Sheriff Sale Bidding Chaos

In Oklahoma the Sheriff’s Sale is one of the last stages in the foreclosure process.  You will find a general description of the entire Oklahoma foreclosure process on my web site’s foreclosure page.  The way Sheriff Sales work, bidding opens at 2/3 of appraised value.  Then, the bidding begins.  The mortgage company will generally have a representative there to bid on the property.  The mortgage company will be bidding with its judgment.  What that means is that as long as they don’t bid more than they are owed on the property (including sales costs, attorneys fees, court costs, etc.), then they don’t pay cash for the property.  They just exchange that much of their judgment.

So, if the mortgage company is owed a total of $95,000 on a property and buys it at Sheriff Sale for $80,000.  Then, at least in theory, the mortgage company can continue to seek the difference (called a deficiency) from the home owner or anyone else liable on the note and mortgage like a guarantor.  If the mortgage company bids $95,000, then they can’t collect any more from the home owners; because they aren’t owed any more.  What you won’t see is the mortgage company bidding more than $95,000, because then they would have to add cash to their judgment amount.  Any other bidder who wins the property must pay cash.

I just checked the Sheriff’s Sale results for Cleveland County, Oklahoma.  Twenty-two properties were sold.  Of those, twenty were bought by the mortgage company; and two were bought by a 3rd party.  Of the twenty bought by the mortgage company 11 of them were bid up to more than the appraised value for the property — in some cases a lot more.  One property sold to the mortgage company for $139,007 credit against its judgment.  The property was appraised for $95,000.

Bidding, like at all auctions, goes up in increments.  So the bidding for the property appraised for $95,000 would have started at $62,700 (2/3 of $95,000).  It would then be bid up in some kind of increments until only one bidder was left.  In most cases that last bidder was the mortgage company.  So, the mortgage company was going beyond appraised value in order to outbid people who would have paid them cash for the properties.  What is wrong with this picture?


3 thoughts on “Sheriff Sale Bidding Chaos

  1. Bob R Easley

    The appraised value is nothing more than a starting point to determine the opening bid. If the plaintiff were to bid more than the Final Judgment would surprise me, but to bid more than the appraisal does not.
    On the opposite end of the spectrum I found the following case to be rather odd. In Tulsa I saw a plaintiff let a property sell for 100k less than the Final Judgment. The opening bid was 256k. Someone bid 257k and it sold for 257k. The Final Journal Entry Judgment was 364k plus interest from 2009. On the retail market the home is worth 350-375k easy IMO. It was previously listed on MLS for 459k. If you would like to check it out on OSCN I can email you the case #.


    1. Brandon

      Hey Bob I saw the same thing happend at Tulsa sale on Tuesday. A property was sold for 100k below the judgment amt and the appraisal and market value was 100k above the sold price. For the scenario in January do you know why the bank accepted so much less?


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