Below are common questions and answers about buying at CWSAMS Seized Real Property online and live auctions. Seized Real Property is all real estate that is seized by the federal government due to criminal activity. If you have additional questions, please see the Terms of Sale for the specific auction you are interested in, or contact us at (703) 273-7373 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to reading the Terms of Sale, to be best prepared to participate in an auction, attend the scheduled public preview or visit the specific auction page on www.cwsmarketing.com.
Real Property Common Questions
Typically, a wide variety of real property is available, including homes, condominiums, commercial buildings, operating businesses, and vacant land.
It is strongly recommended that you attend the open houses/inspections that are scheduled prior to sale. 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 only at the times specified. At their own expense, potential bidders may have property inspectors examine the property during regularly scheduled open houses.
Properties that are designated as “Online Auctions” are available for online bidding. If designated as a “Live Auction”, online bidding is NOT available and you must be present to participate in the sale.
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 separate deposit check for each one.
Please consider that if you provide multiple deposit checks, and you are the Back-up Bidder for a property, one of your deposit checks will be utilized for that property, and will not be able to be applied to bid on another property. As the back-up bidder, your deposit check will be returned within three business days of receipt of the High Bidders full deposit. Please see Terms of Sale for details regarding the Back-Up bid deposit.
Occasionally the Government will establish a minimum/reserve bid which is not released to the public. In most cases, the minimum/reserve bid is met. In the event the high bid does not reach the minimum/reserve bid, the Government may open negotiations with the high bidder. The Government reserves the right to accept or reject any and all bids.
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 in the description of each real property listing on the Treasury website.
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. Payment in full is due at Closing. Closing costs, including and 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.
Cashier’s or Certified checks made payable to CWS Marketing Group, Inc are the only forms 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.
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.
The Government does not offer financing. Proof of financing is NOT required to participate in the auction. However, you are strongly encouraged to investigate and secure financing arrangements, if required, prior to participating in an auction. Failure to obtain financing does not relieve you of your obligation to close on the property.
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.
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.
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.
No, the government does not pay broker commissions. If a broker represents a buyer, all arrangements, including any fees and broker commissions, are strictly between the broker and their client.
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. Should this be found to be true, the real property sales contract may be cancelled by the Government after review of records.
Yes, but you must have a valid, government issued, photo ID to register.
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.
Most property is seized due to smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering, credit card fraud, food stamp fraud, mail fraud or other illegal activity.
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 throughout the U.S. 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.
CWS never charges a fee to access auction listings or to attend an auction. Buyer’s premiums are not charged at any seized property auction.
Real Property Online Auctions
No. Online bidding is available for sales that are designated as an online auction, and for live auctions that offer simulcast bidding.
Yes, public previews are scheduled on specific dates and times prior to the sale date to allow prospective bidders opportunity to preview/inspect the property. Check the preview schedule for the auction you are interested in.
Yes, anyone can view the bidding online when the auction is active. Go to the auction you are interested in and click on View Auction Lots.
Click register and create an account. (Please note: In addition to creating an account, please see your specific auctions Terms of Sale for bid deposit requirement). Note: Your username will appear on the bidding screen, some bidders do not want their company or personal name to be known therefore, select another username. See the below question “How do I submit a Bid Deposit” for instructions on completing registration.
Persons wishing to participate in the online bidding process are required to register online and submit a Bid Deposit Form along with the appropriate cashier’s check deposit, made payable to CWS Marketing Group, Inc. Download and complete the Bid Deposit Form and submit, along with the cashier’s check deposit in the amount indicated for that particular property. The completed Bid Deposit Form and Deposit Check must be mailed to: CWSAMS, 10611 Balls Ford Road, Suite 140, Manassas VA, 20109. The deposit is due no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on the day before the auction. Once the deposit is received, bidder will be sent a confirming email with the link to the online auction site and further instructions. For auctions with multiple properties, please see the 4th questions under “Common Questions” above concerning multiple-property bid deposits.
To bid on an auction item, you need to Login by entering your username and password. After login you may place either your Bid Amount or an Auto Bid. Please Note: All online auctions run on eastern time.
The Auto Bid feature allows a bidder to place a maximum bid on an item. The registered bidder inputs a maximum bid amount for a particular lot, and the auction system will automatically bid on your behalf as you are outbid by other participants, until it reaches your maximum bid amount. The system will automatically increase the bid by one bid increment when outbid by another bidder. If two or more Auto Bids have the same maximum (equal to or greater than any single bid), the earliest Auto Bid will be the “winning bid”.
You need to Login and click on Your Account to track your bids.
The watchlist feature allows you keep a close eye on any lot without having to place a bid on it. You must login to see this link. Go to the lot you are interested in and click on “Add this item to my watchlist”. To view these lots click on Your Watchlist.
If you have been outbid you will receive an email named “You have been outbid”. The email will contain the lot number and the current high bid. If you still want the item, simply click on the link in the email, login and place your bid.
Overtime bidding occurs automatically when a bid is placed within the last 5 minutes of an auction.
Example: Auction is scheduled to close at 2:00 pm. If a bid is placed within the “time remaining” period i.e. between 1:55 and 2:00 say 1:58, the new end time will be 5 mins from that, i.e. 2:03. If another person bids (between 2:01-2:03), the end time will be extended again for 5 mins from when the person placed the bid. The lot will only end when no one bids during the last 5 mins of the end date/time.
You will receive an email stating you are a winning bidder. You may also login to Your Bidding History to see the list of lots you have won.
Login to your account and click on Update Registration. Enter the new information and hit the Update button.
On the Login screen, Go to Forgot Password and enter your username and email address. An email will be sent to you with a temporary password. Use this to access your account and update your password.
Real Property Live Auctions
Typically, auctions are held “on-site” at the property location. In addition, some live auctions may be held at a local meeting place, such as a hotel ballroom or a convention center.
First, read the property information and Terms of Sale on the website for the specific property you are interested in. Attend a scheduled open house. Register to bid at the auction location the day of sale during the registration period. You must bring a valid government issued photo ID and the required cashier’s check deposit to register. A bidder number will be issued upon completion of registration. Click here to view the bidder registration form. 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.
If you cannot attend the auction, you may submit a written bid by sending a completed written bid form and the required cashier’s check deposit made payable to CWS Marketing Group, Inc. Mail the Written Bid Form and the cashier’s check 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.
To qualify to bid, a government issued photo ID 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. For auctions with multiple properties, please see “When multiple properties are being sold at the same time…”.
Immediately after the bidding, the high bidder will be required to provide their deposit check as the initial earnest money deposit on the property. In most cases, the second high bidder (back-up bidder) will also be required to make a deposit. If you are not the high bidder or second high bidder, we do not collect your deposit. The Terms of Sale will explain deposit requirements for each 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.
If you are not the winning bidder, we do not collect your deposit. Simply return the check to your bank for deposit. You should check with your bank on their procedures for re-depositing checks.
The opening bid is directed by the auctioneer and initiated by the auction participants. In the event that a written bid had been submitted, the auctioneer may start the bidding at the written bid amount.