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What is the Sheriff’s Sale Process in New Jersey?

by | May 1, 2024 | Foreclosure Defense

In New Jersey, after a mortgage lender has obtained a final foreclosure judgment, they can schedule a Sheriff’s Sale of the property. It is important to know that the Sheriff’s Sale won’t happen immediately because there is a specific process that must be followed.

The county sheriff for the county where the property is located is responsible for conducting the sale. Each county sheriff’s department has a different schedule for when the Sheriff’s Sales are held in their county, as well as slightly different procedures. Most of the county sheriff’s departments have the properties to be sold at auction on their website. Additionally, paper lists can be reviewed at all sheriff’s departments during normal business hours.

How Will I Get Notice of the Sheriff’s Sale? 

Many people tell us they are afraid that they will not get any notice of the Sheriff’s Sale and that they will come home and their house will be padlocked. Please know that the sale will not happen without notice.

Sheriff’s Sales are required to be announced by a sheriff in the following ways:

  1. A notice of the sale will be published in two newspapers in the county in which the real estate is located for four consecutive weeks prior to the initial date of the sale. The first publication must be at least 21 days before the sale, and the last must be at least one day and not more than eight days before the sale.
  2. Another notice will be posted in the sheriff’s office in the county where the property is located at least three weeks prior to the sale.
  3. A third notice will be posted on the property itself, subject to some exceptions.
  4. At least 10 days before the sale, the mortgage company must serve a notice of the sale by certified or registered mail with a return receipt requested by the property owner.

What is the Sheriff’s Sale Process?

Sheriff’s Sale Auction

After the required notice is given, the Sheriff’s Sale begins at the time and place set forth in the notice. The sale generally takes place at the office of the sheriff. The Sheriff’s Sale uses voice bidding instead of sealed bids. The sale is subject to any mortgages and municipal, state or federal liens on the property that may be superior to the mortgage being foreclosed on. Bidders at Sheriff’s Sales should determine whether any such liens or mortgages exist.

The Sheriff’s Sale auction begins when the bank’s attorney starts the bidding process with a hundred-dollar bid. Then, the bidding process continues until the highest bid is finalized.

Finalization of Sheriff’s Sale

To conclude the Sheriff’s Sale process in New Jersey, a successful bidder must be determined. Once the sale is concluded, a 10-day redemption period begins in which the former owner can either redeem the property by paying the amount related to the judgment plus other liens and costs, if applicable, or try to object to the sale. After the redemption period, if the former owner has neither redeemed nor successfully objected to the sale, the Sheriff’s Sale deed is prepared. Finally, the balance owed with regard to the closing bid is to be paid on or before 30 days from the date of the sale.

After the sale, the buyer must get a warrant for the homeowner’s removal. How long it takes depends on the county, but it can take approximately four to six weeks or more. The homeowner has the right to file a motion to ask the judge for more time before they must leave.

Can the Sheriff’s Sale Be Delayed?

The Sheriff’s Sale can be delayed in many ways, including the following:

A Homeowner is Entitled to Two Adjournments

A homeowner is entitled to two adjournments of the Sheriff’s Sale. Each adjournment of the Sheriff’s Sale is generally 28 days. There is a five-day adjournment limit for the Sheriff’s Sale (twice at the lender’s request, twice at the homeowner’s request and once if both the lender and the homeowner agree to an adjournment). To obtain these stays of the sale, you must go to the county sheriff in person before the sale takes place. You must pay a fee by cash or money order. Contact the sheriff’s office in your county to find out the amount of the fee. You do not have to prove good cause or appear before a judge to obtain these adjournments. After using your two adjournments, a homeowner can file a motion with the court to ask that the sale be stayed.

Filing Bankruptcy Can Delay the Sheriff’s Sale

At any point in the foreclosure process, up to the date of the Sheriff’s Sale, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that puts into place an “automatic stay” that halts the Sheriff’s Sale and other actions by the creditors.

Submitting a Complete Loan Modification

If a complete loan modification application is submitted at least 37 days prior to the Sheriff’s Sale, the lender must adjourn the sale and review the application.

Your Right to Redeem the Property

Once your property is sold at the Sheriff’s Sale, you have 10 days to redeem (get back) the property. This 10-day period allows a homeowner to arrange to keep the property by refinancing or selling it and paying what is owed in full, plus costs. If you do not redeem the property within 10 days, the sale proceeds are paid to the mortgage lender and any other lienholders provided for in the foreclosure judgment, with any excess paid to the surplus fund’s unit of the court. If the house sells for less than the mortgage balance, which is often the case, the lender may have the right to sue the homeowner for the deficiency, although this is rarely done.

Contact Us Today

If you are facing a Sheriff’s Sale in New Jersey or have questions about how to save your home from foreclosure, let the attorneys of Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., help. We help individuals save their homes through loan modification, bankruptcy and foreclosure defense. Contact our law firm online or by calling 973-323-2953 to schedule a free consultation.

We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress. We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years. The information on this website and blogs is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.