For those who were on vacation last week and are interested in trustee sales, we did an informative trilogy with Adam Rappoport.  Click here to start at the beginning, and scroll up from there – and read the comments, Adam was very candid in responding numerous times!


At first glance it would seem crazy to take the additional risks when buying at the court house steps, and once you consider Adam’s thoughts, they might convince you further!

But here are the reasons you should consider buying at the trustee sales:

1.  Less competition. 

Adam and the other flippers are competing intensely over the cheaper homes they can turn and burn.  For those who want to buy a house over $600,000, the competition thins out quickly – those properties are more risky for flippers, and most buyers don’t have the cash or guts to purchase off the ‘steps.

2.  More selection.

On the MLS there are only 1,311 active detached listings of detached homes between Carlsbad and La Jolla.  On there are 3,951 properties in the same area (567 SFRs on the auction list, and another 3,384 on the NOD list). 

3.  No listing-agent involvement.

The listing agents are running interference for the sellers.  The pricing is all over the map, they’re reluctant to provide any real help, and they leave the bidding open for days or weeks.  As a result, you don’t know anything about the competition, if any.  At the trustee sale, if there is competition, you’re looking them in the eye, and can walk away as a homeowner.

4. All homebuying is risky.

The risk seems more alarming when you hear that you aren’t guaranteed a tour or inspection of the house, and there could be undiscovered liens.  A regular transaction has safeguards, but all houses are sold “as-is” without warranty – the only difference is that you’d have more people to sue if something went wrong on a regular sale.


As you’ve seen here I’ve been working on my own trustee-sale program for clients, where I help find the right properties, navigate the inspection/lien concerns, and help arrange for bridge financing.

I am being very deliberate in putting this together, and it’s coming along nicely.  We are going to attempt 1-2 in December, and use video to help document the process so you can see how it works.

If you are in the $600,000+ price range and have at least 30% down payment (with a maximum loan amount of $697,500), then contact me for more details if you’d like to consider buying a house at the trustee sales!

If you think it sounds too risky, no problem, it is. 

I don’t mind battling it out with you for those regular sales, and I think that’ll still be my primary service provided.  But the activity doesn’t appear to be waning for the “quality” properties.  Here’s a short-sale listing that looks fairly plain-jane in the photos:

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