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Old 11-04-2005, 11:10 AM
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Lightbulb A real estate flipper at the first foreclosure sale

"Know all men by these presents." It sounds like the kind of thing that should get said at a sheriff's sale, but I don't think anybody actually said it. In fact, the whole atmosphere of my first sheriff's sale I went to one in Union County, N.J. was remarkably informal.

When I was real estate editor at the New York Post I cautioned my readers against buying any foreclosed home because it's a box of chocolates you never know what you're getting. The average Joe can't handle surprises, but I thought maybe I could, and I had my eye on a house in Plainfield that I had seen listed in the local paper. I'd sauntered by the house in that way that two bus rides and a half-mile on foot is a saunter and thought that the outside, at least, looked remarkably well kept.

Union County (which includes Roselle Park and Elizabeth as well as Plainfield) is busy enough that there's a sale every Wednesday. My partners wanted me to go and learn the lay of the land, although they hadn't authorized me to bid. "These people are your competitors," Ken had warned me. "Stay under the radar."

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Alison Rogers
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