When do you actually become the legal, title owner of a property after you're the winning bidder at a sheriff's sale of a foreclosed property?
Under state law (both in Washington and Oregon), the purchaser at the sheriff's sale becomes the legal, title owner of the property subject to the redemption period. The redemption period is the amount of time the judgment debtor has to pay the purchaser to be able to restore their interest in the property. To redeem the property, the judgment debtor must submit payment of the bid amount plus the amount of any assessments or taxes paid by the purchaser, as well as any amounts paid by the purchaser on liens superior to the interest of the purchaser, together with interest. If the property is redeemed within the time prescribed, the effect of the sheriff's sale is terminated and the judgment debtor's ownership interest in the property is restored. A creditor/lienholder, whose interest or lien in the property was junior to the interest foreclosed and sold at the sheriff's sale, can also redeem the property from the purchaser.
In Oregon, a judgment debtor must redeem the property within 180 days after the date of the sheriff's sale. In Washington, the redemption time period is slightly more complicated - the redemption period will either be 12 months, 8 months, or no redemption period at all. Typically, the redemption period is 12 months in Washington, but it will be reduced to 8 months if the plaintiff in the foreclosure action specifically waived its right to a deficiency judgment in the foreclosure complaint.
In Washington, if the Court determines that the property has been "abandoned" and if the right to a deficiency judgment was waived in the foreclosure complaint, the purchaser at the sheriff's sale may take title to the property free of any redemption rights. In Washington, the judgment and decree of foreclosure order entered by the Court will specify the length of the redemption period for that particular property. Once the redemption period expires, the sheriff's deed is issued and delivered to the purchaser. The purchaser can then record the sheriff's deed with the County Recorder and would be listed as the legal, title owner of the property in the County records.
If you have any questions about sheriff's sales and redemption periods, or if you would like to discuss collections or the foreclosure process in general, please do not hesitate to contact your Association Business Manager.