Frequently Asked Questions


Can we see the house?

How does the Sheriff Sale work?

What happens to the liens on the property?

Do I receive a clear title?

What are the steps for a Foreclosure action?

What if I am interested in a property that has been vacant for a long period of time and want to find out if its’ status in the foreclosure process?

My property is set for Sheriff Sale, when must I vacate?

I am leasing a property that is in foreclosure, when must I vacate?

Can I put more money down for the deposit than is required?

Who should the cashier’s checks be made payable to?

The ad for a property I am interested in was in last week’s Courier newspaper, but not this week’s. What happened?

If no one is living in a property I purchased, can I start renovations right after the sale?

Where do I pick up the keys to the property I purchased at Sheriff Sale?

When will my closing be scheduled?

When can I get the property appraised?

I am a defendant in a foreclosure action and am entitled to a portion of the proceeds. How do I acquire these funds?

Why does the auditor’s appraisal of a particular property differ from the Sheriff Sale appraisal?

Can my title company pay for and pick up my deed?

If I want to pay off the balance of a purchase price, can I bring a check to the Sheriff’s Office?

Will I get my deposit back, if a redemption is filed on a property that I purchased at Sheriff Sale?

Can I use my refund check from the Sheriff’s Office to make a deposit at a future Sheriff's Sale?

If I do not complete the purchase of a property that I put a deposit on at Sheriff Sale, will I get my money back?

Do I need a real estate agent to bid for me at a Sheriff Sale?

Do I need to register for the sale?

Can I see the inside of the properties set for Sheriff Sale?

Can I have someone bid on a particular property in my absence?

If I give the wrong deed information at the sale, can I change it after the sale?

Do you prepare survivorship deeds?

What if someone is living in the house that I have purchased?

What happens to the properties that do not sell?

How can I find out what happened to a property that went to Sheriff Sale?

Can we see the house? The Hancock County Sheriff's Office does not have keys for the properties that are being sold. The bank or lending company should be contacted with any questions about an inspection of the property. We have no access to the interior of the houses for sale. No arrangements may be made for an internal inspection of the properties. You are urged to check out the property as best that you can. The Hancock County Auditor can provide a printout on the property showing the numbers, and types of rooms, etc. Sales are "Buyer Beware". You are urged to consult an attorney.

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How does the Sheriff Sale work? By law the sale must be a public sale, unless ordered by the Court. Unless otherwise noted, Sales are held on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.in the lobby of the Sheriff's Office located at 200 West Crawford Street in Findlay, Ohio. You or a representative must appear to bid. All bidding is done at the sale. No prior or sealed bids are taken. It works the same as any auction. There is no prior registration. Make sure you can meet the terms of sale. Caution, this is a court function; if the sale is not completed, you are subject to being held in contempt of court.

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What happens to the Liens on the property? Liens are marshaled, (placed in order and paid in order), and paid from the sale proceeds. A Deficiency Judgment is granted to the Plaintiff, (Lien holder), against the Defendant, (Homeowner), if enough money is not generated at the sale. The liens are then canceled against the property. The exception is a Federal Lien, (which would be on file at the Hancock County Recorder's Office). You are urged to check out any liens, and check with an attorney if you have questions. We do not have lien information at the Sheriff's Office.

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Do I receive a clear title? The sheriff's office does not guarantee a clear title. A title search is recommended.

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What are the steps for a Foreclosure action? A Foreclosure action that results in the actual sale of the property by the Sheriff is a lengthy process. Key steps in the Process are as follows:
Complaint Filed: The matter is brought before the court
Judgment Entry Filed: Judgment/judgments are granted and the property may be sold to recover judgment amounts. (Typically filed 3-9 months after the complaint)
Precipe Filed: This order directs the Sheriff to advertise and sell the property. The terms of the sale (deposit amount and time allotted to pay the balance) are specified in this paperwork. The terms of sale are established at the discretion of the Plaintiff’s Attorney. The Sheriff cannot authorize an extension of these terms. The property is auctioned at Sheriff sale. Purchasers must be prepared to deliver the deposit by 4:00 p.m. on the day of the sale or the purchaser may be held in contempt of court.
Confirmation Filed: This order names the purchaser, orders the deed, the distribution of proceeds, orders lien cancellations, etc. and awards the purchaser the right to file for a writ of possession should anyone be occupying the property. This confirmation process typically takes about 45 days. The balance of the purchase price is due and payable at this time. Failure to complete the sale will result in forfeiting the deposit and being held in contempt of court.
The Common Pleas Clerk of Courts Civil Division is located on the 3rd floor of the Court House. They are the keeper of records and have the entire case file for each foreclosure case. Their phone number is 419-424-7037. Responses to questions posed to the Clerk of Courts office will be limited to the type of paperwork filed. You can access the same information they can provide through their website
Hancock County Clerk of Courts.
To learn the specific content of any case document, you would have to review the actual case file by visiting their office.

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What if I am interested in a property that has been vacant for a long period of time and want to find out if its status in the foreclosure process? Since search options with the Clerk of Courts is by defendant name or case number, you will have to get the name of the current owner of that property. You can access this information yourself by visiting the auditor’s website at Hancock County Auditor. Keep in mind until a precipe is filed, the property will not proceed to sale. Properties are set for Sheriff Sale after the date of precipe.

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My property is set for Sheriff Sale, when must I vacate? As defendant, you have redemption rights up until the confirmation is filed. The average time for a confirmation to be filed is 30 days from the sale date. This means that if you pay off your mortgage, and the court costs associated with the foreclosure action, or acquire new financing, you can keep your home. Once the confirmation is filed, you no longer have a right to redeem and the purchaser is awarded a writ of possession. (Some confirmations contain language to award the writ immediately upon filing of the confirmation, others may require that the property is paid for and the deed recorded before the writ can be filed.) This gives the purchaser the right to file paperwork to have the Sheriff notify you to vacate.

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I am leasing a property that is in foreclosure, when must I vacate? The purchaser may allow you to continue to live in the property or may file for the Sheriff to give you notice to vacate. Your legal advisor must address legal questions arising from your relationship as a renter/lessee with the defendant in the case.

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Can I put more money down for the deposit than is required? You are free to deposit funds in excess of the minimum amount, provided the amount does not exceed the purchase price.

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Who should the cashier’s checks be made payable to? The cashier’s check is be made payable to The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.

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The ad for a property I am interested in was in last week’s Courier, but not this week’s. What happened? The property was probably withdrawn or a bankruptcy filed which puts a hold on sale proceedings. You can verify this by checking the clerk’s website. It may also have been the final week of advertising. Check our web site for the Date of Sale and the Sale Status.

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If no one is living in a property I purchased, can I start renovations right after the sale? The confirmation (see above) awards the purchaser possession of the property. Until it is filed, any investment in the property is risky for two reasons, first, you do not yet own the property and have not been awarded a right to possession and second, the defendant can still redeem the property.

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Where do I pick up the keys to the property I purchased at Sheriff Sale? There are no keys for these properties. You will need to secure a locksmith after the property is deeded in your name.

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When will my closing be scheduled? The Sheriff's Office has nothing to do with closings. The purchaser must arrange financing and closing. Since the Sheriff is not involved in the closing, the Sheriff’s Office will not sign any settlement statements or closing documents. If you have chosen to hire a title company to arrange a closing, then they will provide the closing date. When you bring your final payment to the Sheriff's Office, we will record the deed, and call you at a later date to come pick up the completed deed from our office.

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When can I get the property appraised? It is recommended that lenders do their own appraisal, once the property is vacated. Be reminded that the appraisers have no rights to an interior inspection of the property until after the confirmation.

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I am a defendant in a foreclosure action and am entitled to a portion of the proceeds. How do I acquire these funds? If there is no distribution in your name in the confirmation filed, check the confirmation for funds to be held by the clerk. The Sheriff’s Office deposits all excess funds with the Clerk’s Office. In order to have the excess funds paid, you must obtain an order from the court, signed by the judge assigned to your case, directing the clerk to disburse the excess funds to you.

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Why does the auditor’s appraisal of a particular property differ from the Sheriff Sale appraisal? The Auditor’s appraisal is done by law and is completed by a contract mass appraiser who appraises all property in Hancock County for tax purposes. Appraisers appointed by the court only appraise the specific property being sold. Since an appraisal is an opinion of value, it may vary widely.

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Can my title company pay for and pick up my deed? A Title Company can come to the Sheriff's Office the the balance of the money due; however, the Sheriff's Office will have the deed recorded and contact the owner when it is completed.

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If I want to pay off the balance of a purchase price, can I bring a check to the Sheriff’s Office? A cashier’s check or money order, payable to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, is required to pay the balance for a property purchased at Sheriff’s Sale. The Sheriff’s Office will not accept a company or personal check, or a credit or debit card, for either the deposit or payoff balance.

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Will I get my deposit back, if a redemption is filed on a property that I purchased at Sheriff Sale? Deposit refunds are set up for payment immediately upon receipt of the court order to set aside the sale and refund the purchaser’s deposit. Checks payable to more than one payee, must be signed for by all payees, before the check will be released.

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Can I use my refund check from the Sheriff’s Office to make a deposit at a future Sheriff's Sale? No. A cashier’s check or money order is required for all deposits at Sheriff's Sale.

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If I do not complete the purchase of a property that I put a deposit on at Sheriff Sale, will I get my money back? Failure to follow through with the purchase of a Sheriff Sale property may result in all or part of your deposit being forfeited. You may also face fines and jail time for being in contempt of court.

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Do I need a real estate agent to bid for me at a Sheriff Sale? No. It is a public auction.

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Do I need to register for the sale? No. There is no registration required. However, successful bidders must provide proper picture identification AFTER all sales are completed. The successful bidder must complete a 3rd Purchaser Information Form that will be provided at our office.

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Can I see the inside of the properties set for Sheriff Sale? No. Properties purchased at Sheriff Sale are not available for inspection. The defendant in a foreclosure action is still the legal owner of the property. The Hancock County Sheriff's Office does not have keys for the properties that are being sold. The bank or lending company should be contacted with any questions about an inspection of the property. We have no access to the interior of the houses for sale. No arrangements may be made for an internal inspection of the properties. Any attempt to view the property without the owner’s permission can be a violation of the Criminal Trespassing law of the Ohio Revised Code. The Hancock County Auditor can provide a printout on the property showing the numbers, and types of rooms, etc. Sales are "Buyer Beware". You are urged to consult an attorney.

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Can I have someone bid on a particular property in my absence? Yes. Just insure that you provide the substitute bidder with specific written information as to how the property is to be deeded, the tax mailing address you want included in the deed, and a name and daytime phone number of someone to contact, when the deed is ready. Remember that if you are authorizing someone to bid for you, you are responsible for the purchase.

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If I give the wrong deed information at the sale, can I change it after the sale? Since the only way deed information can be changed after the sale is by court order, making sure how you want the property deeded before the sale is very important. The delivery of the deed may be delayed for failure to provide accurate information.

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Do you prepare survivorship deeds? The Sheriff's Office does NOT prepare any deeds. All deeds are prepared by the plaintiff's attorney.

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What if someone is living in the house that I have purchased? If someone is living in the house and will not vacate, the Sheriff's Office will remove them on issue of a Writ of Possession. You will be responsible for obtaining the Writ of Possession from the Clerk of Common Pleas Court and for providing the manpower to set out their belongings or place them in storage. We do not have manpower to move belongings. Consult an attorney for questions regarding this situation.

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What happens to the properties that do not sell? Sometimes the property will be reappraised or a court order to reduce the amount of the starting bid will be obtained. The property will be set for a subsequent sale.

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How can I find out what happened to a property that went to Sheriff Sale? Sale results are available on the Web Site the day after the sale.

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Tax Sales Tax sales are foreclosures filed by the Treasurer’s Office for delinquent taxes. They are intermingled with the regular weekly foreclosure sales. Hancock County does not have so called “ Over the Counter” Tax Sales. Said sale shall be for not less than two thirds (2/3) of the appraised value, OR the amount of the real estate taxes, assessments, penalties, interest, and court costs, whichever is greater. On Tax Sales you may be required to pay more than the purchase price since the purchaser may be responsible for all taxes due and owed on a particular parcel, up to the point of confirmation. Tax sales are advertised for three consecutive weeks prior to sale.

Final Warning! Large amounts of money are involved. Sales are “Buyer Beware.” You are responsible for checking out the property and judge for yourself if it is suitable for the purpose you intend. Consult an attorney if you are in doubt! It might be the best money you ever spent.

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