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Frequently Asked Questions

We strongly urge all potential bidders, to make a thorough physical inspection of the real property and a thorough investigation of the paper trail pertaining to the chain of title for the property they are interested in purchasing at the Auction. Please keep in mind that all properties are sold "as is," with any and all faults. The information we provide is believed to accurate, but is not guaranteed by NYSAuctions.com and the municipalities that we conduct public auctions on behalf of.

Who is NYSAuctions.com? Answer: NYSAuctions.com (Absolute Auctions & Realty, Inc. and Haroff Auction & Realty, Inc.) are the leading auction and marketing service provider to villages, towns, cities and counties, specializing in the public sale of tax foreclosed real property. NYSAuctions.com has successfully been providing tax foreclosure auction and marketing services since 1991. Click here for additional information.

Where do I find out about upcoming sales? Answer: Become a member of the “NYSAuctions.com” e-mail list and receive notices of our upcoming auctions. Our auction calendar is continually updated as new auction dates are set.

Why does a County sell tax-defaulted property? Answer: The primary purpose is to collect delinquent taxes. The back taxes, penalties and interest are recouped by: (1) forcing payment of property taxes by a current property owner via threat of sale, or (2) via a public auction of the delinquent property.

How often do municipalities hold tax foreclosure auctions? Answer: Almost every municipality that conducts tax foreclosure proceedings in New York State has an annual auction of the tax foreclosed properties.

How do I find specific information for an upcoming sale? Answer: Our website provides you with a listing of all of the auction parcels in each auction, including photos, copies of deed pages, real property service (RPS) printouts, tax maps and highway location maps.

What happens to other lien holders? Answer: The Cities and Counties within New York State are required by law to follow Article 11 of the New York State Real Property Law. They are required to have a search completed on each parcel that they about to foreclose on for non-payment of real property taxes, to determine if there are any lien holders who have recorded liens in the County Clerks Office, and these are the only valid liens. Those lien holders then must be served notice of the impending foreclosure and given a window period of time to come forth to protect there interest. Once that time has passed as in the case of the properties that are in this auction, those lien holders are then forever barred from coming forth again to enforce their lien. Now this sounds very good and we see the cities and counties doing a great job in this area. However, the major concern on the part of the county and us is that one of the abstractors in completing the search misses a specific lien holder. The county does not want to be taken to task for this error. We then urge that everyone research their interested properties in the county clerk’s office and validate through the Treasurer’s Office that all lien holders were properly served notice.

What is the difference between a tax lien certificate sale/auction and a tax foreclosure auction? Answer: A tax lien certificate sale/auction is a sale of only the taxable lien against the property, whereby you purchase just the value of the lien. A tax foreclosure auction is a sale of the real property by deed, where the County has completed a legal foreclosure proceeding against the delinquent owner and has received title to the real property from a court. In a tax foreclosure auction you will receive a deed giving you title to the real property.

Can I purchase a tax-foreclosed property from a municipality prior to the auction? Answer: In almost all cases, NO. Most municipalities have chosen to sell their tax foreclosed in a public arms length transaction sale, being either sealed bid or public auction. More and more municipalities are using the public auction method to sell their tax-foreclosed properties. Certain contaminated parcels (i.e. “Brownfield’s” or former gas stations) are sold via negotiated sale to property rehabilitation developers.

Why do properties get removed from the public auction? Answer: Many municipalities permit the delinquent owner to repurchase their former property from the municipality. Some municipalities permit these repurchases up to the last business day before the auction. Other municipalities stop repurchases a week to two months prior to the auction. We strongly suggest that you check back at the Parcel List to see if your auction parcel is still in the auction. Our website is continually updated with any changes.

Can delinquent owners repurchase their properties back after the auction? Answer: Most all municipalities do not permit delinquent owners to repurchase their former property back from the municipality after the auction. Please keep in mind that if the Board of Legislators/Supervisors wishes to sell property back to a delinquent owner, they can sponsor special legislation to permit this repurchase. In the past ten years we have only seen this happen once.

As a purchaser of a tax delinquent property, will I be responsible to repay the municipality the past due real estate taxes? Answer: No, as a general rule. Your bid becomes the purchase price for the property. Many Counties use your purchase price to recoup the past taxes recorded on their books, but you are not responsible for any shortfall in what was owed by the previous owner and what you are willing to pay as evidenced by your bid. From time to time a municipality may stipulate in the terms and conditions of the auction that you may assume responsibility for certain taxes such as: outstanding village taxes, water or sewer rents that are still delinquent and have not been paid by the former owner. You could be responsible for repayment of those taxes. Read the “Terms and Conditions of Auction” carefully and understand them before you bid.

Who is responsible for any Federal Tax Liens against a property that I purchase in the auction? Answer: More and more municipalities are making proper notification to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding Federal Tax Liens against tax foreclosed properties. In those cases the IRS has up to 120 days after the auction to purchase the property from the successful auction purchaser for the amount purchased, commission and any closing fees. For auction parcels that have Federal Tax Liens against them and the proper notification has not been made, the successful purchaser can either negotiate a lien release or wait until the lien expires. Please speak to us about how you can talk with the IRS for specific parcel lien release procedures.

What happens to the properties that do not sell at the auction? Answer: Generally we sell 100% of the properties at the auction. The reason for this is that we do not start the auction with minimum bids. We let the bidding start from either the crowd, opening bids submitted in advance, or absentee bids. In the rare instance that a property does not receive a bid, That property would be available for direct sale from the municipality.

How do I determine the value of an auction parcel? Answer: Make a personal inspection of the auction parcel to you.
1. Check with the respective zoning officer to see what uses are permitted.
2. Check with the respective code enforcement office to ascertain if any code violations exist against the auction parcel.
3. Check with the respective assessor to see what is known about the auction parcel.
4. Check with the bordering property owners to see what they may know about the auction parcel. Remember, the bordering owner may be a competing bidder on the auction parcel.

What does the term "assessed value" or "assessment" mean in the auction brochure? Answer: Assessed Value and Assessment relate to the value that the local assessor has placed on the property for taxable purposes. It bears little or no relationship to the eventual Auction selling price.

What does the term "land-locked" mean? Answer: The term "land-locked" means that a property has no legal access from a roadway or from the wording in a “deeded right of way.”

Can I make an inspection of the auction properties prior to the auction? Answer: Yes, to all vacant parcels EXCEPT properties that remain occupied by prior owners/tenants. Vacant improved properties will be shown according to our showing schedule and attended to by our staff. Vacant land properties may be viewed anytime without supervision. Haroff Auction & Realty, Inc. and the municipalities that we conduct auctions for assume no liability regarding any injuries you may incur by visiting these properties.

How long do I have to get financing after the auction? Answer: We suggest that if financing is required by you to complete a purchase, that you arrange and pre-qualify with a lender prior to the auction date. Your auction bid, if successful, is NOT contingent on your ability to get a loan. Basically if you fail to pay the balance due by the closing date, you forfeit your deposit.

What happens if I can not come up with the balance of the money for the closing? Answer: If you fail to pay the balance due by the closing date, you forfeit your deposit.

When can I move into and/or start work on the property? Answer: You do not legally own the property until the deed has been recorded in the county clerk's office of the respective county where you made your purchase.

What happens if an improved property that I purchase is damaged between the date of the auction and the time that I close on the property? Answer: Municipalities will generally work with a successful purchaser if it can be proven that the damage occurred between the date of the auction and the date of closing. If the property had been occupied and no inspection was made prior to the auction, then it may be difficult to determine when the damage was done. Please keep in mind that municipalities want to sell their tax foreclosed properties and will generally negotiate a satisfactory agreement.
What is a Quit Claim (Tax Sale) Deed? Answer: A deed which transfers whatever interest the maker of the deed may have in the particular parcel of land. A quitclaim deed is often given to clear the title when the grantor's interest in a property is questionable. By accepting such a deed the buyer assumes all the risks. Such a deed makes no warranties as to the title, but simply transfers to the buyer whatever interest the grantor has.

Does a County guarantee a property? Answer: No. All properties are sold as is. Be an informed bidder. Prospective purchasers are urged to examine the title, location and desirability of properties available to their own satisfaction prior to a sale. A County makes no guarantee, expressed or implied, relative to the title, location or condition of properties for sale. In addition, a County assumes no responsibility, implied or otherwise, that properties are in compliance with zoning ordinances, mining and reclamation regulations conform to building codes and permits, and/or any other applicable regulations or permits. No government entity is liable for damages sustained to property purchased at public auction from the time of sale until the recordation of tax deed to a purchaser. All sales are final.

If I purchase a real property that contains personal property, do I own the personal property? Answer: No. In tax foreclosure auctions, municipalities sell only your right to the title of the real property. The title of any personal property still belongs to the delinquent taxpayer.

How do I legally dispose of personal property left behind on a real property that I purchase? Answer: We strongly suggest that you talk to your attorney regarding this issue before you dispose of any personal property left behind by prior owners or tenants. After you have a deed recorded in your name, you should send a letter to the prior owner and/or tenants advising them that you are now the new owner of (specific real property) and that certain personal property was left behind. We suggest that you give the prior owner/tenants a certain amount of time to contact you to arrange for removal of the personal property and that if no response is received by the end of that time, that you will dispose of the remaining personal property. We strongly suggest that you talk to an attorney regarding this issue before you dispose of any personal property left behind by prior owners or tenants.

Who is responsible for the eviction of any delinquent owners or tenants? Answer: Most municipalities do not evict delinquent owners or tenants from tax foreclosed properties, thus the responsibility for eviction falls upon the successful purchaser.