A sheriff’s deed in Michigan is generated after a real estate foreclosure proceeding. When a real estate mortgage holder becomes delinquent on payments, the lender may force a public sale of the property. An auction is advertised and held by the local sheriff. The highest bidder at the auction receives title to the property by receiving a sheriff’s deed. Sheriff’s deeds are a matter of public record in Michigan. For a small fee, anyone can obtain a copy of a sheriff’s deed.
Gather the needed information to successfully conduct a sheriff’s deed search. A person can locate a sheriff’s deed in person, at the county office of register of deeds or by mail. He needs to know either the property address, legal description, property tax identification number or the name of the current or previous property owner. Online search engines typically are more limited in what type of information a person may use to search. Many online sites will search only by a property owner’s name.
Read More: How Does a Sheriff Sale Work in Michigan?
Choose a method to find the sheriff's deed. You may go to the office of register of deeds in the county in which the property is located. Generally, Michigan clerks for the register of deeds are very helpful in providing the public with searching information and assistance. Most register of deeds also make computer terminals and record books available for public searching. Many Michigan offices also have user-friendly online search engines for public access from a personal computer. Most counties also allow requests to be made by first-class mail, however, there are usually delays in receiving back a mailed request.
Pay the fee and acquire a copy of the sheriff’s deed. Fees apply whether you search online, in person or by mail. Fees are set on a county-by-county basis. Fees must be enclosed with mailed requests. Therefore, if you wish to use first-class mail, inquire about the fees ahead of time, so you know the correct amount to enclose.
Contact a title company or lawyer. If a person determines that independently searching for a sheriff's deed is too difficult or time consuming, a title company or lawyer can help. Fees are generally much higher if a lawyer or title company conducts the search. However, it is a viable option if a person does not want to conduct the search on his own.
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.