Opening bid vs Published bid?

Most of the published bid amounts exceed the value of the property. So how do we find out if the opening bid will be less than the published bid? Is this info posted, or do we need to contact each trustee prior to the sale, or do we only find out at the sale?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Brian,
The published bid is the amount owed on the foreclosing loan at the time the Notice of Trustee Sale was filed (includes principle balance, past due interest and foreclosure fees). The lender gets to set the opening bid which can be as high as what is owed on the loan at the time of the sale or can be substantially discounted. It is impossible to tell which lenders will discount the opening bid. In CA the lender/trustee is under no legal requirement to post the opening bid in advance of the sale. In some cases the opening bid is not announced until the auction starts. At ForeclosureRadar we track all of the opening bids and post them to our site. We also have an advances alert feature that will allow you to receive opening bids via email or text as they post to ForeclosureRadar. Additionally, ForeclosureRadar gives you the Trustee phone number and TS# so that you can manually check for last minute opening bids on the properties you are interested in buying.

So the usual way to find out if the opening bid will be discounted from the published bid is to attend the auction? This is unfortunate as one would spend much time and money to research the value & title and take time to attend auctions hoping that the trustee will discount the bid. But if the opening bid is not discounted, then the time and money spent are wasted, right? Can an investor get info on the discounted openining bid prior to researching the properties so they can weed out the god from the bad? Or, is this impossible since the trustees don’t know say anything until the day of the sale?

Finally, I plan to invest in CA and NV. Is this the same situation for both states?


The release of the opening bid is one of the most frustrating aspects of being an auction investor. In both CA and NV the opening bid can be released a day or 2 in advance or at the last minute. In some cases it is not announced until the sale starts. That means you are down there potentially wasting your time. The other piece that makes this even more frustrating is that they can postpone and cancel the sale at the last minute as well. This means that you have to do what you can to prepare and then be ready to jump and run at the last minute. Many of the big auction investors have someone at the sale every day just in case a good property comes up with an attractive opening bid. It is also possible to track a property, have it postpone for months and then when the opening bid is announced it is either too high or you find yourself in a bidding war with other investors.
In CA and NV there is not a legal requirement to post the opening bid in advance. When you consider that the trustee is waiting for the lender to release the bid and the lender may be waiting on the investor who is checking with the mortgage insurance company you can see why it can take so long. Then consider that a servicer like Bank of America services loans for over 500 different investors that are making decisions on modifications and short sales as well as which properties to foreclose on and then setting the opening bid. This ends up being an ocean of information and uncertainty.


Not the answer I was hoping for but my compliments to you for sharing your knowledge and giving me such a fast and detailed response.

Thank you

I wish I had better news. :slight_smile: If only CA and NV operated like AZ. In AZ the trustee/lender is required to post the opening bid 24 hours in advance of the sale AND you only need 10k to bid that day. They give you until the next business day to pay the remainder of your bid.

Is there a resource that shows how all 50 states operate in regards to when Opening Bids must be posted by and the amount required to bid?

Hi Michael, I am not aware of a site that has this information in a comprehensive format for all states. Each state is different in their common practices and the laws do periodically change for each state. There is a site called where you can purchase foreclosure reference guides. This site serves mortgage banking Attorneys and can be a great resource but be prepared to pay a fee.

As an academic exercise I am looking at a house with an opening bid of 1,300M and a default of 1,190M. The original auction date was months ago and the sale isn’t for days. The property doesn’t look like it is worth anything near 1.3.

Do those who might answer consider an opening bid like this as accurate or just a typo? Is there a way to confirm that it is valid?

You said the amount months ago was about 1.2M It sounds right that after several months of more interest, maybe legal fees to deal w. a bk. the amount would be $100K more. There is a slight chance they might drop the opening bid at the sale. While some lenders are still dropping bids - many feel mistakenly) they are better off taking back the property themselves and dealing w. them.

Hi KingKev, If you look at the auction results (Bank Owned and Sold to 3rd) you can see the difference between the published bid and the opening bid. Usually an opening bid is only released when the property is going to sale. Although it is possible that an opening bid could be released and the sale is postponed or canceled in most cases the opening bid would indicate that it is likely the property will go to sale. You will see the best historical record of opening bids vs published bids by looking at the auction results.

To be clear I haven’t been tracking the property for months I don’t know what the opening bid was months ago. Also I am talking about opening bid not published bid. Is there any way to see an example of an opening going up or down before the auction? Is that tracked?

I have to disagree with the above statement that the opening bid would indicate that it is likely the property will go to sale. From my experience there are some lenders that actively try to sell their properties at auction. This can consist of making the opening bid very visible. The thing to keep in mind is that total judgement/ published bid is usually based on total debt at the time of judgement. However, opening bids can be set based on a brokers price opinion/ option, which can change based on market conditions. As we know market conditions change overnight. Imagine the lender sets bids based on 70%LTV and the value changes by 10% the opening bid will likely be adjusted…

Hi Charles, In these unprecedented times where 80% of the sales postpone the ones that have opening bids released are more likely to actually go to sale. An opening bid in no way guarantees that the sale will not be postponed or canceled. We wish that opening bids were based solely on BPO’s and market conditions but the truth of the matter is that there is no way to tell for sure whether or not the lender will discount the opening bid from the published bid. If you look at the history of opening bids they can be substantially higher (published bid plus accrued interest) even when the property is not worth that amount. Although a lender can do a low/high bid we rarely see an opening bid post and then change at the last minute.

What percentage of those assets which have opening bids actually go to sale? I would be interested in seeing those numbers. Our lender sets the bid even if there are other factors in play like BK/ loss mitigation/ or other 'postponement reasons at play. Interesting.

If there is an opening bid - the chances are 80%+ that the sale will take place. Those w.o. a bid the morning of the sale (and haven’t already been postponed) - maybe 1/4 actually get a bid and go to sale. This applys in Ca. where lenders have a habit of (inadvertently) chilling the bid by not disclosing the opening bid until sale time - and sometimes not for an hour after the scheduled time. In Arizona, if property does go to sale, the opening bid has to be disclosed the day before the sale. Did you know? 30 years ago Notices of Sale weren’t recorded, the phone number of Trustee didn’t have to be disclosed, common address not disclosed (just legal desc.), sales could be postponed unlimited times. In some states the auctioneer announces the position of the loan being sold.