A friend of mine once made the mistake of asking me why I find Ohio such an interesting state to live in. Maybe a half-hour later, as I was wrapping up, he had a pretty clear idea. Long story short, Ohio has Great Lakes, industrial towns and southern cities along genteel rivers. It has vast farmlands and rolling hills. It bridges a lot of different American landscapes, both natural and man-made.
This complexity of the landscape is beguiling, but as a real estate investor, it can also be pretty complex. When you are looking at Ohio sheriff auctions, for instance, you are looking at a lot of different counties, with a lot of different rules, and a lot of different schedules. If you are going to rely on sheriff auctions for your investment properties, you’ve got to know them all.
But, are Ohio sheriff auctions even the best way to acquire investment property? That depends on your personal style and your tolerance for navigating the complexity. To understand if they are right for you, you have to understand how they work. Luckily, doing so right now won’t take a half-hour of your time.
The Complexity of Ohio Sheriff Auctions
Ohio has 88 counties, each one of them with a sworn sheriff. Now, as you know, when counties were divided up it wasn’t done with even populations in mind. Cuyahoga and Franklin country both have well north of 1.2 million people. Vinton County is at about 13,000. Needless to say, there are vast differences in the ways sheriff sales are run. Let’s take a quick look at a few:
Cuyahoga County Sheriff Sale
Take Cuyahoga County sheriff sales. You’re going to see dozens of properties on any given sale. Just doing a quick browse, I saw minimum bids of anywhere from $13,000 to $133,000, and that was just on one page.
It is also very, very organized. They give you a very helpful list of all the associated rules and fees, including that they don’t have the keys to the property and that there is an “Auditor’s Conveyance Fee.” That’s good to know.
There’s also a warning letter, in which your obligations, and the penalties for not meeting them, are made very clear. For example, one warning is that if you don’t make the full purchase price in 30 days, you don’t just lose the house; you might be charged with contempt of court.
You might like all the options in Cuyahoga, but you’ll waste time and money making sure you fulfill all of the state’s rules. You also will probably have a lot more people bidding. And you certainly won’t have time to really go through every property and figure out which one is right for you. It’s more guessing and hoping, and if you win you are suddenly on the hook for a lot of money.
Vinton County Sheriff Sale
At the other end is Vinton County. Now, there are some positive aspects here, of course. It’s pretty far off the radar, so don’t expect other investors to be sniffing around too much. If you are willing to take some risks, you have a pretty good shot.
But, at Vinton, you might not actually know when an auction is. There is no information about home foreclosures on the sheriff’s page. Looking up sheriff’s sales leads you to Facebook, which sends you to an auction page, which doesn’t include houses anyway.
Hancock County Sheriff Sale
Hancock County, with a population of about 65,000, is in the middle of Ohio in every way. Their Sheriff Sale website is very well organized with a simple way to find listings. But, when you find them, you see that there are four this month. That’s not a lot, really.
There are positives there, of course: you’re going to be able to do some due diligence on the houses and decide whether the property is worth your time.
The problem is that all that exploration might not lead to anything really right. And, while some like the journey, in this business, only the result counts. If you’ve spent a long time researching houses that aren’t right, that’s a waste of time.
There’s no one perfect system. None of these Ohio sheriff auctions are bad. None of these are doing it wrong. They all work for the size and makeup of their county. But, there’s a chance that none of these work for you. I think we can identify a few key issues here. In various degrees, sheriff sales are time-consuming and fraught with risk.
Getting the Better of Sheriff Sales in Ohio
I think it should be pretty clear that I care a lot about Ohio. It’s my home, and it’s a state I want to see succeed. That’s one of the reasons I want to help people in a distressed situation before their houses are turned over to banks and sheriffs. It’s why I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee.
See, as a franchisee, I get qualified leads from people looking to sell. Everyone in Ohio knows the nationally-known “We Buy Ugly Houses®” ads, so when distressed homeowners want to sell, they turn to a name that’s been trusted since 1996. Then I get those leads. I can approach someone who has already expressed interest. I can generally talk to them before foreclosure, offer them a way out, and avoid the chaos and competition of auctions.
I get more than that, though. I also get access to HomeVestors vast library of proprietary resources and shared experiences. I get to learn from my Development Agent mentor and a local network of franchisees who treat investing the same way I treat Ohio county trivia: as a matter of obsession.
So if you are interested in making smart investments in Ohio without having to deal with auctions, request information from HomeVestors today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.