Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about attending or bidding at one of our real estate auctions.

What is the Auction Deposit?

To qualify to bid at the Auction, a potential bidder must present a deposit in the amount advertised in the Mortgagee’s Notice of Sale. The deposit amount is $5,000 unless noted differently on this site under the individually scheduled sales. The deposit must be in the form of a bank certified check, cashier’s check or money order payable to the person who is going to bid. Cash is also accepted by the auctioneer. At the completion of the Auction, the successful bidder must endorse the check to the law firm representing the lender and must give the check to the auctioneer or the lender’s agent and sign a memorandum of sale. 

How can I obtain additional information about the properties?

There are many sources you can utilize to obtain additional information about the properties listed on our website. You can subscribe to some of the sources and others are free. Although we do not recommend any specific service, you can subscribe to services such as and or you can log on to which is a free service. You can also obtain an assessors field card from the city or town where the property is located. In the event you decide to use a third party source to obtain additional information about any properties, please be advised that Commonwealth Auction Associates, Inc. does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of any information obtained. 

To whom do I make the deposit check payable?

The deposit check should be made payable to the party bidding and endorsed to the lender’s counsel at the end of the Auction. The successful bidder must present adequate identification to the Auctioneer.

Where is the auction held?

The Auction will be held at the property. For your convenience, there is a link under our sale listings with directions to the property on this site. 

If I purchase a foreclosed property at the foreclosure sale, will I be guaranteed clear title?

No. The lender does not guarantee or represent title quality. You will need to perform your own title review to determine if the title is satisfactory.

Will I be able to see the inside of the property?

The Auctioneer does not have access to the premises. Prior to the sale, the law office will request that the homeowner provide access to the bidders on the day of the sale. Typically, access is not granted. The Auction will proceed whether or not access is provided.

Is the property occupied?

We typically do not know if the property is occupied. You can sometimes learn this information on the day of the sale at the property.

If the property is occupied, who deals with the occupants?

The purchaser at the Auction is responsible for any occupants who reside in the premises. You will need to bring an eviction action if the occupants do not move voluntarily.

How can I get keys?

In almost every case, the foreclosing lender does not have the keys to the property. You will need to arrange the surrender of the premises and the keys from the occupant. If the occupant does not move voluntarily it will be your responsibility to bring an eviction action and change the lock after you obtain lawful possession of the premises.

What if I can’t close in 30 days?

The Memorandum of Sale that you will have to sign on the day of the Auction usually provides that the balance of the amount bid is due in 30 days. It also contains a clause that time is of the essence. Any extension beyond the 30 day period is at the discretion of the foreclosing lender. If you fail to deliver the balance of the funds, your deposit will be forfeited.

Can you provide me with descriptive information regarding such things as when the house was built, how many rooms, how many units, style of house, etc.?

We do not usually know these types of details about a property. You are responsible for performing your own research. Some of this information may be found at the local assessor’s office, the Registry of Deeds or in some cases on-line. We cannot confirm the accuracy of any such information.

Where can I find the property address or legal description?

At the Registry of Deeds or Land Record office. This information is also in the Notice of Sale published in the newspaper for several weeks prior to the sale.

Can I buy the property before the auction?

Until the Auction is completed, the property belongs to the homeowner. You can purchase the property directly from the homeowner provided that he/she is willing to sell it to you. If you approach homeowners directly, we ask that you be respectful of their situation and their privacy. We recommend to homeowners who are approached that they consult with their own attorney prior to signing any agreements

Who owns the property?

We do not provide you with this information. There are public sources such as the Registry of Deeds where you can find this information.

How can I learn more about auctions?

There are many books on foreclosure auctions and there is a lot of information on-line. The best way to become familiar with auctions is to attend a few prior to bidding at an auction. We publish a two week auction schedule on this site.

Where does the bidding start?

When bidding is commenced, the Auctioneer will ask for an opening bid for the property. If no bids are received, the Auctioneer or lender may choose to enter a bid or adjourn the sale. If the lender enters a bid and no one else enters a higher bid, the lender will purchase the property for its opening bid. The lender has the same right as third parties to engage in competitive bidding.

Is the lender going to announce all of the liens?

The lender or its representative will announce whether it is foreclosing a first, second, third mortgage, etc. It will also announce if it knows that there is an IRS lien recorded against the property. However, the sale is without any warranties and it is the bidder’s responsibility to examine the title prior to bidding at the sale.

Is the property on town/city sewer or septic?

The potential bidder should ascertain this prior to attending the Auction. No information will be provided.

Where is the closing held?

The Memorandum of Sale usually provides that the closing is to take place at the law office which represented the lender in the foreclosure. The closing consists of an exchange of foreclosure documents for the balance due of the amount bid. The lender will not execute any of the typical documents that are found in a conventional closing transaction other than the HUD-1. The only information that should appear on the HUD-1 on the Seller’s side is the balance due of the amount bid.

What about adjustments for deed stamps, real estate taxes, water and sewer taxes, condominium fees, etc.?

These items are all the responsibility of the successful bidder.

When can I get the appraiser in?

Unless the homeowner is willing to provide you with access, you will not be able to get an interior property appraisal prior to the closing.

How do I insure the property?

The Memorandum of Sale provides that the purchaser bears the risk of loss between the Auction date and the date of the closing. We cannot advise you other than to say if you are the successful bidder you will have an insurable interest in the property after the sale. This is demonstrated by the Memorandum of Sale which you will sign. You should provide a copy of this document to your insurance agent.

Who gets rid of the junk car in the driveway?

Any personal property left at the property is the responsibility of the purchaser. It should be removed lawfully and disposed of in the same manner.

How can I obtain a list of your auctions?

All of our scheduled auctions appear on our web site. Please check it frequently as it changes daily. You can also call our auction schedule line at (617) 964-1282 after 5:00pm Monday thru Friday to obtain listings of  next day's scheduled sales.  Please note that we continuously update our website to reflect auctions that have been continued or cancelled as they occur throughout the day

How much is the property worth?

We do not provide opinions of value. You will need to do your own research, attend the auction, register to bid and bid based upon what you believe the property is worth.

If the lender buys the property, whom can I contact to make an offer to buy it?

Neither the auctioneer nor the law office will have this information. Typically, the foreclosing lender will make arrangements with a local real estate office that will handle the property listing. You can contact local brokers or wait until the property is listed for sale.

How do IRS liens impact me if I purchase a property at an auction?

If we know about the lien, we will announce it at the sale. If you purchase a property at foreclosure that has an IRS lien, your purchase is subject to a 120 day right of redemption by the IRS. This means that, if the IRS notifies you within 120 days of the sale, it can pay you the amount that you paid for the property and you must transfer the property to it.

Who is responsible for back condominium fees?

The successful bidder is responsible for paying any outstanding condominium fees. If we were told the amount of these fees, we will announce the amount that we were told was owed at the sale. We cannot guaranty the accuracy of these figures. You will be responsible for all of the outstanding condominium fees whether there is an announcement or not.

Will the law office provide title insurance?

No. The law office represents the foreclosing lender’s interest. It cannot also represent the purchaser’s interest in the transaction. You must perform your own title research and if you want title insurance you should contact your own attorney or a title company.

Is there a redemption period after the sale?

The only redemption period is for the Internal Revenue Service, which has a 120-day right of redemption if it had a properly recorded notice of a federal tax lien subsequent to the recorded mortgage.

Who gets the extra money if the winning bid is more than the lender is owed?

Any moneys that exceed the foreclosing lender's total indebtedness, including advances and expenses, will go to junior lienholders of record, if any, in the order of priority. If there is money left over after payment to the junior lienholders, or if there are no junior lienholders, the money will be distributed to the previous owner of record. If there is a dispute or uncertainty concerning where the moneys should be paid, the lender may commence an interpleader action and deposit the funds into the court.