Calling the trustee is an important step in pursuing any pre-foreclosure or auction property, but it's not always the easiest or most enjoyable step because many trustees are not geared toward providing information to the general public.
A phone call to the trustee is important because it will help you confirm a property's status before you spend time and effort contacting the owner in pre-foreclosure, or drafting a cashier's check for the auction. But calling trustees can sometimes be frustrating and intimidating for a variety of reasons, including automated sales lines that don't recognize the trustee sale number you enter, or trustee representatives who don't have a lot of time or desire to answer your questions. But it's usually possible to get the information you need from the trustee if you follow these tips:
Make sure you have the trustee sale number (also called the trustee reference number), owner name and property address before you call. The trustee may request one or all of these.
Note: if any of the above information is missing, use the history of notices to try to find it. And still call the trustee even if you don't have all the information.
Be to the point
Don't give a longwinded explanation to the person who answers the phone. Simply say something like, "I'd like to check the status of a property in foreclosure." Trustees tend to respond better when you communicate that you know exactly what you're looking for and don't want to take up a lot of their valuable time.
Stay polite even if a trustee doesn't seem eager to respond to your query (keep in mind they are limited in the amount of information they can legally divulge). If they ask for your interest in the property, just respond that you're a third party interested in possibly purchasing the property.
You may be transferred to several different people or even given several different numbers to call before you find the information you need.
Note: the trustee phone number is from public records, but it might not always be the direct number to the department that handles foreclosures.