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Certificate of Sale

DEFINITION

A certificate of sale is a legal document given to the party that wins a bid at a foreclosure sale.  The document does not convey ownership of a property, but rather entitles the buyer to receive the property’s title or deed after the sale has been approved by the court.

EXPLANATION

After a property has been foreclosed upon and  purchased at an auction, the buyer will receive a certificate of sale. A certificate of sale is an affidavit issued at a judicial or tax sale by either the county sheriff or other official conducting the sale. It declares that a sale has been made to the specified buyer, and that the buyer has the right to receive the deed to the property in question after a prespecified period of redemption has expired.

In all states, the prior owner of a property has the right to redeem a foreclosed property before the certificate of sale is issued by paying the foreclosure sale price and all delinquent taxes or fees. In many states, the prior owner can still redeem their property within a certain period of time after a certificate of sale has been issued. This is called the redemption period, the duration of which is commonly three months to a year but varies from state to state.

Example

Mrs. Hill purchases a foreclosed home at auction for $250,000. After the auction is concluded, Mrs. Hill is issued with a certificate of sale. However, the state in which the sale took place in has a three month redemption period, during which the original owner has the right to redeem the property by paying the auction price of the property in addition to all fees and delinquent taxes due on the property.

If the three month redemption period expires, Mrs. Hill then pays the debt the property accrued in the interim period, at which point the title would be transferred to her name.

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