Civil Process: About Sheriff’s Sales
What is a Sheriff’s Sale?
A sheriff’s sale is a public auction of real property which takes place at the end of the foreclosure process.
A foreclosure occurs when payments have not been made on a mortgaged property. As a result, the lender files suit in Superior Court to terminate the property owner’s rights of possession so that the lender may sell the property to recover its loss. If the lender prevails, the court then directs the sheriff to schedule the property for sale.
The terms “foreclosure” and “sheriff’s sale” are used interchangeably on this web site.
When and Where
Sheriff’s sales are held on Thursdays (excluding holidays) at 2:00 p.m. in the Freeholder’s Public Meeting Room, 5th Floor, Records and Administration Building, Court Street, Morristown, New Jersey.
Sales can and do change at a moment’s notice. To confirm a property’s sale date, please contact the Legal Services Division’s Foreclosure Unit at 973.285.6702. You must have the case number or the defendant’s name for inquiries.
Notice of Sales/Advertisement
All sheriff’s sales for real property are advertised on Fridays in the legal section of the Daily Record for four consecutive weeks prior to the initial date of sale. Sales are also advertised for four consecutive weeks in a second newspaper that serves the area in which the subject property is located.
The Legal Services Division maintains an online database of sheriff’s sales which is continually updated as information changes. While every effort is made to insure that these listings are accurate and timely, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office does not warrant or guarantee the reliability of same.
Posting of scheduled sales
One week before the sale date, a list of the next scheduled sales is posted on the bulletin board located at the building housing the Legal Services Division.
Location of the Legal Services Division
The Legal Services Division is located at 560 West Hanover Avenue in Morristown. If you perform an address-based location lookup at one of the third party mapping web sites (provided by Google, MapQuest, etc.), please be aware that at the present time, the result will show an incorrect location. For an accurate rendering of our location (based on latitude/longitude) and to obtain directions, click on the image below.
The mailing address for general correspondence is as follows:
Morris County Sheriff’s Office
Legal Services Division
P.O. Box 900
Morristown, NJ 07963-0900
The information which follows is provided as a public service by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and is only intended to present a general overview regarding the manner in which sheriff’s sales are conducted. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of this information. Individuals who plan to attend a sheriff’s sale with the intent of purchasing a property are advised to proceed with extreme caution.
Sheriff’s sales are not for the inexperienced. Prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with the sales process and seek legal advice prior to bidding.
- Foreclosure sales are for real property only; the Sheriff’s Office does not know what structures, if any, are on the property.
- Up until the sale actually takes place, the defendant (owner) is entitled to his privacy therefore, prospective purchasers will not be able to enter or inspect any buildings that may be located on the property to be sold.
- The owner has no legal obligation to allow anyone to examine the property prior to the sale and may not take kindly to uninvited visitors.
- The Sheriff’s Office does not know the conditions of the titles.
- It is strongly recommended that potential bidders determine if any prior liens exist, via use of a title search, since payment of same will be the responsibility of the purchaser. Some liens must be paid no matter when filed, such as tax liens, sewer and water liens, etc.
- The status of a property may change at any time, even after a sale has occurred, by court order.
- Sales of real property are “open type” auctions (no sealed bids).
- A minimum bid of $100.00 is required.
- The property is sold to the highest bidder.
- The successful bidder must pay a minimum of twenty percent (20%) of the total bid price at the time of the sale. This is called a bid deposit.
- The bid deposit must be paid by cash, certified check or cashier’s check only.
- Official bank checks or treasurer’s checks will not be accepted unless accompanied by a letter from the issuing bank stating its check is the equivalent of the aforementioned or if we receive permission from the attorney for the Plaintiff to accept the funds.
- Checks drawn on attorney trust fund accounts will NOT be accepted.
- As there is no guarantee you will win the bid, checks should be made payable to yourself. If you win the bid, you will endorse the check and sign it over to the Sheriff of Morris County.
- If the full bid deposit is not given at the time of the sale, an announcement voiding the sale will be made at the sheriff’s sale and we will immediately proceed to sell the property again.
- The balance of the bid is due within thirty calendar days from the date of the sale.
- Additional time is not granted to the purchaser to obtain a mortgage.
- The homeowner has a ten day period after the sale during which time he/she may redeem the property. If this occurs, the purchaser’s bid deposit will be returned.
- Interest is charged on the balance due beginning on the eleventh day after the sale.
- If the balance is not paid on the 30th day, the property will be sold a second time without further advertisement. The purchaser will be held responsible for all losses and expenses but will receive no benefit from this second sale. The bid deposit will be retained by the Sheriff’s Office to be disbursed by court order.
- The purchaser will receive a sheriff’s deed after payment of the balance of the bid. An Affidavit of Consideration will be attached to the deed and must be with the deed upon recording of same at the Morris County Clerk’s office.
- The deed may not give clear title to the property. In order to obtain a clear title, all liens, taxes or encumbrances must be satisfied. This is why we recommend a title search be performed beforehand.
- It is the sole responsibility of the purchaser to record the deed and pay the applicable fees in the Morris County Clerk’s office.
- If, after the sale and receipt of the sheriff’s deed, the property is owner-occupied, the purchaser must obtain a Writ of Possession to be served on the defendant with instructions to vacate the premises by a scheduled date. This is handled by the Summons and Complaints Unit.
- If, after the sale and receipt of the sheriff’s deed, the property is tenant-occupied, the purchaser must go through Landlord-Tenant Court to perform an eviction.
Are you a homeowner facing foreclosure?
Help is available to homeowners through NJ’s free Foreclosure Mediation Program. This program aims to assist homeowners avoid foreclosure by proposing work-out and payment arrangements that balance the interests of the borrower and lender. You may apply for this program online or by calling 1.888.989.5277.
- NJ HomeKeeper Program
- New Jersey Homeownership Preservation Effort (NJ HOPE)
- NJHMFA: Mortgage Assistance Pilot (MAP) Program
- Making Home Affordable
- Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF)
- Hope Now
- HUD: Avoiding Foreclosure
- A homeowner may, at any time prior to the sale, try to save his home or property interest in several ways. He may try to reinstate the delinquent amount owed, pay the judgement in full, obtain another loan, etc.
- A homeowner may also request an adjournment at any time prior to the sale. By statute, the sheriff has the discretion to grant up to two 14-day adjournments. Unless otherwise provided for, these adjournments (if approved) will be given in one consecutive 28 day period.
- A homeowner who seeks an adjournment must submit a written request to the Sheriff’s Office and include the reason(s) for the request together with a fee of $28.00 payable by cash, money order or check made payable to the Sheriff of Morris County.
- Adjournments are granted at the sheriff’s discretion. The decision is based on the information supplied in the written request. Adjournments are NOT automatically granted.
- A homeowner has a ten day period after the sale during which time he/she may redeem the property. Redemptions may be extended only as a result of a court order.
Are you a tenant in a property in foreclosure?
Tenants can’t be evicted solely because the property where they live is in foreclosure or has been foreclosed. NJ’s Public Advocate offers a Tenant Toolkit and Resource Materials.
- Foreclosure Listings
- Online up-to-date
database of sheriff’s sales.
- Project Lifesaver
- Giving caregivers and
families peace of mind.
- CrimeStoppers, Inc.
- Crime doesn’t pay but
- Video Library
- Useful videos produced
by the Sheriff’s Office.
- Inmate Visitation
- What you need to know
prior to visiting an inmate.