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Sheriff sale process complex
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MONROE - Green County Deputy Steve Hoesly conducts the sheriff's sales of foreclosed properties. He is never sure how a sale will conclude.

"Most of the time, nobody will show up," he said.

Lending companies often submit their opening bid by fax or mail, he said, and anyone who bids even $1 more will get the property.

"What they have to be careful of is back taxes and other judgments against the property," he added. The Sheriff's Department does not supply such information, nor will it show the property to interested buyers.

On Dec. 31, Hoesly conducted the last two sales of the year in the basement of the Green County Justice Center. He was surprised that a small crowd of people filed into the multi-purpose room.

The first property for sale was a rural home with 80 acres. Hoesly said it was the second farm he had sold that year.

Todd Schlueshe, attorney for Wisconsin Community Bank, opened the bidding with $324,400.

A representative for the U. S. Farm Services Agency (FSA) placed a bid for $363,800; and a third potential bidder declined to make a bid.

The FSA agent came prepared with a check for 10 percent of the sale price.

The small crowd filed out of the room, and only Hoesly and Dale Hatfield with the Farmers Savings Bank in Mineral Point were left to finish the second sale of the day, for five undeveloped residential lots near New Glarus.

Hatfield submitted his bids, between $24,900 and $34,900 for each lot, and the bank's 10 percent down payment.

The lots will be listed with a Realtor and resold, he said. The problem is that buyers aren't buying, he added. Until sold, the property sits as a asset on the bank's financial books.

"We'll work with potential buyers, do some special financing, special interest rates," he said.

Hatfield expects foreclosures to increase next year.

"When unemployment goes up, foreclosures go up," he said. "I think we're in the mud for another two years. The economy has come back a little bit, but recovery rate is slow."