What Really Happens at the Maricopa County Public Auction?

It’s just another day at the steps of the Maricopa County Courthouse located at 201 W. Jefferson St. in Phoenix, AZ. The third session of the trustee sale also known as the public auction starts at 2 p.m. About a dozen investors wearing shorts, t-shirts, tennis shoes, flip flops and baseball caps gather around the youthful-looking auctioneer seated at the corner of the outdoor courtyard of the Maricopa County Courthouse building. For the first 20 minutes, the auctioneer announces any postponement or cancellations on 128 homes listed for auction at the 2 p.m. session. Two earlier sessions were conducted at 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

Once this is cleared, he opens the bid for each house on the list. A majority of the bidders are wholesale investors bidding for their company or bidding for a client. Out of 200 homes auctioned at the 10 a.m. and 12 noon sessions, eight of them actually sold. That would mean that 96% of the homes went back to the bank. The reason for the few sales is the high starting bids. Despite headlines of the slumping housing market and increased foreclosure rate, the banks still don’t get the idea.

There is an average of 400 homes listed for auction everyday and about 96% of them end up as REOs/bank-owned.

Below are FAQ about the Trustee Sale or Public Auction:

1. Where and when does the public auction take place?
Every weekday at the steps of the Maricopa County Courthouse, located at 201 W. Jefferson St. in Phoenix. There are three sessions held at 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m.

2. Who can bid at the public auction?
Anyone who has a $10,000 cashiers check is qualified to bid.

3. What if I win the bid?
Your $10,000 cashiers check will be withheld. The remaining balance is due no later than 5 p.m. the next business day. If you are not able to pay in full within the timeframe given, you will lose your $10,000 cashiers check and may be barred from future participation in the public auction.

4. What is the starting bid?
The bank decides what the starting bid is at a price they think is fair.

5. What should I do if I’m interested to bid in a public auction?

– Conduct a due diligence review on the property you would like to bid on. Do a drive-by of the property, conduct a CMA. Know as much as you can about the property you’re interested in. Postponement and cancellations are announced minutes prior to the auction. Check frequently on the most current status of the property of interest to you.
– Structure your financing through a hard money lender before hand (regular banks don’t loan for properties bought in a trustee sale).
– Plan your investment strategy before securing a loan. E.g., how much money do you have for repairs, what is your holding cost, maintenance cost, tax liabilities, etc.
– What is your exit strategy if things don’t go as planned?

6. Is this the best way to snatch up great deals?

In my opinion, buying an Bank-owned property is a better way to go. It is less complicated, easier and can offer you bigger savings. Once a home is bank-owned, banks are more desperate to get rid of the home because they have held the property for so long (at least nine months without seeing a penny). Also, according to mortgage financier Freddie Mac, the typical foreclosure cost is nearly $60,000. The banks lose around 20% to 25% of the loan’s value on a foreclosure. On top of this, REO (real estate owned) or bank-owned homes are available for showings unlike those homes in the public auction. As a buyer, you are able to see the condition of the home and also inspect the home prior to closing a deal. In a public auction, you buy the property site unseen without inspection in most cases. There is a bigger risk involved in purchasing homes at the trustee sale that may cost you sleepless nights.

7. If it’s too risky to purchase a home at a Trustee sale, why do investors do it?

A buyer can purchase a home quickly (within 48 hours) at a trustee sale. Whereas, it takes an average of 30 days for an REO or traditional real estate sale to close. If you do your research and due dilligence well, you’ll find some great deals at the public auction.

8. How do I learn more about the public auction process?

To view a brief YouTube video of a recent Maricopa County real estate auction, click here.

Maricopa County Trustee Sale

Maricopa County Trustee Sale

75 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen  |  January 13, 2009 at 11:28 pm


    Your article is very clear and to the point. It is nice to finally get a real answer on the REAL auction. Can you tell me how to get the list of properties coming up in the auction?

    Thank You.

    • 2. arizonabargainhomes  |  January 14, 2009 at 9:13 am

      Thank you for your comment. You may begin by checking out http://www.azforeclosurelist.com or by phone at 480.560.5757 or email azforeclosurelist@gmail.com. Ask for Jameson and be sure to pass on my name – Maria Hass. This company specializes in Maricopa County Public Auction. If you would like to look at bank-owned properties, short-sales or regular sales, I will be more than happy to assist you. Good luck! Let me know if you need anything else.

      Maria Hass

      • 3. Jorge kimzin  |  August 6, 2013 at 11:58 pm

        Hi Maria: I was reading the information on bank-owned properties, short sales. anyway very interested to learn how this auction works.Pl;ease let me know if you can assist me thank you.

    • 4. arizonabargainhomes  |  February 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm

      Hello Stephen,
      Arrange a hard money loan prior to the auction or pay cash for the remaining balance. As far as I know, FHA loan will not approve of this kind of a deal.
      If you need more help, call John Ray. His contact information is on the article.
      Good luck!

    • 5. arizonabargainhomes  |  February 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you for your comment. You may begin by checking out http://www.azforeclosurelist.com or by phone at 480.560.5757 or email azforeclosurelist@gmail.com. Ask for Jameson and be sure to pass on my name – Maria Hass. This company specializes in Maricopa County Public Auction. If you would like to look at bank-owned properties, short-sales or regular sales, I will be more than happy to assist you. Good luck! Let me know if you need anything else.

  • 6. LIZ HERRICK  |  February 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm


    • 7. Jonathan  |  October 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      Thanks for the explanation on the auction process. I have been looking for this for a while. For all Maricopa county auctions, the remainder of the funds are due the next day? I thought I heard you had two weeks. Also, any suggestions on finding hard money lenders?

      • 8. arizonabargainhomes  |  October 10, 2010 at 7:54 am

        Contact Jameson at 480.560.5757. Be sure to pass on my name – Maria Hass.

  • […] in Maricopa County By Travis Bohling Maria Hass, at Arizona Bargain Homes has a great posting about the auctions going on at the courthouse every day: What Really Happens at the Maricopa County […]

  • 10. Deborah  |  May 18, 2009 at 8:47 am

    your article was clear and to the point, interested in bank owned, how do I find these properties and what is the process before it gets to a realtor, thanks

  • 11. Sel Fruchthandler  |  July 17, 2009 at 11:02 am

    What do you think is the best way to get homes cheap? I have been working with a real estate broker and bought a couple of properties already. One property I bought at the end of 2007 for 256,000 and is now worth 172,000. the other one I bought 4 months ago so is obviously a better deal. About 90% of the houses that come up on the MLS searches that are sent to me automatically are ank owned. Originally i bought houses for rentals that have good future upside potential but am now thinking about flipping some to build up cash to buy more. Can you help me buy better?

  • 12. Ray Plato  |  November 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    There are some great deals to be found at the public auction but there are also some large risks. Without doing the proper research on a property, you could end up bidding on and winning an auction property that may have 2 liens on the property. If the seller was in 2nd position, you could end up the owner of a home that still has a large mortgage lien! You also need to be careful as a lien by the IRS that the property is attached to can be collected for up to six months after the auction. Is is strongly advised to have professional representation to minimize any risks that is associated with a trustee auction.

    Bank owned homes is certainly a safer alternative and you do have time to have a title insurance policy in place and professional inspections done prior to actually having to put cash on the line.

  • 13. julie  |  November 23, 2009 at 11:58 am

    i got a home trustte sale awesome deal had 10.000 cashier check but i also got pre qualified for loan.

  • 14. kathy cale  |  November 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    how should the cashier’s check be made out — as in payable to whom? to Cash?

    • 15. Jason Kindle  |  November 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

      I also have this question.

  • 16. Tara  |  March 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you for posting this. You answered all my questions in one shot. Very much appreciated.

    • 17. arizonabargainhomes  |  March 8, 2010 at 6:29 am

      You’re welcome. Let me know if you need anything else.


  • 18. Maricopa County Foreclosure Auction  |  March 26, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Excellent information here, thanks a lot. My husband and I have been considering purchasing our vacation home through trustee auction and have been reviewing the list of foreclosed homes over the last month. We can’t decide whether to hire a service to bid on the properties for us or actually try our hand down at the auction.

    • 19. arizonabargainhomes  |  March 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you. If you have a lot of time in your hands to do a thorough research on the property and don’t mind the frustration of being overbid by others, then you may venture into it. Otherwise, leave it to the pros. They will simplify things for you and manage your expectations. Bidding at the courthouse is more complicated than it looks. Good luck!

  • 20. Rebecca Bolin  |  May 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    What if I am a property owner of one of these auction sales that is schedule for today at noon and I have a short sale offer that was waiting for approval yet did not get it in time from the nogotionator so that this could be postponed. What do you suggest I do??? I do not want to foreclose!

  • 21. Becca  |  May 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    What if I am a property owner of one of these auction sales that is schedule for today at noon and I have a short sale offer that was waiting for approval yet did not get it in time from the nogotionator so that this could be postponed. What do you suggest I do??? Who do I contact? Several hours of phone calling has been made over the last few days trying to get some cooperation of postponement. I do not want to foreclose!

    • 22. arizonabargainhomes  |  May 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm


      Contact the office of the Trustee handling your home. Your Realtor should be able to access this information. Postponements can be done just minutes before the sale. Let me know how it turns out.


  • 23. Becca  |  May 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Trustee do you mean Bank of America they are my mortgage company and the lawyers that are auction saling the home is recontrust. We have done nothing but call both and gotten the run around. Bank of America said that the foreclosure dept tech has not reviewed the short sale offer and until they do, there would not be any postponement. Eventhough they knew the auction date is today at noon. I have done everything and called every number I could to try and stop this… No luck!

  • 24. David  |  August 23, 2010 at 12:36 am

    What if the bank clamed to be sending a restrucuring plan to stop a forclosere, but never fallowed throw. What can be done to stop or postpone a forclosure auction? If any thing.

    • 25. arizonabargainhomes  |  August 24, 2010 at 10:36 am

      I am not certain if you are referring to a loan modification as the restructuring plan. If it is, the lender may or may not stop the foreclosure. Contact a supervisor or the CEO of the bank if you really want to stay in your home ASAP. This is what I do with my short sales if I’m getting no where and it has given me results.

      I wish you the best.

  • 26. cynthia  |  September 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Chase Bank waited until 5pm Friday, sale date being monday 12 noon to notify me they are not giving me a modification. They left me no time to pursue other options/ Can anything be done at this point?

    • 27. arizonabargainhomes  |  September 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

      You may postpone the sale date a few minutes before schedule with the approval of your lender.

  • 28. diego  |  October 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Who do I make the $10000 cashier’s check payable to?

    • 29. arizonabargainhomes  |  October 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      If you are bidding for yourself, make the check out to your name. If you are hiring a bidding service to bid for you, make the check out to the bidding service. The bidding company will deposit your check in their trust account. Once you are a successful bidder on a property, the bidding company will release the check and remaining balance to follow to the Maricopa county.

      • 30. Jason Kindle  |  November 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

        I just came back from an auction in which i was prepared with a cashiers check made out for myself and it was rejected by the trustee. Says it must be made out to them. Any comment on this? Thanks!

      • 31. arizonabargainhomes  |  November 20, 2013 at 11:43 am

        In some instances, the trustee may require new bidders to make the check out to the county.

  • 32. erik anderson  |  October 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    how do i get a list of properties that are up for auction on any giving day? this would b in order to drive by and take a look at the exterior condition and neighborhood.

    • 33. arizonabargainhomes  |  October 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      You will have to contact any of the bidding companies. This is part of the service they provide. If you would like to do it on your own, you could go to the county to ask for a partial list and call the different trustee offices to get their partial list. It will take a lot of time, patience and commitment to get it done. Good luck!

  • 34. rosco  |  November 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Very good information, do you know of a bidding service that will send bid lists out day before auctions, would sign contract with bidding service.

    I have followed several home only for them to be cancelled, many banks do not know what they do own, are not willing to give any information on REO properties

    • 35. arizonabargainhomes  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      You may contact Jameson Van Ness of AZforeclosurelist.com at 480.560.5757 and ask about their service. If you need a hard money lender contact Les Gin at 602.882.8849. You may email me directly at MariaHassRealEstate@gmail.com if you need more assistance.

  • 36. fermin  |  July 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    On July 25,somebody ring my door bell and said that “can I take a look at your house,and I said “why” It will be auctioned today”I said What?I was with payment plan with wells fargo,who is servicing the loan-freddie mac owns it,and I was late in July payment for 10 days,this they say triggered the foreclosure and will be auctioned on the above said date.I was not given a notice about it,now I have 2 weeks to vacate the house.The same day they came to give me a notice to vacate the house in 5 days but they said that they will give me 2 weeks.The following day,they come again and took pictures of the house.Do you know if this is legal and do you have any idea what are my rights ?please reply on my e mail.thanks.

    • 37. arizonabargainhomes  |  July 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I heard of such an event. If the investor purchased your house through the auction. He/she has the right to give you notice to vacate the premises. Two weeks is reasonable. If you decide to stay, he/she could begin an eviction process against you. If you feel that Wells Fargo did not provide you notice of foreclosure, you may seek legal advice through a real estate attorney to determine your rights. Be strong and I wish you the best.

  • 38. glenn  |  October 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I’m going to the courthouse steps to bid on a property. I know I need to bring a $10,000 check. In a previous post, you said to make the check payable to “yourself”. How does this make sense? When I went to an auction at Tiffany & Bosco, I make the check payable to them. Please re-confirm…..Who do I make the check payable to??? Thanks

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  • 45. Wally Christofferspon  |  August 11, 2012 at 9:41 am

    A home three doors down from mine was on the block at noon yesterday, is there a web site that I can go to the find out if it sold and for how much?

    • 46. arizonabargainhomes  |  August 12, 2012 at 1:48 am

      You can go to the trustee website or call the trustee number to find out if it sold and how much it sold for. If you know a Realtor, he/she could pull up the information on the trustee. Otherwise, you could try to search this information from the county assessor’s website. It might be contained there as well. – Maria Hass

  • 47. Donna Parnham  |  December 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I am trying to find a list of homes going to auction in Jan 2013. How far out does the list go? Can you email me the list. Thx djparnham@yahoo.com

    • 48. arizonabargainhomes  |  December 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      ello Donna,
      There is a partial list available to the public from the county. You either get the list via the assigned trustee website or through wholesale auction companies for a fee. It takes time and extensive research to compile a full list on your own.


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    • 51. arizonabargainhomes  |  May 7, 2013 at 7:39 am

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  • 53. Joseph Abdul  |  August 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Does anyone know about rules pertaining to proxy bidding at these auctions? Can anyone place a bid for anyone else as long as they have the funds? Or does the bidder need to be the actual party in interest?

    • 54. arizonabargainhomes  |  August 11, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      You can have someone bid for you at the auction.There are auction companies that do this for a fee.

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    • 56. arizonabargainhomes  |  September 1, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Thank you. Your comment is encouraging. I appreciate it. – Maria (480) 650-0075

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  • 59. sharla  |  January 22, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Do you have to have a cashiers check to go or to participate. Do you have to reserve a place?

    • 60. arizonabargainhomes  |  January 23, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Hello Sharla,
      Cashier’s Check is good made out to yourself or as instructed by auctioneer. Find out who is handling the auction first. It can be held at the trustee office or at the courthouse in Jefferson for Maricopa county properties. No, you don’t have to reserve the place. For quicker response, call at (480) 650-0075.

  • 61. Chip  |  May 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Awesome article. Very informative. What is the best way to bid on HUD homes or bank owned properties? I have a pre approval letter from lender and can finance me in 24 hours. Thanks

  • 67. Chip  |  May 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Hello again, fix and flip please. Can you also pm me foreclosure property lists for maricopa courthouse auctions?

  • 68. Mitch  |  July 8, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Hello, Is the auction now run only by the auction.com website? I have read some bad reviews about auction.com. Can someone go to the auction and bid their self with out using auction.com?

    • 69. arizonabargainhomes  |  October 13, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Yes. Auction.com is not an official bidding site of trustee sales. For more information, call Elliot at infoclosure.com (480) 686-9945.

  • 70. Vanessa Sherley  |  September 3, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Well I have a couple of questions would like to be part of this auction but I have never done this could somebody please call me at 702 773 3880 thanks

  • 71. RC  |  November 17, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    How do I make sure that the property title is clean before buying at an auction?

  • 72. heather minior  |  January 17, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    This was a great article. Nice touch with auction video ☺️

  • 74. Mayra  |  August 9, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    How can I find out the house that is going to auction has two mortgage loan.

    • 75. arizonabargainhomes  |  August 9, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      You can check with a title agency to do a title search on the property for liens linked to the house. Good luck!


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