Purchasing a property at a trustee sale, or auction, represents one of the best ways for sophisticated investors to acquire equity in real estate. In this article we will discuss what to look for when using a bidding service to assist you in purchasing a property.
To begin, trustee sale auctions happen every weekday, and most are held at the steps of the County Courthouse. Some are held outside the offices of the Trustee.
Many who choose to purchase a trustee sale opt to go with a bidding service. The reason being is that there is a massive amount of data to sift through, and allowing a bidding service to perform the preliminary market research can save you a lot of time. This market research usually highlights the properties with the most potential for return on investment.
The tips below should help you get acquainted with choosing a bidding service that meets your needs, and makes you feel more comfortable with making a purchase at a Trustee Sale.
- Choose a service that updates its list daily
Auctions are dynamic. You may want to bid on a property that is a great deal right now, only to find a few hours later it has been postponed. Similarly, you may find a property that was a bad deal an hour ago, but now the opening bid dropped to make it a profitable property. On the flip side, the reverse may happen and the bid may jump. Jump bids are tricky in that they can jump a little and the property can still be profitable, or it may jump up a ridiculous amount making it much less enticing. Having an up-to-date list is key in making smart bidding decisions.
- Choose a service that notifies you of drop/jump bids
This tip compliments the one above it. A drop bid is when a trustee releases/lowers the opening bid amount for a property a short time before the auctioning of it. Conversely, a jump bid is when a trustee raises the opening bid amount for the property a short time before the auction. The key thing to note is to make sure your bidding company notifies you of the jump/drop bids, if and only if, they are for profitable properties. You only want to receive notifications for the profitable properties. There are a lot of properties that get auctioned off in a day and a lot of information to sift through. Would you really want to be notified about a drop bid for a property that you would loose $200K on? But if you could make $200K on a property that just got a drop bid, you definitely want to be notified. This goes hand-in-hand with having an up-to-date auction list.
- Take your time
Auctions happen everyday, Monday – Friday, excluding holidays. You can find great deals almost everyday. Make sure you take the time and find a property that you feel comfortable purchasing. The advantage of purchasing at auction over a traditional home purchase is that you can own the property by the next business day. On the flip side though, you need hard money to purchase a property at auction, although many who purchase do go through a hard money lender. Take your time though, it is a lot of money to invest, and when you do make a purchase you should feel secure and happy that you made the right decision. Never let a bidder pressure you.
- Make sure you can get a hold of your bidding company
Let’s say you find a great deal last minute you want to bid on; you want to make sure you can get a hold of your bidding service. If you change your mind last minute about bidding on a property; you want to make sure you can get a hold of your bidding service. Bottom line, choose a respectable, responsible, and responsive bidding company.
- Always verify the research yourself.
This is most likely the most important tip of all. There is no doubt you can find some great deals at a trustee sale. However, when reviewing an auction list provided to you make sure you double-check the profit margins and verify the math yourself for every property you plan to bid on. Also, be sure to view the property before purchasing it. Seeing the property for yourself is the best route to go, however, it is not always the most feasible. There are many ways to view a property, Google maps, recent photos, or contacting a Realtor to show you the property.