There is not "bidding process" per se on a pre-foreclosure. As a matter of fact, just because a home is in pre-foreclosure, does not mean that it is for sale.
A pre-foreclosure simply means that the owner of the property has fallen behind in his payments and the bank has filed a notice of default (NOD) as the first step in their collection process. Some home owners will either pay their mortgage current or work out a payment plan with their lender. Other home owners will list their property with a realtor and sell it in the same manner as a non-NOD property. Some home owners will wait too long and the bank will auction off their home at the Trustee Sale. And yet other home owners will realize early on that their home is worth a lot less than they owe and will allow the lender to foreclose on them.
There is only a small percentage that will not fall into any of these categories. In that case, you need to contact the home owner directly and convince them that they should sell the home to you. A couple of years ago there were thousands of investors doing exactly this. However with falling prices and diminishing equity in properties in Riverside, there are fewer and fewer investors playing in that market. This might open the door for someone like you who wants to buy, however, there are many pitfalls to buying in the pre-foreclosure stage. If you want to play in this area, you will want to find a realtor who understands the process well and can steer you away from the bad deals. I have worked in the pre-foreclosure market since early 2004, have posted on this topic before and would be happy to share my experience with you if you like. I can, perhaps, help you develop a list of questions to ask the realtors you interview, to make sure they truly have experience in this area.
Best of luck in finding the home of your dreams and Dare to Dream.
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty