Are there realtors who specialize in trustee sales and who accompany their client to the sale on the court steps?

Asked by Sia Torani, San Jose, CA Sun Dec 2, 2012

I would like to purchase a home at a trustee sale and have researched the deed but need someone with experience to accompany to the sale. Are there realtors or attorneys that do such for a fee?

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Marcy Moyer, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Sun Dec 2, 2012
Great question. So as you are probably aware, you need to go to the court house for the auction prepared to pay all cash and you must be able to pay off all the liens on the property. Many of the homes that have trustee sale dates do not actually go to auction. The owner can postpone the trustee sale by starting a loan modification or a short sale or by declaring bankruptcy. The bank can postpone the trustee for any reason.
If a home gets to auction and is actually worth more than what is owed (which is very rare because if it was, the seller could just sell the home and pocket the profit.) then the auction process is pretty straight forward. The minimum bid is set by how much is owed to the first lender. the second lender has the option of paying off the first lender and if they are not interested in doing that, the bid is open to the public who must also pay off the other liens or out bid the second lender.
It is a very good idea to hire a realtor to help you through this process to make sure you know what you are doing and what the potential problems can be. Since you can not go inside the house when you make the bid it is always a gamble, but sometimes one that pays off.
You should hire a realtor who is familiar with distressed properties as well as the local market.

Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty
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2 votes
Thank you, Marcy. Would you or anyone you know be interested in representing?
Flag Sun Dec 2, 2012
Rob Reynolds, Agent, Redwood City, CA
Fri Apr 12, 2013
Hello Sia,
Yes, there are Realtors who accompany clients to the Trustee sale. I have been doing that for the last 3-4 years. I typically get my clients 20-30% cash on cash return. I only specialize in San Mateo County. If you would like to learn more please feel free to call me. 650-465-1935. Good Luck. Rob Reynolds Re/Max Star Properties.
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sun Dec 2, 2012
First, as pointed out, you will need all cash. You will also be competing against veteran investors who do this all the time, you can't do inspections, and there are often clouds on title that can or cannot be fixed.

Assuming you are ok with all that, if you want an agent/broker to help you than you will also have to pay them out of pocket because there is no agent commission in this type of sale. Also, many agents/brokers (myself included) don't do this to avoid liability on properties that have unresolvable issues.
0 votes
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sun Dec 2, 2012
Out here in Washington state there are companies that research the properties that are going to auction each week to determine how many liens are on the property and so on. They have different people for different counties. They have meetings the night before the auctions which anyone can attend and some of them are licensed real estate agents. They also have lenders to assist you in the purchase if you don't have all cash which is required at the auctions. I don't know about California but I'm sure that they have companies like these as well. And yes these companies do charge you a fee if you use them. It is usually a percentage of the purchase price or the tax assessed value. I would call around to some local real estate agents and ask them if they know any of these companies that can help. Good Luck.
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