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Frequently Asked Questions

Finding Properties for Auction

Where can I find a list of properties going to auction?

All properties that are scheduled for sale are displayed on USA-Foreclosure.com. You may also access this site using the “Properties for Auction” links at the top of this page.

What is a TSG?

TSG stands for Trustee’s Sale Guarantee, which is a title product that discloses information about the title. You may order a TSG for any of our properties through the USA-Foreclosure.com website by visiting a specific property for sale. We typically purchase one for our use in the foreclosure process. Title agents prepare and sell TSG’s. Only we may rely upon the accuracy of the report. See more information about the role of title agents below under "Learning more about the condition of title".

Learning more about the condition of the property

How do I look at the interior of a house before the sale?

We are unable to give authorization to inspect the property, inside or outside. If you are the successful bidder at the auction and thereafter receive a trustee’s deed to the property, you are the owner and would probably have the right to access at some point after the foreclosure sale. Be aware, though, that each state allows property occupants to remain in sole possession of the property for a set number of days after a foreclosure sale. You should consult your own legal counsel to determine when or if you may enter and take possession of a foreclosed property. If the property reverts to the foreclosing lender at the foreclosures sale, then most likely it will soon be marketed by brokers for the foreclosing lender.

How may I contact the lender or property owner?

We are unable to provide you with the owner information. Lenders do not usually discuss pre-foreclosure options with third parties.

Learning more about the condition of title

How can I tell the condition of title before the foreclosure sale? I don’t want to purchase a property with a bunch of liens on it.

Purchasing a preliminary commitment for issuance of an owner’s policy of title insurance (“Preliminary Commitment”) is a good idea. The Preliminary Commitment tells you about the condition of title prior to the sale and provides insurance against certain title defects after the sale if you convert the Preliminary Commitment to an owner’s policy of title insurance (“Owner’s Policy”). Keep in mind that properties purchased at foreclosure sale are sold without any warranty or assurance that you are getting clear title. If a lien or encumbrance survives the trustee’s sale, it is your responsibility to resolve it.

I am interested in a property scheduled for sale. How can I obtain more information such as original date of deed and loan amount?

Consider purchasing a Preliminary Commitment, which will provide record title details about the deed of trust and property being foreclosed. Additionally, you can go to the county recorder’s office for copies of all recorded documents referencing the property. Tax assessment information can also be obtained from the county.

Title Policies: the Trustee’s Sale Guarantee (TSG), the Preliminary Commitment and the Owner’s Title Policy

Do I need to buy Preliminary Commitment or an Owner’s Policy?

Purchasing title insurance products before bidding for a property at a foreclosure sale is not required by law. But bidding at a trustee’s sale without knowing the condition of a property’s title would not be wise. Therefore, we strongly urge all potential bidders to purchase, at the very least, a Preliminary Commitment from a licensed title agency to properly evaluate the condition of title and to reduce the risk of title-related problems. In addition, we strongly urge the successful bidder at a foreclosure sale to convert his Preliminary Commitment into an Owner’s Policy. Only an Owner’s Policy will give the purchaser insurance or indemnity rights against the title company if the information stated in the Preliminary Commitment or Owner’s Policy is wrong.

What type of information does a Preliminary Commitment contain?

The Preliminary Commitment is a title report. It typically contains information from the original deed of trust such as the legal description of the property, name of the trustee, original loan amount, date it was approved, date it was recorded, name of the grantor and liens and encumbrances against the property. Preliminary Commitments often will contain tax status information, too.

Can I purchase a Preliminary Commitment or Owner’s Policy through Northwest Trustee Services, Inc.?

No. We do not sell title insurance products.

Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. does make available a property information package. The package includes a copy of the TSG we purchased from a title insurer. However, you should not rely upon that TSG (or any Preliminary Commitment, title policy or title report where you are not the named insured). The information contained in our TSG is generally current up to and including the recording of the recording of the Notice of Trustee’s Sale. Periodically, during and after the foreclosure process, we order updates to the TSG for our internal use.

Can I see a sample of a TSG report and Preliminary Commitment?

Of course. Click here to see examples.

How can I tell if the property going for sale is a first or a second mortgage?

Purchase a Preliminary Commitment. We cannot represent, warrant or guarantee the priority position or seniority of any lien or encumbrance against title.

When did the borrower go into default, what were the terms, and how much is owed on the property?

We are unable to supply you with that information. Purchasing a Preliminary Commitment or researching the county records is a good way to collect some of this information.

Auction Information

What time does the auction start?

The time for sale is set forth in the foreclosure notices. The time for each sale is also posted on USA-Foreclosure.com. Note that sales are frequently postponed to a later date and time. You must be present to learn of any possible postponements. Additionally, USA-Foreclosure.com also displays updates concerning postponements, and you may sign up for free e-mail updates on the property’s sale status.

Where does the auction take place?

Sales are conducted in a public place in the county where the property is located. In most counties, sales are conducted at the courthouse. That is not the case in every county, though, most notably King County in Washington. Read the sale documents carefully to verify the time, date, and place of sale. This information is also posted on USA-Foreclosure.com.

Bidding Requirements and Process

If my property is to be sold and I have a buyer who wants to buy my property, can I stop the auction?

Maybe. You should immediately contact our foreclosure analyst assigned to your file and ask the analyst to contact the lender to request a postponement of the foreclosure sale. In these situations, the lender is more apt to consider granting a postponement if you provide the analyst a copy of the earnest money agreement, showing no outstanding contingencies, a purchase price that will pay the foreclosing lender in full and a closing date that is rapidly approaching. Even if you take these steps, however, please understand that granting a postponement may not be automatic and the foreclosing lender may still decline to grant a postponement. If a postponement is not granted under these circumstances, you should consult legal counsel immediately to determine your available legal remedies and options.

How do I buy the property before it goes for sale?

Prior to the foreclosure auction only the property owner can sell the property. You must make purchase arrangements directly with the owner.

I have arranged to purchase the property from the owner. Can you postpone the auction to give us time to finalize the purchase?

Maybe. These types of decisions are referred to the foreclosing lender. They may or may not agree to grant a postponement.

Purchasing the property prior to the auction.

How do I buy property that has reverted to the foreclosing lender?

You can call the foreclosing lender and ask for the REO Department. Typically, the mortgage companies have a network of realtors that list the property. It may be necessary to wait until the property is listed to submit your offer.

If I purchase the property at auction, will the deed to the house be a good deed?

The winning bidder at auction receives title through a trustee’s deed. Any purchaser at a non-judicial foreclosure auction should seek independent legal advice concerning the legal effect of the trustee’s deed and the survival of liens and encumbrances after the trustee’s sale.

I was the successful bidder at an auction. How many days do I need to give the foreclosed party to exit the premises?

It depends upon the state. You should seek independent legal advice concerning your rights to possession of the property after the trustee’s sale. Regardless of the state, we do not recommend that you attempt to take possession of the property before the law allows.

What happens if I’m the successful bidder, but the occupant refuses to leave the property?

You should consult a lawyer. You might need to pursue an eviction.