Important Info

Frequently Asked Questions

Thousands of people have been affected by the global financial credit crunch which has sadly resulted in homeowners not being able to afford the repayments on their homes and ultimately losing them back to the credit providers. With the current economic climate, even if one is careful with managing your finances, one can easily fall victim to not being able to manage a bond repayment that was probably well within your affordability when you initially purchased the property, but has now become a commitment that is difficult to manage due to rising interest rates and cost of living, petrol and other essential items - so please be considerate and sympathetic, it is a traumatic event in anyone's life.

On the positive side, this has presented a huge opportunity for first time home owners and property investors to gain access to immense bargains. In almost all instances, properties, homes and vacant land can be purchased at prices well below market value which makes them a wise investment for anyone who can afford it.


What types of properties will be sold at the Sheriff Auction?

These are agricultural, commercial and residential properties acquired by lenders through the foreclosure, Sheriff’s sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure process.


Who owns the properties that are being offered at the Sheriff Auction?

These properties are acquired by lenders through the foreclosure, Sheriff’s sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure process and are now being liquidated. When a home loan client for example can no longer afford the home loan payments, the bank is forced to cancel the home loan agreement and institute legal action against the defaulter. Once judgement is obtained through the courts, the property is attached by the Sheriff of the Court and sold on public auction as a Sale of Execution.


Should I go inspect the property prior to bidding at the Sheriff Auction?

It is not always possible to inspect the property unless there are guards placed at the property or the auction address is at the property itself (Some Sheriff's will make arrangements for you to view the properties).  Most likely you would have to drive past the property and make a judgement about the property on the view that you got from the drive-by and the information that we give you. Also conduct your own research to establish what the property is worth.


What do I need to take to the Sheriff Auction?

If you plan to bid and purchase a property at the auction, you must have:

  • A cashier’s cheque (or cash) made payable to yourself. (A bank guaranteed cheque payable to the respective Sheriff)
  • If the Sheriff would allow you to pay via a personal cheque, the available funds to write a personal cheque or pay cash for the balance of the required Deposit due on auction day.
  • Valid picture identification for all parties involved in the transaction, such as a Government issued photo ID.
  • A Power Of Attorney if you are purchasing on another parties behalf.
  • A registration deposit if so required by the respective Sheriff


Do I need any experience to bid at the Sheriff Auction?

No….bidding is simple and registering as a bidder is EASY! Whether you are a first timer or an auction veteran, go to the auction, explore and ask questions. Gain some practical experience by attending a few auctions where you just observe the process. A Sheriff sale is a Public Auction  which means that anyone can attend such an auction.


May I attend to just watch?

Yes, however you will still be required to register. Every Sheriff reserves the right to require registration and/or a registration deposit.  This will vary from Sheriff to Sheriff.  It will be in your best interest to enquire from the respective Sheriff if he/she does require a registration deposit and in what form he/she would require it.


How long will each Sheriff Auction last?

Generally, Sheriffs are able to auction between 25 to 30 properties per hour, so auctions move at a rapid but manageable pace for the bidders. The length of each auction is dependent upon how many properties are in the auction portfolio for that auction day. Please allow yourself sufficient time to attend the auction event so that you are able to take advantage of all the opportunities presented on auction day.


Can I purchase more than one property at the Sheriff Auction?

Yes, however, if you are planning to purchase more than one property, you must register as a “Multiple Bidder” and do the following:

  • Be prepared to make a substantial deposit.
  • Agree to be pre-qualified by a designated lender.
  • Show the ability to purchase the properties for cash by means of current bank statement, CD statement, stock portfolio statement, or retirement account statement. Your documents must be dated within ten (10) days of the auction event.


If I have a successfull bid, can I assign my contract to someone else?

No. The purchase agreements are not assignable. All parties who wish to buy must be present on auction day so that they can register for the auction and execute the necessary documents if they have a successful bid.


Can I bid on other parties behalf?

You may bid on other parties behalf if you have a Power Of Attorney from the other party.  This is a Legal document that you will have to draw up and cannot be a verbal arrangement.  You have to present this document to the Sheriff if you have a successful bid along with any other documents as would be required e.g certified copy of the Power of Attorney contract, ID of all parties involved etc. 


What if I change my mind? Can I cancel the transaction once I have been awarded the succsessfull bid?

No! Once the auctioneer has announced “sold,” you have agreed to purchase the property. There is no rescission or “cooling off period”. That is why it is important for you to conduct all of your due diligence and inspections prior to auction day and bidding on the property.


What is the difference between a Property in Possession and a Sale in Execution? 

There is generally confusion between a sale of execution and a repossessed property. A property becomes a repossessed property when a home owner is in substantial arrears with his repayment on his home loan, the bank takes legal steps to serve the owner with a summons, take judgment and eventually attach the property. If during these stages the owner is still in arrears, the bank instructs a Sheriff of the court to sell the property at a public auction. The bank is entitled to attend the sale and to ‘buy the property back’ if the bidding at the sale is of amounts that could pose a significant loss to the bank. A property becomes a Property in Possession (PIP) when the bank ‘buys the property back’ at a sale in execution (public auction).


What do I do at the Sheriff Auction?

When you arrive at an auction, you should register as a bidder.

Get a copy of the conditions of sale and thoroughly inspect them.

Ask the Sheriff any relevant questions before the sale.

Bid only when you feel comfortable to do so.

During the auction you should make eye contact with the auctioneer and lift your hand or wave when you want to bid.

When you no longer wish to bid, indicate this clearly to the auctioneer by shaking your head.

You should only bid if you have the money available or have made financial arrangements.

You usually have to put down a deposit of 10%.

You sign the conditions of sale directly after the auction.


Are there reserve prices at Sheriff Auction?

Sheriff's Auctions are sold with no reserves. Sales in Execution are sold on the fall of the hammer without any confirmation period, and with no reserve. Certain insolvency and liquidation auctions are sold on the fall of the hammer, and may at times be sold subject to confirmation within a certain period.


Where do I get the outstanding Rates and Taxes?

You will not be able to request the outstanding rates and taxes from the municipality if you are not the owner of the property.  You will get an estimate on the outstanding Rates and Taxes from the Sheriff on the day of the auction.


What recourse do I have if I have bid on the wrong items or they are not to my satisfaction after the Sheriff Auction?

Purchaser's bidding on items at an auction acknowledge that they have familiarised themselves with the items for which they bid. All items are sold "voetstoots" and the bids are made in public. Therefore, there is no recourse.

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