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My First Trustee Sale / Foreclosure Auction Results

Trustee sale / foreclosure auction at the courthouse steps

A cold rainy day at the courthouse steps in downtown Sacramento. The gloominess is a perfect setup for the foreclosure auction of my Larchmont house. At the same time there was a nice freshness in the air and I felt a little bit of excitement/anticipation.

At the trustee sale / foreclosure auction

A small crowd gathered around the “auctioneer” listening for different houses being announced.

The auctioneer doing his thing

This is one laid-back auctioneer with a cool hat. No fast talk from this guy. Using the trashcan as a podium – classic! (People’s faces blurred to protect privacy. I took this shot with my phone’s camera to be more discreet.)

Funny thing is that when I got there I thought maybe some of the “fans” might show up. Well, actually one of the people who tried to buy Larchmont during the short sale was there. He is the guy who offered 220k but the bank wasn’t willing to go down that low on a short sale at that point. My agent eventually got the bank to accept that price (as long as I sign a 50K note) but the buyer got tired of waiting and moved on.

He has been reading my blog too. He saw a newspaper article about me shortly after he made that short sale offer and has been following my blog since. We exchanged business cards and talked about business for a bit. He was at the sale to checkup on another house and ended up leaving the auction early. He wasn’t interested in my house anymore.

Aside form that I didn’t see anybody I know. The crowd was pretty small and I decided not to video tape. I wasn’t sure if that’s allowed and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for permission. I guess I just didn’t feel like making a big scene at my own foreclosure auction, you know. I just wanted to watch and go. So as you can see I took some discreet pictures instead.

This was very educational. The sale lasted a little over an hour and there were two fifteen minute breaks. People seems pretty friendly though most kept to themselves.

It wasn’t too exciting because about half of the sales were rescheduled due to bankruptcy. When the auctioneer made it down the list to a house that was available for bidding he would announce the auction number, trustee company name, property address, APN numbers, and name of the owner and the opening bid. Then he would say “anybody interested?”. When nobody said anything he would say “Back to the bank it goes” in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.

Then we finally saw some action. One of the houses was announced and three people stepped forward, one by one, each with an open envelope in hand. They took turns flashing their envelopes to the auctioneer, opening the envelope slightly just enough for the auctioneer to glance at the paper inside. I assumed they were showing him the amount on their cashier’s checks. I was told they do it secretly like that so that the other bidders don’t see how much money they came with.

After that the bidding started. The laid-back auctioneer talked slowly in a bored tone of voice 216,000… going once… 216,100… anybody else… 216,150… going once… 216,300… One of the 3 dropped out right away and the two people who were left kept inching up 50 to 100 dollars at a time. The two of them stood on both sides of the auctioneer so close that they were whispering the bids into his year. A couple of people in the crowd got excited and cheered them on a little. I guess I wasn’t the only one who was waiting for some “action at the auction”. The bidding only went for maybe 5-7 rounds and it sold for a little over 217. A break followed to finalize the sale.

Finally after much anticipation my house was up last. I heard my name and address announced loud and clear. I was surprised to see that the opening bid was only 216,000. Remember the foreclosure letter indicated the started bid of 280,000.

“Anybody interested in this one?” said the auctioneer in his bored tone of voice again. Silence. “Back to the bank it goes”. That’s a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot today. (It’s now stuck in my head). “That’s it” he said and abruptly turned to walk back inside the building. The crowd quickly dissipated.

Larchmont property no more. This is my second foreclosure, after the Dallas house got foreclosed several months ago by the hard money lender. This was my first experienced visiting a foreclosure auction.

I feel a slight sense of relief. One less house to worry about. Now just memories. This was my biggest cash-back at close and the worst deal as far as numbers go. I’m going to have to write the full background story on this deal soon, including why I bought it, and what my plan was (or the lack thereof).

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