Most Common Questions

In order for a property to become a bank repo – the bank has to buy the property at a Sheriff Auction. This usually occurs when there is little interest in the property at the auction – or when the bank has over-valued a property.

Bank repossessions usually do not offer great value because the bank is trying to sell the property for more than anyone was prepared to pay at the Sheriff Auction. Bank repo’s are sometimes considered "the leftovers".

At a Sheriff Auction, the banks do not particularly want to buy the property. They would much rather it was sold to someone else so they recover their money sooner. If they have to buy the property - they incur holding costs, marketing costs and general admin costs. These costs are reflected in the price they sell it for which is usually close to market value

Requirements for registration differ from Sheriff to Sheriff, but this is what they may require:

- A refundable deposit of up to R10,000. Some Sheriffs do not require a registration deposit at all - but on average between R2000 and R5000 is required. It is best to phone the sheriff beforehand for the requirements.

- FICA documentation – i.e. Proof of residence and a copy of your ID (Some Sheriffs do not require FICA documents)

In some cases it is not possible to register on the day of the auction – you may need to register a few days before the auction at the Sheriff’s office.

It’s always best to phone the sheriff’s office to confirm the registration requirements if you have not previously attended an auction by that sheriff.
The buyer is responsible for the following:
- All outstanding rates and taxes on the property including water and electricity
- All outstanding levies or homeowners bills
- Sheriffs commission up to a maximum of R40,000 + Vat
- Transfer duty or VAT (as per a normal purchase)
The sheriff also requires a 10% deposit on the fall of the hammer.
A sheriff is appointed by the government to execute court orders in a specific area. Each major city is divided between 5 and 10 sheriffs, while smaller towns may only have one or two.
In order for a property to be sold by the sheriff, the plaintiff's attorneys must publish a notice in the government gazette. This entry always contains the basic information such as the property address, the names of the defendants and the details of the transferring attorneys. Often it also includes useful ancillary information such as the property condition, number of parking bays, exclusive use area's and various other facts that the attorneys felt it important to mention. It is always worth reading if considering bidding on the property.
A sheriff auction occurs when a court order has been obtained to sell a property to recover money for a loan that the owner of the property has failed to repay. Usually the funds have been lent by a bank - but body corporates who have not been paid and in fact any other debtor may obtain such an order. Sheriff Auctions are a last resort because the prices obtained are generally lower than market value.
The first and most common reason is when a property owner fails to repay their homeloan. The bank (known as the "primary creditor") obtains a court order to have the property sold by the Sheriff to recover the funds. In these cases there is no reserve at the auction.

The second most common reason - is when a third party obtains a court order to have the property sold. This could be a body corporate, a homeowners association - or anyone else that the owner owes money. In this case, if a bank has also lent money against the property - then the bank has the right to cancel the sale if the selling price is not high enough to repay the bank loan.

Sheriff auctions are the ultimate source of great value property. This is why:

- There are usually only 10-14 days notice before an auction.
- The auctions are poorly advertised, and there is no official show day or means of inspecting the property
- When there are very few interested parties the bank often has to buy the property, and the property becomes a bank repossession. Usually the bank does not bid more than 60%-65% of market value but there are cases where the bank will let the property go for 50% of market value.

There is no official means of viewing the property internally before the auction. The sheriff does not hold showdays or appointments to view the property. Each bidder needs to make their own enquiries by visiting the property themselves and inspecting the property from the street.

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