Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy trustees generally must obtain court approval to sell assets of the bankruptcy estate, which requires the trustee to notify interested parties of the proposed sale. See 11 U.S.C. § 363. Typically, the trustee is not required to notify the general public of the bankruptcy sale. Bankruptcy trustees are prohibited, by law, from purchasing assets from any bankruptcy estate, and if the trustee proposes to sell to persons or entities related to the debtor or other interested parties, that relationship must be disclosed.

Bankruptcy trustees may opt to post assets on this website either prior to or after court approval of the intended sale. In some instances, the trustee's posting serves to inform buyers of the time, date, and location of an auction or other such sale, typically where court approval has already been given. In others, the trustee will solicit offers and then negotiate directly with the buyer whose offer is in the best interests of the estate, and then seek court approval of the sale on the agreed-upon terms. Because a sale must be in the best interests of the bankruptcy estate, a trustee may opt to make any sale subject to the receipt of better offers.

Most bankruptcy asset are sold "as is, where is," with no warranties, implied or stated. The trustee may place the onus on the buyer to remove and transfer personal property, or to evict the debtor or other occupant of real property. If there are any costs in the transfer of ownership, that cost is born by the buyer. Bankruptcy assets may be sold subject to any existing liens and encumbrances, or free and clear of liens and encumbrances. These are terms which must be negotiated between buyers and sellers. As with any sale, buyers are presumed to have done their own "due diligence" regarding the asset prior to bidding on that asset.

The parties will close the sale in a manner agreed to by them, which may involve a title company, escrow agent, or other third-party. However, many bankruptcy sales close without title insurance or the assistance of a title agency. In the case of real property, the buyer will typically receive a "trustee's deed" at the closing, and in the case of personal property, the buyer will typically receive a bill of sale.