how are the opening bids determined?
The lender (beneficiary) instructs the Trustee as to what the opening bid should be. It can be $1 up to the full amount of the debt. You will see that sometimes the bank lender will drop the bid low enough to entice bidders to take it off their hands. In other cases they obviously have decided not to take a write off of the asset at this time and bid in the full amount owed so as to acquire the property and keep it on their books at an inflated value.
For various reasons, to technical for this discussion, they can
instruct the Trustee to start low and raise the bidding up to a certain point if any 3rd party bids.