Commercial Loans Blog

(Almost) No One Ever Bids at Forclosure Sales

Posted by George Blackburne on Sun, Apr 3, 2011

Keep This in Mind When You Invest in Trust Deeds

trust deedWhen a trustee holds a Trustee's Sale (foreclosure sale) or when a sheriff holds a Sheriff's Sale, the reality is that almost no one ever bids at these sales. Even if a lender is entering a credit bid of just $600,000 on a property clearly worth $1 million, 95% of the time no one else will bid more than $600,000. I have been the owner of Blackburne & Sons, a hard money lender, for over 30 years, and I think we have been outbid at just two foreclosure sales.

So why doesn't anyone bid at these sales? The biggest reason is that bidders have to bid all-cash. In other words, a bidder would have to bring a cashier's check to the foreclosure sale of $600,000. Who has that kind of cash?

Another reason is that the bidder takes the risk that there may be some title issues or easement issues. In a normal sale, the buyer gets title insurance to indemnify himself against these risks.

Lastly, a great many foreclosure sales get delayed at the last moment. After painstakingly investigating title and after raising a whopping $600,000 in cash (cashier's check), the bidder will frequently have to wait around for a sale that gets postponed time and time again. It's so discouraging that most potential bidders just give up.

There is an exception to this general rule. If the property being foreclosed is an inexpensive home - a deal where the bidder would only have to raise $50,000 to $100,000 in cash - it would not be surprising to see one or two bidders competing to buy the property.


This is not an offer to sell first mortgage investments. An offer is made only through an Offering Circular. Investing in first trust deeds and first mortgages involves substantial risk. Please be sure to carefully review the Risk Factors section of the Offering Circular before investing. A substantial and prolonged decline in real estate value is possible.


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Topics: trust deed, trust deed investment, first mortgage, first mortgage investment, first trust deed, first trust deed investment, investing in mortgages, mortgage investment, foreclosure sale, Sheriff's sale, trustee's sale