Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, the unenviable responsibility to process foreclosures initiated by lenders, lien holders and the county treasurer’s office for delinquent real estate taxes vests in the office of the county sheriff. Within the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the Sheriff has delegated these responsibilities to Civil Administrative Specialist James Allen, who is assisted by Clerical Specialists Bobbie Ford and Sherry Buchheim. The Sheriff Sales unit is supervised by Sgt. Melissa Gerhardt.
From the standpoint of the Sheriff’s Office, the foreclosure process begins when a Common Pleas Court issues an “Order of Sale.” If the sale is not the result of a foreclosure for non-payment of real estate taxes, the order also routinely directs that the property be appraised. The appraisal is done by an appraisal team, duly appointed and sworn by the Sheriff in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code. Upon completion of appraisal, or as otherwise directed by the Court, the property is advertised in a newspaper of general circulation for a period of three (3) weeks prior to the scheduled auction sale date. However, prior to that advertised auction sale date, the property may be withdrawn from the sale by the plaintiff (party who initiated the action) for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for a withdrawal include a reinstatement or modification of the actual loan, a filing for bankruptcy, the granting of a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or the completion of a “short sale.”
The Sheriff’s Office has added a program on the BCSO website which allows real time updates on foreclosures and enhanced historical data pertaining to foreclosure information. This allows the general public access to this information wherever there is an internet connection.
During 2012, the Sheriff Sales unit processed 2,869 initial orders for foreclosure sales of real property, primarily the result of defaults on mortgage payments and/or non-payment of real estate tax bills. A good portion of those initial orders of sale are withdrawn or recalled by the plaintiffs for a variety of reasons before completion of the legal foreclosure process. Still, in 2012 the Sheriff’s Office conducted 1,456 actual public auction sales of properties, with a total of more than $134 million in total appraised values.