Malone — Franklin County is estimating a net loss in proceeds from a foreclosure auction held at Moe’s Pub and Grill on August 3.
Franklin County Treasurer Francis Perry said an estimated $2,257,950 was generated from the auction, but the total unpaid taxes were $2,307,519.81, a loss of $49,569.81.
“All Over The Board”
Despite the losses, Perry said the estimated revenue was actually much higher than the county had originally budgeted for.
“I think it has something to do with property values rising,” she said.
“Real estate seemed to be doing well across the board in terms of how they were selling.”
Bidders have 30 days to close the property they bid on at the auction, so the total revenue and net loss to date is an estimate and not an official final figure.
But regardless of the final numbers post-closure, Perry said the county still expects a net loss.
“The problem facing Franklin County is that the foreclosure period is significantly delayed,” Perry said.
“So most counties have two years in arrears, whereas we have five, six, seven years. So the numbers (net losses) are much higher. But COVID hit, so we’ve been working hard to keep up with all the delays we’ve been facing.
“This auction included properties from 2013, 2014 and 2015.”
To help keep up, Perry said he hired a title searcher to speed up the foreclosure process.
“It’s been a long process of searching for a title, filing all papers with the court, reviewing it by the court, returning it, and getting it on the auction block. It took a lot of time in Franklin County and there were all kinds of situations. ‘ she said.
“One way we were able to catch up was by introducing title searchers into the house … and having made the title search process much faster, we expect to catch up with Franklin County by 2024.”
This year’s auction saw a record number of 200 properties appear on the bid block and 188 sold.
“Only 60 lots were sold at the last auction, which means it was due to the moratorium put in place due to COVID, so this was three years worth of property,” Perry said.
“It was the biggest auction ever and it has been very busy… I am so happy with this auction.”
record number of bidders
A record number of 479 bidders also participated in the online and live auctions.
Only 136 bidders were registered, Perry said, compared to the last foreclosure auction held in 2019.
“There’s been a huge response…and I feel[it’s]because of the period we haven’t been able to put anything up for auction,” she said.
A special online auction may be held at a later date to sell the remaining 12 properties. If not, they’re headed to next year’s foreclosure auction.
That hasn’t been decided yet, she said, but she expects things to go more smoothly next year.
“It shouldn’t be this big. Three years (value) will never be given again,” said Perry.
“There were some policies put in place to help taxpayers, so they can pay their taxes and stay home. No need to foreclose.”