EdgewaterIsle.com went the San Mateo County courthouse on September 28, 2009 as that day's auctions occurred.
The group that gathered for foreclosures today at 1:00 p.m. is a well-prepared, familiar group on first-name basis with each other. They talk amongst themselves, joke, and share updates. One brings his own chair with built-in table, along with 2 portable, wheelie suitcases jammed full of paper. They are well-organized, frequently on cell phones, and armed with various printouts marked with highlights and notations. Many of these would-be bidders are talking about what stages their fixer-upper purchases were in, what is being painted or staged, and when they would be back on the market. These would-be bidders have done their homework, checked for HOA and tax liens, and already have the sellers' disclosure statements, not that it matters anymore: it has come to this.
The first foreclosure auction is for a single-family home in Daly City. At first, it appeared as if it would not sell. The bidders are savvy — they wait until the "going twice" from the auctioneer before making a bid. Soon it becomes predictable: this group all waits until "going twice" to bid. The bids go up in increments of $50, $100, $1,000, or once as much as $5,000. It's all random. The winning bid goes to the guy who brought his own chair with built-in table.
The second unit up for foreclosure auction is 1905 Vista Cay. There are no bids. The property reverts back to the bank. One would-be bidder tells me before the auction that he doubts it will sell as the bank's opening bid is too high. He also told me he would never buy a property being sold by a homeowners association because that lien is a junior lien. And because there are CC & R's — these buyers don't like CC & R's.
The bidders and would-be bidders are curious who I am writing for. As an obvious outsider in the midst of their familiar group, they ask me lots of questions, volunteer some information, but no one wants to give me their name. I'm not surprised. They'll likely all be back there tomorrow. Again with their papers and cell phones. And the chair with built-in table.