My First Auction on The Court House Steps ~ Not What I was Expecting

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Real Estate Agent with MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542 BRE 01235311

 Your Lake Arrowhead Realtor would like to share some local Lake Arrowhead Information with you

Have you ever gone to an auction for real estate property?  I hadn't either until yesterday. And I gotta tell you,  it was NOT what I was expecting.

My son, Jason, and his wife, Colleen, wanted to go to an auction in hopes of bidding on the property next door to theirs that was on the "block." They did their homework: checked to make sure taxes were paid up and also that the title would be clear. All they had to do was bring a cashiers check.

We arrived, headed into the courthouse (after going through the metal detector, etc) and asked a clerk where to go. "Back outside and to the right," we were told. I was expecting a real "professional" set up: Podium and a guy or gal standing behind it with a gavel in their hand.... Ah, NO, that was not the case.

Over on the patchy, damp grass under a very old pine tree, was a dude sporting a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, sitting in a lawn chair (fancy one, I might add) that had a arm table that popped up & with his crazy looking laptop on his lap. He started shouting out properties that were being canceled or had been given a new date.

Thankfully, the property my kids were interested in came up right away. The auctioneer (is that what he was?) called it out. Too much money! We left.

The experience was a good one, as I had no idea what to expect; accept I was thinking it would be slightly more "auction-ish." 

Just goes to show that we should always expect the unexpected!

P.S.  I did NOT take pictures... that was not a place where you go snapping shots of people (or you might be shot at!)

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California San Bernardino County Lake Arrowhead
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Lake Arrowhead ~ Southern California Mountain Resort
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auctions for real estate
san bernardino county courthouse
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Rainmaker
1,780,612
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Kat...buying foreclosed properties at auction can be very risky also if you are not well informed.  It is not done very often in Minnesota as the owner has a redemption period of 6 months to a year.

Sep 09, 2010 09:05 PM #1
Rainmaker
961,144
Georgie Hunter
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It sounds a lot like over here.... most properties get cancelled or a new date.  Things just keep dragging on.  

Sep 09, 2010 09:07 PM #2
Rainmaker
329,854
Sharon Lord
Argent Décor - Phoenix, AZ
Argent Décor - AZ Vacation Home Furnishing Service

Kat - thanks for sharing!  My dad wants to go to pick up a home "on the cheap" but I'm afraid.....  I, too, was picturing at least a guy in a tie with a gavel....ha!

Sep 09, 2010 09:07 PM #3
Ambassador
577,231
Kat DeLong
MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542 - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (

William: it is done here all the time.  I actually had my title rep do some digging before we even hopped in the car...

Georgina: Most were cancelled.  But the one we went for, had already went up for auction last Nov and wasn't taken.  The sellers RUINED this place. Took sledge hammers to floors, counter and ALL windows.

Sharon;  you can get a deal for sure.  Just do your homework first.

Sep 09, 2010 09:18 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,758,383
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC, e-PRO

Kat

Sometimes the sales are not very professional as you found out.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Sep 09, 2010 09:22 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,070,410
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Kat ~  I have never been to one of these auctions either.. Maybe I should check it out sometime.  The only auction I recall is one in San Francisco for some condos on the ocean... the day was sunny instead of the usual fog... and they were selling like crazy... I think some folks were surprised when the fog returned!

Sep 09, 2010 09:54 PM #6
Rainmaker
427,069
Jim Patton
Century 21 M&M - 209-633-2839 - Turlock, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor.

Kat - I have been wanting to go to one too, here in the valley we have quite a few of them.   I also noticed that you are a CDPE, as am I.  Do you think that was money and time well spent?

Sep 09, 2010 09:55 PM #7
Ambassador
577,231
Kat DeLong
MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542 - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (

Lou: so so true.

Joan: I BET they were!

Jim: No, I don't think the money into my CDPE was worth it. Not at all.  How do you feel about it?  BYW; I have tons of family in Modesto and Hughson...

Sep 09, 2010 10:05 PM #8
Rainmaker
247,983
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Kat!
Hmmm...they always tell me that they are going to the courthouse steps...but maybe that is an exaggeration...I am going to have to check it out some time, just to get an education myself!

Sep 09, 2010 11:20 PM #9
Ambassador
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Kat DeLong
MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542 - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (

Paula; Steps there were... but the auction wasn't on them.  :-)   You really need to go check out one sometime.

Sep 10, 2010 04:04 AM #10
Rainmaker
699,923
Sharon Paxson
HÔM Sotheby's International Realty, BRE License 01501912 - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate - HOM Sotheby's Int'l Re

Hi Kat - that sounds like an interesting experience. I may have go to check one out sometime.

Sep 10, 2010 12:01 PM #13
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Kat DeLong
MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542 - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (

Sharon.... I think everyone needs to attend one of these, at least once. :-)

Sep 10, 2010 06:50 PM #14
Rainmaker
598,882
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Kat - I too attended an auction once.  It was at the courthouse but not the steps; in was in a little room.  When we walked in, there were a bunch of "suits" standing around talking and there was a table up front with a notebook on it with all the properties to be "auctioned" off that day.

As we went through the book looking for the one we wanted to bid on, we noticed a lot of the properties pages had big red X's on them and those were the ones that were "off the block".  Then a guy came through a side door and picked up the notebook and started rattling auctioning off the available properties.  We soon discovered that the "suits" were just a bunch of bank reps buying their own properties, which we found kind of odd.

Needless to say, we left empty handed.  All the way home we talked about how that was NOT what we were expecting.  That was a few years ago and it may be a little different now (at least here in Los Angeles county) but my advice to anyone planning to purchase at auction:  have lots of cash available because you are competing with banks and and attorneys and/or negotiators for either large real estate investment companies or professional real estate investors.  JMHO

Sep 13, 2010 02:23 PM #15
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Kat DeLong
MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542 - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (

Donne:  Thanks for sharing! I, too, had heard about "suits" coming and possibly loading up on propeties. BUT why their own?  Isn't that creepy?    The stuff we learn in real estate. Yikes!

Sep 13, 2010 05:42 PM #16
Rainmaker
598,882
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Kat - We too thought it seemed kind of wierd that bank reps seemed to buying their own properties but then I don't recall seeing any payments exchanging hands either.  There were a couple of "suits" that were actually attorneys (I think?) for r.e. investment companies.

Sep 13, 2010 10:09 PM #17
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Kat DeLong

Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (
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