The state of Iowa uses a judicial process to handle foreclosures. When a lender seeks to foreclose on a home where the borrower has defaulted on a home loan, it must file a lawsuit. In some cases, the judge will then order that the Iowa foreclosure be sold at public auction. The sheriff conducts a sheriff sale. At this sale, bidders may buy foreclosed homes in Iowa by finding foreclosure listings, preparing a bid and then bidding at the public foreclosure auction/sheriff sale.
Find Iowa foreclosures. You first need to know where to find foreclosure listings. There is not one single way to find Iowa foreclosure notices. Because each county’s sheriff has its own policies, you need to check with the sheriff’s office in each county to find foreclosed homes in each Iowa county.
In some cases, you can find all upcoming foreclosures online. Look for each county’s website. On county websites,you can then generally search around to find the sheriff’s office. Some sheriffs post all foreclosures online. For example, the Polk County Sheriff has a section on the county’s website with foreclosure bidding information and listings at Polkcountyiowa.gov/sheriff/Pages/sheriffsale.aspx. Sheriffs may also run listings in county newspapers. You may have to resort to using a newspaper or dropping by the office to get a list if the local sheriff does not post online.
In any event, you definitely need to contact the sheriff’s office or get information online about how to participate in the county auctions for each Iowa county. For example, the Polk County sheriff requires a letter of credit from the bank before bidding, $100 upon winning a bid and full payment of the bid within 2 hours by cash or certified check. Other Iowa counties may have the same or different policies, as the state statutes are not as complex as they could be on every issue.
Use the listings and information you get from the sheriff to find the location of Iowa foreclosures. You need to keep in mind that foreclosed homes and property in Iowa are sold on an as-is basis. This means you have no right to inspect properties. But you should at least determine a rough estimate of the fair market value of the home so you can come up with a maximum bid. Visit the neighborhood and talk to neighbors or local real estate agents or appraisers to estimate the foreclosure’s value.
Show up to the Iowa sheriff sale and bid. Complete the sale by paying according to the local sheriff’s policy. After you pay, then you can obtain a deed from the Iowa sheriff that conducted the sale. You need to file this property deed with the recording office in the county where you bought the Iowa foreclosure.
Polk County, Iowa Sheriff Foreclosure Information and Listings (Notices)