SHERIFF SALES (Mortgage Foreclosure)

Q. I want to inspect the property before I bid on it. How do I go about that?

A. Most properties cannot be inspected prior to the sale. The Sheriff's Department does not have keys to the properties that are scheduled for sale. The prospective purchaser buys the property, more or less, "as is, where is."

Q. I want to know more about the property for sale. How many bedrooms does it have? How many bathrooms does it have? What are the real estate taxes? Does the well and septic need improvement? Are there any liens on the property? Are there any back taxes due? Are there any easements? How old is the roof? Are there any plumbing issues? Has the house been winterized (if vacant)? How old is the furnace? Does the house have central air conditioning? Does the property meet code?

A. The Sheriff's Department does not have the information to answer these questions. The Sheriff's Department conducts the sale of the property but does not have specific information as to the condition of the property or what improvements may be required.

Q. The Notice of Foreclosure Sale states a judgment was entered on a specific date for a specific amount against the defendant. Is this amount the opening bid?

A. The Plaintiff determines the opening bid. The mathematical equation to determine this is not known by the Sheriff's Department. The opening bid may be at, below, or above the amount specified in the judgment.

Q. How and where do I go to research what encumbrances may be levied on the property? I might be interested in the property, but how do I research the financial obligations that go with the property? What about back taxes? What about other defendants listed on the Notice of Foreclosure Sale?

A. The buyer assumes all liens and legal encumbrances on the property. The Sheriff's Department cannot provide legal advice on how to properly investigate what financial obligations may be outstanding. Other defendants listed on the Notice of Foreclosure Sale may have a financial interest in the property. The Sheriff's Department cannot provide legal advice as to how to determine what financial interest is outstanding. Resources available may be a title search, record search, the Clerk of Courts and the Register of Deeds.

Q. If I bid on the property, will I be given time after the sale to go the bank and get the amount specified in the minimum deposit language contained in the Notice of Foreclosure Sale?

A. No. Bidders must have cash; cashiers check or certified funds with them at the time they bid.

Q. Some Sheriff Sales are either cancelled or adjourned. Why?

A. The plaintiff in the case may cancel or adjourn a Sheriff's Sale. Typical reasons for doing so include settlement or bankruptcy. The Sheriff's Department has no control over whether a sale is cancelled or adjourned or how many times that may occur. It is suggested that you contact the Sheriff's Department Civil Process Unit, at 715-261-1412, the morning of the scheduled sale to check whether the sale is cancelled or adjourned.

Keep in mind that the plaintiff may cancel or adjourn the sale anytime up until the date and time of the sale (sales are always held at 9:00 a.m.). Example: You call our office at 8:00 a.m. the morning of the sale and are told the sale is "on." The plaintiff calls our office at 8:30 a.m. and requests the sale be cancelled or adjourned. You arrive at the courthouse at 8:45 a.m. and now find out the sale has been cancelled or adjourned. The Sheriff's Department has no control over this type of situation.

Q. Where do I find postings for Sheriff Sales?

A. Sheriff Sales postings are located at the County Offices, 212 River Drive, Wausau, WI. They can also be found on the Internet at this web page.

Depending on where the property to be sold is located, postings may also be located elsewhere. Contact the Sheriff's Department Civil Process Unit at 715-261-1412 for other locations.

Sheriff Sales are also usually published in the "Legal Notices" section of the Wausau Daily Herald.


Q. Where do I obtain legal forms necessary to bring a case to court?

A. Most forms are obtained from the Clerk of Courts Office located in the courthouse. Most forms are free, but there are filing fees. Forms may also be found on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access - Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) via the internet.

Q. I have papers to serve on a person. Where do I bring them?

A. First take the papers to the Clerk of Court Office then to the Civil Process Unit of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department, both located at 500 Forest Street, in the Marathon County Courthouse Complex.

Q. How many copies do I bring with me?

A. Two copies of the papers are required with an official court stamp on them for each person served.

Q. Can you help me fill out my court papers?

A. No. The Sheriff's Department will only check papers to make sure they are legible (readable) and accurate.

Q. Can I call someone with a legal question?

A. The Sheriff's Department is not allowed to give legal advice of any kind whatsoever. You may contact an attorney for legal advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may call Wisconsin Judicare Incorporated at 715-842-1681, to see if you qualify for their services.

Q. Why can't you just go to the person's workplace and serve them the papers there?

A. Many employers request that we do not come to their company for the purpose of serving papers. Serving papers at a company often results in loss of production for the company. The person receiving the papers may become emotional, and the company does not have the resources to deal with this type of situation. Additionally, the actual job site that the employee is at may be different from the company's headquarters, and locating the employee may be difficult.

Q. I don't have a recent address for the person I want served papers. Will the Sheriff's Department tell me where the person lives?

A. No. The Sheriff's Department will not provide an address. You will need a current, physical address in order for us to attempt service.

Q. I know the person will be at a specific location at a specific time. Can you serve them there?

A. We will attempt to accommodate this, but it can be very difficult to "schedule" an officer to be somewhere at a specific time.

Q. I need the person served the papers right away. Can you serve the papers immediately?

A. The Civil Process Unit handles between five and six thousand legal papers annually. We attempt to serve papers as efficiently as possible, but we cannot promise that a paper will be served immediately or in a specific time period. We suggest that you allow us sufficient time to locate and serve the person their papers.

Q. The Aid in Serving Papers Form asks for specific information I am not sure of. What do I do?

A. Answer the questions as completely as you can. All information you provide helps us to serve the papers as efficiently as possible.

Q. Why can't you give the papers to someone else when you first go to the house?

A. There are many types of legal papers. Some papers require "personal" service meaning the papers must be served on the person who's named on the papers. Other papers can be given (substitute service) to someone else at the residence after three attempts to serve the person who's named on the papers. Speak with someone in the Civil Process Unit if you have further questions.

Q. Why can't you put the papers in the mailbox or between the doors?

A. They must be served personally, or in some cases can be substituted on a person (over the age of 14) who lives at the residence.