Foreclosure Auction Alignment

February 22, 2021 by Mashal Babak

Foreclosure Auction Alignment

While COVID-19 protections have drastically reduced foreclosures across the country, the numbers in Florida remain high. Whether due to a uniquely high inventory of abandoned vacation properties, the resumption of court operations, or other factors, in the fourth quarter of 2020, foreclosures in Florida ranked second highest in the nation.

In no case is a foreclosure a good thing. All stakeholders feel the gravity of each situation. For the recording offices involved, foreclosures also present real pain points in cumbersome, stressful processes. Recording offices collect and house all details on residential properties. Foreclosures add layers to the process, as recording staff must work with the tax office and auction house to track foreclosed properties up for auction, along with any associated costs or fees, and process the resulting tax deed sales.

Auction Activity

During an auction, a property’s sale price naturally changes. The final amount is divided in a way that covers outstanding liens, fees, and taxes. It’s the recording office that collects, divides, and distributes the money.

The process can be challenging, as new additions to an auction and associated bids are shared back and forth between the auction house and recording office via phone calls or emails. When information is inaccurate or incomplete, it’s difficult for staff to complete their jobs correctly. Other offices, such as the tax office, are impacted, amplifying the stress. When properties don’t sell at auction, recording staff must develop a new report from scratch and manually input property details in preparation for the next event.

Digital Communication

Solving these challenges is possible through simple data-sharing. Instead of calls and emails, software that connects auction houses and recording offices can facilitate near real-time information updates. Recording offices can instantly communicate property data to the auction. The auction house, likewise, can send live updates on what properties sold for what price, giving recording staff accurate data to process the resulting tax deed sales and prepare for quick disbursements. For properties that don’t sell, the software automatically rolls the details over to the next auction’s report.

In addition to reducing the stress of calls and emails and increasing data accuracy, using software to automate and streamline communications frees up recording staff time in ways that benefit counties. Staff, for example, can spend newly found time in scanning and indexing older documents to increase public access.

Creatively leveraging technology holds significant promise for counties. Creating connections and digitally sharing information in common transactions enhances operations and service. These connections also strengthen relationships with community partners such as auction houses in ways that benefit everyone.

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