Is it legal for for a house to be sold at auction for the same amount that someone has a bid through a realtor prior to the auction?

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2009

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Is it legal for for a house to be sold at auction for the same amount that someone has a bid through a realtor prior to the auction?

My daughter and her future husband put a bid on a house through a realtor for $40000 and a week later the house sold at auction for the same amount. Is this legal?

Asked on March 25, 2009 under Criminal Law, Indiana


R.C., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

From what you’ve said, it is legal.  Generally, a house, or any possession, can be sold to whomever the owner wants, unless there is some kind of unlawful discrimination involved.  Assuming that this is foreclosed property, ownership goes, temporarily, to the state or federal government, or to the bank that holds the mortgage.  A county Sheriff is responsible for the auction, and usually it is required that the property be sold at auction. Auctions are well publicized by newspaper ads, in several newspapers, starting at least thirty days before the auction.

Indiana law requires that the selling price be at least a certain amount, to cover costs of whoever took over the property. Since your price and the selling amount at auction were the same amount, the sheriff did nothing wrong.

But wait.  Did you give the realtor a deposit?  Did the realtor make the bid known to Sheriff?  If your presence at the auction was required, did the realtor tell you that?  If the realtor didn’t, you may have an action against him or her.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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