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Charleston County Court Auctions of Foreclosed Proeprties – process and informative tips:

FYI, at the “courthouse steps”, an auction is held to finalize the procedure of a foreclosure – this enables either a third party to purchase the property, or for the lien holder (typically the bank that has the mortgage on it) to take it back and become the new owner since there is a balance due.  Once a bank has taken posession, they often will then work to sell it on the open market (which are listings you see above, noted as “lender owned” in the MLS).  If a third party outbids and pays above the minium due to the lien holder, the lien amount out of the purchase price is paid to the lien holder out of the sale proceeds to then nullify the lien.

If you are in the market to buy a distressed property (short-sale or foreclosure), the following is a great resource identifying the steps to buy a property at the foreclosure auction held by the county. Per the county’s website on the subject, the following information is available:(

A list of the current available properties that may be bidded on are found here and shown below: (

Currently listed bank-owned Charleston SC listings can be found here:

Bidding on Foreclosures

Thank you for your interest in foreclosure sales. This page was prepared in an effort to answer the most frequently asked questions about this process.

If you are interested in bidding on a piece of property in Charleston County, which is being foreclosed upon and is scheduled to be auctioned for sale in the near future, the following are some things you may find helpful to know:

When real property is ordered to be foreclosed in Charleston County, a judge called the Master in Equity will issue an order directing the mortgaged premises (or part thereof as required to satisfy the claims established) be sold by or under direction of the Master.

The judgment (often called a Master’s Order of Foreclosure & Sale) will contain a legal description of the property being sold, a provision for the necessary legal advertisement, the time and location of the sale, and notice of any senior liens, taxes or other rights to which the property to be sold is subject.

All legal ads in the newspaper also will have the terms of the sale and are run for three consecutive weeks in a local newspaper, usually the Post and Courier.

Pre-registration is not required to bid. Sales are held the 1st Tuesday of each month at 11 a.m. If a deficiency judgment has been demanded (also referred to as Reopens), the bidding remains open for (30) days. Sales are held at the Charleston County Judicial Center located at 100 Broad Street (see monitors located in the lobby and on the second floor for the court room location).

The Master’s Office has no knowledge of the physical condition of any of the properties listed. We do not have keys, nor do we guarantee title. The Master’s Deed is not a Warranty Deed. Interested bidders should satisfy themselves as to the quality of title to be conveyed by obtaining a title search before bidding on a property. If any property taxes are due they will be the responsibility of the successful bidder.

If you are the successful bidder, you have until 4:00 pm the day of the sale to pay 5% of your bid in cash or certified funds made payable to the Charleston County Master in Equity. You have 30 days from the date of the sale to fully comply with the Terms of the Sale. Failure to comply will result in the forfeiture of your deposit, loss of your right to bid at future auctions, and the responsibility for associated cost for the re-sale of the property.


Some Plaintiffs seek a deficiency judgment against the Defendant. This means the Plaintiff is not only foreclosing its mortgage but is also seeking a personal money judgment against the Defendant. The Plaintiff has the right to waive its demand for a deficiency judgment up until 7 days before the original sale. If a deficiency judgment has been demanded, the bidding remains open for (30) days. On the 30th day after the initial sale the property is again auctioned and the highest bid is accepted. The Plaintiff makes only one bid at the initial sale and is not allowed to bid again. If no higher bid is made at the second sale, then the Plaintiff’s bid prevails.

If you have any questions that have not been answered above or by reviewing the documents, then please consult an attorney.