Real NEastate: Why is the Sheriff’s office delaying my settlement?


Q: I am buying an investment home in Frankford. We are unable to make settlement on the home right now because the Philadelphia Sheriff’s office is under investigation for fraud or something. What does that have to do with selling this house? I’m not getting it from a Sheriff Sale.

A: There are a few possibilities but without knowing the exact details of your transaction, it’s hard to evaluate. Are you the investor, or are you buying it from an investor?

The obvious answer is the deed probably hasn’t been recorded yet. It seems likely you are purchasing the home from either someone who acquired it at a recent Sheriff Sale or a bank in the form of an REO (Real Estate Owned) sale.

The Sheriff handles all mortgage foreclosure and tax lien sales. At the beginning of the year, the Sheriff’s office imposed a moratorium on all Sheriff Sales in Philadelphia. Currently, the Sheriff’s office is under investigation by a grand jury.

Even under “normal” circumstances, there is a lag time between the time a home is acquired at Sheriff’s Sale and the date the transaction is recorded. In this instance, you will just have to wait a little longer to proceed with your purchase.

Keep in close communication with your title company because they’ll relay the most accurate information about the details of your transaction to you.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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