Phase 1: Sheriff Sale


A Sheriff Sale is an execution on a judgment taken on real estate to satisfy a debt or unpaid taxes.


A Sheriff Sale takes place the first Monday of every month. If Monday is a holiday, the sale will be Tuesday.  The Sheriff’s Sales are advertised in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Pittsburgh Legal Journal for three Mondays prior to the sale. To inquire if a particular property is to be sold, you may call the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office at 412 350 4704 or 412 350 4738.  You must have the property address and owner’s name available.


The purchase of a property at a Sheriff’s Sale can be very dangerous.  The advertised price is not a reflection of the outstanding liens and judgments recorded against the property.  The Taxing Body is trying to obtain a sales price as close to what is owed it as possible.  It is rare for the property to be sold for less than what the taxing body requires.


There is a possibility that the property is being sold on a subordinate or second mortgage (for instance a home equity line of credit). The first mortgage holder may still demand payment or the first mortgage holder may bring the property to sale for non-payment of its mortgage at a later date.


The Taxing Body may not know that the property has been trashed, copper pipes removed, etc.  The Taxing Body will not perform any repairs to the property.


As the successful bidder at a Sheriff Sale, you must make a 10% deposit in cash, certified check or money order and pay the balance at the time and date stated by the Sheriff. Generally this is the Friday of the week of the sale before 10:00 AM. The Sheriff’s office will not accept personal checks. Failure to do so will forfeit your 10% deposit. You are responsible for evicting anyone living in the property.  The Sheriff’s office will not do this.  It is advisable to have an attorney represent you during the entire process of attempting to purchase a property at Sheriff’s Sale, including performing a title search beforehand. Settlements, Ltd. can refer you to an attorney experienced in this field.


You should also be aware that a Sheriff Sale could be stopped by the action of the Writ of Execution being stayed, i.e., all proceedings are stopped by the Court; by an Order of Court; by a bankruptcy being filed; by the owner paying the full amount due.


The following is the website for the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office: