Sheriff's Sales

The Polk County Sheriff's Office has deployed an upgraded records management system in Civil Process.  This allows the Sheriff's Office to provide a searchable database of pending, sold and cancelled Sheriff's Foreclosure Sales.  The information is provided as a public service, and includes general sales information.


The Polk County Sheriff has made every effort to provide accurate information about the property to be sold at foreclosure auctions. However, neither Polk County nor the Polk County Sheriff warrants or guarantees the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of the content on this site or the content which is referenced by or linked to this site. Assessing accuracy and reliability of information is the responsibility of the visitor and the buyer.

Do not rely solely on the information contained on this site that might affect your legal rights. All critical information should be independently verified. Examples of problems which have occurred in the past include technical problems which have voided the entire sale, a discrepancy between the legal description and the address in the notice, and potential defects in the title. It is important that you make a visual observation of the property before bidding at the sale. The condition of the property may have changed since notice of the sale was provided.


Directions and Information

General Information

  1. Forfeiture auctions are held on a weekly basis at 10:00 A.M. at The Justice Center, 222 5th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa. Please check designated sale dates to determine which day it will be held that week.
  2. Most of these sales are for mortgage foreclosures, which means that the debtor is in arrears on the mortgage. The sale may be a foreclosure of a second mortgage rather than a first mortgage, which will leave the first mortgage still in place. There also may be stipulations in the foreclosure decree that have special provisions for certain debts. (Such as, "This foreclosure does not include the debt owed to John Jones.")
  3. Sales are held as an auction type and will be sold to the highest bidder. The mortgage company is entitled to bid ahead of time what is due them, including attorney fees, court costs and Sheriff's fees. The mortgage company's bid is not disclosed until the time of the sale. The foreclosing bank's bid will be the opening bid. If no one else bids, the property will be sold to the bank for their bid. Whoever has the highest bid, over the bank's bid will be the purchaser.
  4. If a private party wishes to bid, they must have a letter of credit at the time of the sale. They must return within two hours with the total amount of their bid, in cash or certified check made out to the Polk County Sheriff.  If you fail to return with your cash in hand the Sheriff may choose to refuse any future bids from you or your affiliates.
  5. NEW PURCHASERS: For those persons who have not developed a purchasing history with our office, if you are the successful bidder, you must deposit with the Sheriff $100.00 in cash. When you return with the full amount of your bid, the cash will be returned to you. If you do not return with the bid amount, the Plaintiff has the option to sue you for the amount of your bid. The $100.00 deposit will not be refunded and will be used for costs of the resale.
  6. If a foreclosure sale does not have a redemption period, a deed is issued within a few days. If the foreclosure sale does have a redemption period, a Certificate of Purchase is issued and may be turned in at the end of the redemption period (providing the property has not been redeemed) along with $30.25 to the Sheriff's Office for issuance of a Sheriff's Deed.
  7. The Sheriff's Office cannot guarantee clear title to the property. These properties are sold CAVEAT EMPTOR, which means "buyer beware."
  8. Each property should be researched before bidding, such as a title search, ascertaining if there is any unpaid taxes or special assessments, etc. You may want to also check to be sure that all persons who have judgments against the debtor have been listed in the foreclosure decree. If they have not, the judgment not listed will still be in place on the house after the sale. As with any real property purchase, it is advisable to have an attorney who is knowledgeable in real estate matters check into the property.
  9. At the time of the sale, we sell the property by reading the legal description. We do not sell by address. Therefore, if the address on our listing on the web site (as provided to us by the attorney) is not correct, we are not responsible.
  10. All foreclosures are published in the The Des Moines Register on Wednesdays. The publication includes the Case number; Plaintiff, Defendants, and all persons holding judgments (if listed in the decree); the legal description of the property being sold; the date, time and place of the sale; and the Plaintiff attorney's name and address.







Glossary of Terms

  • Plaintiff: Company or person filing the lawsuit (foreclosure)
  • Defendant: Persons or company against whom the lawsuit (foreclosure) has been filed (in this case the primary defendants). The persons who have judgments against the primary defendants are also listed as defendants because they are being notified of the foreclosure proceedings. Their judgments will be wiped out as judgments against the property, with the Sheriff's sale of the property.
  • Case Number: The case number the court assigned to a court case when it is filed.
  • Auction date: The date the property is set for auction. Delays may be announced at the time of the auction.
  • Address of sale property: The address the Attorney gives us as the property being sold as described in the foreclosure decree by a legal description.
  • Redemption period: The amount of time the defendant(s) is allowed by law to purchase the property back (redeem) after the sale for the purchase price plus costs reported to the clerk of court by the purchaser. There may be no redemption or from 30 days up to one year redemption.
  • Sale date: The date the property was actually sold.
  • Sale Price: The price the property was sold for.
  • Purchaser: The company or person to whom the property was sold.

Researching Sale Properties

To help research the property, look up the property records through the following county offices:

Polk County Recorder's Office Records System

Polk County Treasurer's Office Tax Information

Polk County Assessor's Office Property Database