall be given by posting or publishing the same, or both, as the time and circumstances permit.

Where do I find postings for Sheriff Sales?

A copy of the Notice of Foreclosure Sale is posted on the bulletin board near the west entrance of the City County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Madison, WI. If the property for sale is outside the City of Madison, a notice is also posted in the municipality where the property is situated. A copy of the notice is also available for viewing on our website.