ANDERSON — Every month, the Madison County Sheriff’s Department conducts a sale of properties where banks and lending institutions have regained possession.

Fifteen properties will go up for auction at the Jan. 24 Sheriff’s Sale starting at 10 a.m. in the council chambers of the Madison County Government Center.

The properties listed for sale have either been foreclosed for failure to make mortgage payments or have an unpaid court-ordered judgment placed on them.

Deena Watkins is the administrator of the Sheriff’s Civil Office that oversees the sales each month.

Watkins said the properties are listed for mortgage foreclosure or when a property has been listed as collateral on a debt.

She explained the legal notice has to be published 30 days before the sale and must appear for three consecutive weeks.

Depending on the property’s location, the legal notice appears in The Herald Bulletin, Elwood Call Leader or Pendleton Post.

The bank asks for the properties to be included in the sale by filing necessary paperwork with the Madison County Clerk’s Office, Watkins said.

Since taking the job as administrator, Watkins said the annual numbers of properties included in the Sheriff’s Sale have been declining.

She said in 2018 there were 341 properties up for sale and that number dropped to 266 in 2019.

On average, 50% of the properties sell, Watkins said.

She said it costs $350 to list a property and the county general fund receives $225 of the fee.

Last year, the county received $62,000 through the Sheriff’s Sale process and the total paid back on the judgments was $5.5 million.

Watkins explained the final sale price is assessed against any judgments on the property and the difference is still owed to the bank or lending institution.

“The sale is an auction,” Watkins said of the process. “The bank or lending institution submits the first bid.”

Once the initial bid is made, a potential buyer has to submit a bid $1 higher and it then increases in $100 increments.

At the December sale, there was a property listed for sale in the 3100 block of East Lynn Street. She said the judgment was listed at $43,115 and the bank’s opening bid was $6,800.

The property sold for $11,100.

Watkins said the successful bidder has to pay the entire amount by certified check by 2 p.m. on the day of the sale at the Civil Office.

“We then send information to the attorney that requested the sale and the attorney provides the deed and the clerk’s return,” she said. “The buyer has to file a sales disclosure form.”

Watkins said all the property taxes have to be paid up to the time the property is included on the Sheriff’s Sale list.

“You’re buying the property sight unseen,” she said of potential buyers. “They can walk the property but can’t enter the building.”

In some instances, buyers have discovered the plumbing and electrical wiring have been removed by the previous owner.

Sometimes people are continuing to live in a house at the time of the sale and have to be evicted, she said.

“I sold a property for $1.5 million near Pendleton,” she said of a recent sale. “The buyer sold the property, which included a house and land, on the day of the purchase.”

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

Recommended for you