How Does a Sheriff Sale Work in Michigan?

By Theresa Custodio
There are specific procedures that must take place prior to, and after, a sheriff sale in Michigan.

for sale sign image by jcpjr from Fotolia.com

If you fall behind on your mortgage payments, your bank will start the foreclosure process, which includes a sheriff sale. A sheriff sale is rather simple in Michigan; however, there is a legal process surrounding the sale that must be followed. In some instances, a sheriff sale is referred to as a mortgage sale.

Notice of Foreclosure Sale

The mortgage company must publish a notice of foreclosure sale in a local newspaper prior to exercising a sheriff sale. A newspaper that is widely distributed throughout the county your property is located in must be used for the notice. The announcement must appear at least once per week for four consecutive weeks. Within 15 days of the first notice appearing in the newspaper, an announcement has to be placed at the property being foreclosed. Under state law, the lender has a right to enter your home in order to properly post the foreclosure notice.

Sheriff Sale

Generally, 30 days after the notice of foreclosure sale has been published, a sheriff sale will take place. Your local circuit court will determine a day and time for the public auction. Most counties hold a sheriff sale on the same day, at the same time, every month in the courthouse. You do not need to attend the sale. The home is auctioned off and the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage. In most cases, the bank will bid the price up until the amount owed by the homeowner is reached, and then buy the property back at that price. This is how the bank legally begins to take back ownership of the property.

Sheriff's Deed

The sheriff's deed is a certificate kept on record with the county register of deeds office. The deed states the name of the person or company now in possession of the property. The party that received the home in the sheriff sale is responsible for filing the deed. Once the sheriff's deed is recorded, you still have a legal right to the property.

Redemption Period

A redemption period begins after the sheriff's deed is placed on record with the county. Normally, you are given a six-month grace period to find another place to live. You may also come up with the funds to completely pay off the amount the mortgage company paid for the home at the sheriff sale and regain ownership of the property. During this period, you can also attempt to sell the home yourself to payoff the debt. If the redemption period ends and you have not redeemed ownership of the home, you must leave the property if you have not already done so.

Fraud

Be aware of fraudulent attempts to help you avoid foreclosure. Many deceptive companies may try to take advantage of your situation by offering to assist you for a fee or proposing to buy your home and let you continue to live there by paying rent. If you are confronted with a suspicious offer you feel may be fraud, contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General at:

Michigan Department of Attorney General Lansing Office G. Mennen Williams Building, Seventh Floor 525 W. Ottawa St. P.O. Box 30212 Lansing, MI 48909 517-373-1110 mi.gov

About the Author

Theresa Custodio is a Michigan-certified nurseryman with over 10 years experience. She has spent over five years working for the State of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality writing permits and violation notices, which are published for public record. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University with a major in biology and a minor in conservation and resource use.

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