Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is Civil action taken?
Ownership of property, either real estate or movables, can be jeopardized by a money judgment or by a delinquent payment on a loan. When the interests of a borrower and/or other defendants in a property are foreclosed, the property is sold to satisfy the debt at a sale called a public auction. The sheriff is the official auctioneer for court-ordered sales in Bossier Parish.

What is Real Estate?
It is land with its improvements and the right to own and use it.

Where is the Real Estate auction held?
In the lobby of the district courthouse located at 204 Burt Boulevard, Benton.

When is the auction held?
Every Wednesday at 10 am. Each property and its auction date is advertised in the Bossier Press-Tribune, the official newspaper of record, 43 days before the auction and again on the Friday before the auction. Upcoming lists of properties for sale are available in the Civil Department of the Sheriffs Office.

How many days does it take before a foreclosed property goes to auction?
It takes a minimum of 55 days from receipt of the writ to advertisement for the auction. During this time the foreclosure may be stopped for reasons such as bankruptcy or payment of the balance owed.

What are the usual costs of real estate foreclosures? Advertising, appraisals, mortgage, conveyance and tax certificates, curators fees, deeds, and a three percent sales commission on the sales price to the sheriff’s office. These costs and fees are not paid by a successful bidder. A successful bidder pays only the amount of his or her bid.

Can I enter the property before I bid?
No access is allowed prior to the auction. The sale is not officially completed until the entire purchase price is paid in full. Therefore it is only then that access to the property is legally permissible. All property is sold "as is, where is" and the deeds are not warranted.

Must I bring the entire cash amount to the auction?
Upon successfully bidding on the property, the successful bidder must provide the sheriff with the full purchase price paid with a money order or cashiers check (no checks are accepted), plus their name, address, phone number, marital status and social security number by 2 pm of the day of the sale. Failure to meet this deadline may result in the property being reset for a second auction. Should the second auction result in a lesser sales price, the first bidder may be responsible for the difference in the two amounts.

When will I receive the property deed?
Typically the deed is mailed within about 10 days of the sale.

What does it mean when a property is sold with appraisal?
Under the law, both the plaintiff (the creditor) and the defendant (the debtor) have the right to appoint an appraiser to value the property which is being foreclosed upon if that right was not previously waived by the defendant. If the parties do not appoint an appraiser, the sheriff appoints the appraisers. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR WARRANT THE CONDITION OR THE TITLE TO PROPERTY AUCTIONED.

What are movables?
Anything that is not real estate is considered a movable or chattel property. Examples include, but are not limited to, automobiles, airplanes, boats, furniture, jewelry, business inventories.

Where is the movables auction held?
In the lobby of the district courthouse, 204 Burt Boulevard, Benton, La.

What is the minimum opening bid?
There are two categories for the minimum opening bid:

  1. When the sale is with appraisal the bid must open at two thirds of the average of the plaintiff’s appraisal and the defendant’s appraisal. If there is a difference between the two appraisals of 10 percent or more, a third appraisal or “sheriff’s” appraisal is used in lieu of the average. If two thirds of the appraisal results in an opening bid insufficient to cover the costs and commission, then the opening bid will be raised to reflect those expenses This amount must also be an amount sufficient to satisfy any superior claims. When the sale is "without" appraisal the bid must cover any superior claims.
  2. When the sale is “without” appraisal, the bid must cover any superior claims plus the costs and commission.

How is the appraisal established? The foreclosing creditor and the defendant both have the opportunity to provide appraisals to the sheriff. Those are averaged and the beginning bid is two-thirds of that figure. If the two appraisals are different by more than 10 percent the sheriff orders a “sheriff’s” to be used in lieu of the average.

What are the usual costs of movable foreclosures? Advertising, appraisal (if required), certificates, towing and storage, and any superior liens. The Sheriff's commission is six percent of either the sales price or the amount collected by the creditor if the sale is stopped.

Can I operate the Movable before I bid? No vehicle may be started prior to the auction. Each is sold "As Is Where Is" and all sales are final with no exchanges or refunds. Prospective bidders may check the mileage and lift the hood before the auction.