US Dept of the Treasury Seized Real Property Banner
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I participate in an on-site auction?

Sale participants must register to bid during the specified registration time for the sale. Just bring a valid government issued photo ID and the cashier's check deposit to register and receive your bidder number. Click here to view the bidder registration form pdf icon. This form can be printed out and completed prior to the auction. You do not need to mail or fax the completed form, just bring it to the auction to register. Forms will also be available at the auction. You should read and understand the Terms of Sale before you bid. Sales personnel at the auction site can answer any questions you may have.

Property is sold through open, progressive voice bidding. The placement of a successful bid at a Department of the Treasury auction establishes a legally binding contract between the successful bidder and the Government. The auctioneer's announcement of the high bid amount and the bidder's number establishes the contract which is subject to final acceptance by the Government. All property is sold "as is." You do not need a broker to participate.

The bidding progresses quickly during the auction. Please pay close attention. Failure to do so or bidder misunderstanding will not be reason enough to cancel a sale. If you need any help or clarification, ask a bid assistant.


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Where are auctions held?

Typically, auctions are held "on-site" at the property location. Some auctions are held on-line only and interested buyers will need to follow the specific directions for that auction to register and bid.

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What type of property is auctioned?

Typically, a wide variety of real property is available, including homes, condominiums, commercial buildings, operating businesses, and vacant land.

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Should I inspect the Real Property?

It is strongly recommended that you attend open houses/inspections. These open houses/inspections are the only opportunity you have to get answers to your questions, since property is sold "as is" and all sales are final. Property may not be available for inspection the day of the sale. Please take advantage of the open houses/inspections as they are provided for your benefit.

The bidder is invited, urged, and cautioned to inspect the property prior to submitting a bid. Failure to inspect property shall not constitute cause for cancellation of sale. Property will be available for inspection at the times specified. Absolutely no access to property is allowed without prior authorization. At their own expense, potential bidders may have property inspectors examine the property during regularly scheduled open houses.

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Do I have to be present to participate/How do I submit a written bid for an on-site auction?

If you cannot attend the auction, you may submit a written bid by sending a completed written bid form pdf icon, your written bid clearly marked, and the cashier's check deposit made payable to CWS Marketing Group, Inc in the amount specified by the Terms of Sale to: CWS, U.S. Department of the Treasury Seized Real Property Support, 10611 Balls Ford Road, Suite 140, Manassas, VA 20109, Attn: Real Property Sales. Bids must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. one day prior to the sale date, unless otherwise stated in the Terms of Sale. Unsuccessful bids will be returned within five (5) business days by certified mail. Written bids will not be disclosed prior to the auction.

You may also send a representative to bid on your behalf by signing over temporary notarized Power of Attorney, which must include the buying party's social security number and appropriate language for having authority to bid/purchase real estate.


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Can I bid on the internet?

Certain real properties may be offered for auction on the Internet. Persons wishing to participate in electronic bidding are required to register online at the designated website. In completing the registration process, the bidder agrees to comply with all electronic deposit requirements and acknowledges full and complete understanding of all Terms and Conditions.

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Can I get a good deal at these auctions?

The final price of auctioned properties depends on public interest. Good buys are possible, just be sure to do your own research and inspect the property.

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How does the deposit work?

To qualify to bid, photo identification and a cashier's check deposit (amount varies) must be presented at registration. Cashier's checks must be made payable to: CWS Marketing Group, Inc.

Immediately after the bidding, the high bidder will be required to provide their earnest money deposit check. In most cases, the second high bidder will also be required to make a deposit. The Terms of Sale will explain deposit requirements for each property. If you are not the high bidder or second high bidder, we do not collect your deposit.

The successful bidder's deposit will be retained as the initial payment for the property. This deposit is non-refundable. Personal or business checks, money orders, cash, credit cards, bank letters, or letters of credit will not be accepted.

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What happens to my deposit check if I am not the winning bidder?

If you are not the winning bidder, we do not collect your deposit. You should check with your bank on their procedures for re-depositing checks. In most cases, they either “void” the cashier's check or stamp it with “not used for the intended purpose” and will re-deposit the money in your account.

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When multiple properties are being sold at the same time and location, how many deposit checks do I need if I wish to bid on more than one property?

It depends on how many properties you are planning to buy. If you wish to bid on all but purchase only one, than you need only one deposit check (generally the properties will be sold in the order they have been listed on the website and flyer.) If you are planning on buying more than one property, you will need a deposit check for each one. You have a choice of having multiple checks or one check totaling the sum of the deposits needed. However, if you do not win all of them, you will need to leave that check as an initial payment(s) toward the final price of the property or properties. We do not have the capability to refund a portion of a deposit check.

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Is there a minimum bid?

Generally, the Government does not place a minimum bid on items. However, the Government reserves the right to accept or reject any and all bids.

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What is a reserve price?

It is a dollar amount placed on a property by the Government. A reserve price is not released to the public. If you hear the auctioneer say "Bidding closed, subject to the acceptance of the seller," it means the high bid did not reach the reserve price. In most cases, the reserve price is met. In the event the high bid does not reach the reserve price, the Government may open negotiations with the high bidder.

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How is the opening bid established?

The opening bid will be established on the floor at the time of the auction.

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Do I need to read the Terms of Sale?

Yes. The Terms of Sale are the specific guidelines and rules that each bidder is required to follow. You can find the Terms of Sale linked to the description of each real property on the treasury website.

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How does a closing work/When is payment due?

Closing is usually required within 30 calendar days of sale or sooner. Only the seller may, at its discretion, exceed closing beyond 30 calendar days. Closing costs including, without limitation, transfer taxes, documentary stamps, recording fees, and escrow fees will be paid by the Buyer and Seller in accordance with the customs of the county in which the property is located, unless stated otherwise in the individual Terms and Conditions of Sale.

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What forms of payment are acceptable?

Cashier's or Certified checks made payable to CWS Marketing Group, Inc are the only form of payment accepted. Forms of payment that are not accepted include: Personal or business checks, money orders, cash, credit cards, bank letters, or letters of credit. Click here to view a sample check. Please check the Terms of Sale for the specific instructions regarding payment. A link to the Terms of Sale can be found on each property's webpage.

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What happens if I can't close?

If you cannot make deposits or final payments within the time frames specified in the Terms of Sale, you will forfeit any right and interest in the property. Title of the property will remain with the Government and you will forfeit any deposits you made.

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Is financing available?

The Government does not offer financing. You are strongly encouraged to investigate and secure financing arrangements, if required, prior to attendance. Failure to obtain financing does not relieve you of your obligation to close on the property.

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Do I get a clear title?

Unless stated otherwise, a clear title will be conveyed via a Government Deed. Back taxes, liens and/or other encumbrances will be paid by the Government. Sometimes, title is conveyed with Special Warranty Deed or Quit Claim Deed. The type of deed will be identified in the Terms of Sale.

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What is a Special Warranty Deed?

A Special Warranty Deed requires the Government to defend the title against defects or clouds arising from the forfeiture process and to indemnify the buyer.

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Do I need a Broker?

No, you do not need a broker in order to bid. If you do have a broker, all arrangements, including any fees and broker commissions, are strictly between you and the broker.

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Are there any restrictions on who can bid?

Yes. You must be over 18 years old and cannot be the party or agent of the party from whom the property was seized. Forfeited real property will not be sold to the defendant or person(s) acting as his/her agent. A real property sales contract may be cancelled by the Government after review of records.

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If I am not a U.S. citizen, may I participate?

Yes, but you must have a valid photo I.D. to register.

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If I am a Government Employee, may I participate?

Employees of the Department of Treasury and members of their immediate family are prohibited from bidding on any real property. If you work for another Government agency, check your agency's policies.

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Why is property seized?

Most property is seized due to smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering, credit card fraud, food stamp fraud, mail fraud or other illegal activity.

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How do I know this is a reputable auction?

The Department of the Treasury has designated CWS Asset Management & Sales (CWSAMS) as the prime contractor responsible for the maintenance and sale of seized and forfeited real property. Our website is incorporated into the official Treasury site, http://www.treasury.gov/auctions/. CWS is not affiliated with any other auction information services, seminars, or publications, and we never charge a fee to access these auction listings.

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Are there any fees ?

CWS never charges a fee to access auction listings. You do not pay a buyer's premium.

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Still have a question? Click here to email us or call the Public Auction Line at (703) 273-7373. Please include the address of the property that you are interested in.