Civil Unit – Sales or Real or Personal Property



The Sheriff’s Civil Unit conducts auctions as a means of satisfying an unpaid money judgment out of the sale of Real or Personal Property belonging to the Judgment Debtor. The sale process can also be used to enforce a lien against Real property under foreclosure.

Any person may bid on and purchase property at a Sheriff’s Sale with the exception of employees of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and their immediate family. Department employees may not have an interest in any purchase.

Prospective bidders should refer to the California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 701.510 through 701.680 for provisions governing the terms, conditions and effect of the sale as well as the liability of defaulting bidders.

The date, time and location are contained in the Notice of Sale along with a general description of the property to be sold. The Sheriff is selling the Judgment Debtor(s) right, title and interest in the property only. It is the responsibility of the potential buyer to conduct the appropriate research to ascertain the debtor’s interest in the property being sold.

The Sheriff makes no guaranty or warranty as to the condition or value of any item sold. All items are sold as is.

Sheriff’s sales are made at public auction to the highest bidder. Bidders must have cash, certified check or cashier’s check made out to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff with them at the time of the sale for the full amount of their bid or the deposit required for a credit bid pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure 701.590

Credit Bid

The successful bidder must immediately pay the Sheriff the following amount on a Credit bid:

Personal Property
Minimum Amount
Real Property
Minimum Amount
$2,500 or less
Full bid amount
$5,000 or less
Full bid amount
$2,501- $25,000
$25001 or over
$50001 or over

Creditor’s Bid

The Judgment Creditor may bid against all or part of their judgment, except that unpaid levy costs, preferred labor claims, exempt proceeds, and any other claim that is required by statute to be satisfied, shall be paid in cash or by certified check or cashier’s check.

You should call the Sheriff’s Civil Bureau the day prior to the sale to confirm that it has not been postponed or cancelled.

Sheriff’s sale of levied vehicles

A vehicle belonging to the defendant and in their possession may be levied upon and sold at public auction. Your instructions to the Sheriff must contain the make, year, license number and location of the vehicle. If the defendant has but one vehicle, he is entitled to an automatic $3325.00 exemption pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure 704.010(a). This means that the bidding starts at the $3325.00 exemption, plus monies owed to the lien holder and all costs incurred. If the minimum bid is not received, the vehicle must be returned to the defendant.

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