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How to Buy Des Moines Foreclosures

Des Moines, Foreclosed Homes Listing

Like most states, Iowa has a foreclosure process that allows banks and other mortgage lenders to foreclose on real estate. A lender can sue to foreclose on real estate in Des Moines. After that, the public must receive notice of the foreclosure sale. That way, buyers can find Des Moines foreclosures and show up at the auction to bid on foreclosed homes in Des Moines.

Step 1:

Find foreclosure listings for Polk and Warren County to locate Des Moines foreclosures. In Iowa, the local sheriff in the county where the property is located sells a property that is up for foreclosure. Thus, the below information will detail the process for Polk County, which comprises the bulk of foreclosed homes in Des Moines. For the smaller number of foreclosed properties in Warren County, contact the sheriff’s office there or visit the website at Co.warren.ia.us/Sheriff/sheriffsales.html for uploaded foreclosure notices.

In Polk County, you should first visit the web page at Polkcountyiowa.gov/Sheriff/Pages/sheriffsale.aspx. You will then see a menu near the top of the page. Click on “Upcoming Auctions” to find foreclosure listings for Des Moines and surrounding cities.

Step 2:

Look at the upcoming sheriff sales to get the property address and amount due on each property. You should always visit these addresses to help you make a final decision whether or not to bid on a property. In most cases, the bank actually wins the auction by bidding the amount due on the property. But occasionally, you might find a property where you think you can outbid the bank and all others and still get a foreclosed property for less than its fair market value. These are the only properties you should attempt to buy at Des Moines sheriff sales.

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The reason it is difficult to find a good deal on a foreclosure is because you have no right to inspect the property. This makes it especially hard to estimate a fair market value. Nonetheless, you need to try to do this by speaking to neighbors or real estate professionals specializing in the Des Moines housing market.

Step 3:

Prepare for participating in the foreclosure auctions. In Polk County, the sheriff’s office conducts these sales weekly at the following address:

Polk County River Place
2309 Euclid Ave.
Des Moines, IA

The auctions kick off at 10 in the morning, but you will not know the day of the week except by looking at the foreclosure listings for each property that you want to bid on and buy.

Step 4:

Attend the sheriff sale and bid on the properties. You must have a letter of credit to bid. Ask your bank about this. You have two hours after winning an auction to return with the full amount of the bid.

Step 5:

Get a sheriff’s deed. This will cost you about $30. Take this deed and file it with the Polk County recording office for each Des Moines foreclosure that you buy at auction. Filing a deed is necessary because the law requires notice to the public to protect future purchasers of real estate who may be duped by fraud.


Polk County Sheriff’s Office Website Foreclosure Section