It's much better to wait until the property is on the market, you have an opportunity to thoroughly inspect it, purchase title insurance and have at least a possibility of recourse against the seller if something has gone wrong.
My question is how close is this process to complete? Let's say I had done all of this for a listing and there was no outstanding mortgage and there were recorded tax and utility liens but no IRS liens. If I went and bid on the property for the amount of the outstanding liens, would I be in for any surprises?
Also, I had heard that a lot of times the amount listed on the sheriff sale is not the amount the bidding starts at. For the example I used, would the bidding start at the $5,872 + whatever was left on the mortgage + any other outstanding liens?
I know in this example, the bank will probably come purchase this property, but what if there was no mortgage, just other liens, but no one bid?