I live in San Francisco and am about to start attending and bidding on properties at auction. I am currently most interested in the Sonoma County and Contra Costa County auctions. Is it realistic of me to assume I can make the trips to those places (roughly an hour) to buy, and then rehab, and flip them? I invest and manage real estate as my full time job, so I can make time for this, but am I setting myself up to get burnt out from wasted time driving for cancellations, postponements, etc?
I wish I had some great solution. It is true that you can attend the auctions every day and still not purchase a property. Only you know what your schedule will allow. Rehabing properties long distance is a completely different issue. If you have a good team of folks that can do the work then that would make it easier.
As a lone soldier (many of the auction investors work in teams) you have to be even more strategic than most. Given that you will not have a member of your team at each auction everyday you need to do even more research. As an example, do you know which lenders have a higher likelihood of actually going to sale in your target areas? Maybe you want to track the postponements and look for those that have postponed less than a full month? You are looking for any small advantage that you can find based on your extensive research. You may also want to look at what the competition is buying and if there are any areas where there is less competition? Or maybe you see an opportunity on a particular type of property. If you have a great rehab team then maybe you look for the real disasters out there or if you do not have a good rehab team you focus on newer construction.
I have talked to many auction investors over the years and each one has a little different strategy.