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  STEP 1: Obtain A Reliable Property List

Many sales are pending but have postponed for various reasons. Diligent research is required to ascertain the most complete picture of all the Trustee sale options in the various counties. Our service is to provide and organize the information. Where possible we have representation present at the sale site, improving to a great degree the accuracy of the information.

New Trustee sale information is published in a newspaper of general circulation, posted on the affected property, posted on the bulletin board at the County Superior Courthouse and recorded with the county recorder.

The County Recorder's office maintains pertinent public records involving many transactions such as real estate, mining, personal property, mortgages, tax liens, leases, subdivision plats, military discharges, official appointments of office, and other miscellaneous documents. These records are indexed in various indices by grantor, grantee and recording date. They do not index by sale dates or record postponements for notice of trustee sale.

  STEP 2: Research Properties

Bidders should understand that a purchaser at a Trustee's Sale is buying the property 'AS IS, WHERE IS' without any warranties or representations of any kind by the Trustee or any other party. Therefore, to reduce the inherent risks in purchasing a property at a Trustee's Sale, it is crucial that interested bidders conduct as much investigation regarding the property as possible and obtain legal advice prior to the sale. Interested bidders have a right to obtain the following information from the Trustee at any time 30 following after the recording of the Notice of Trustee's Sale:

  • The unpaid principal balance of the loan secured by the Deed of Trust;
  • The name and address of record of the owner of the property; and,
  • A list of the liens and other matters of record affecting the property (usually taken from the Trustee's Sale Guarantee Report).

Any party desiring this information must make a written request to the Trustee and must pay a fee set by the Trustee ranging from $30.00 to $100.00 (A.R.S. 33-809.E). Interested bidders should obtain legal advice from an attorney concerning any title issues relating to the property. This is very important as there may be taxes, assessments or other Deeds of Trust or other liens that are senior (recorded prior in time) to the Deed of Trust being foreclosed. This means that the purchaser at the Trustee's Sale will be purchasing the property subject to those liens and in most cases, the purchaser will ultimately have to pay those liens in order to retain the property.

Most title companies will agree to issue an owner's policy of title insurance to the successful bidder at the Trustee's Sale for a fee if they have issued the Trustee's Sale Guarantee relating to that sale. If a bidder does not independently obtain an owner's policy of title insurance, he or she is receiving no insurance on the status of title of the property being purchased. The suggested practice is for bidders to contact the title company issuing the Trustee's Sale Guarantee to make arrangements for title insurance in the event that the person is the successful bidder at the sale.

A person interested in bidding at the sale can also obtain either the maximum credit bid or the opening bid from the Trustee at any time from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the last business day prior to the sale date. Most Trustees post this information on their web sites as it becomes available. (A.R.S. 33-809.F)

To the extent that a property can be viewed without trespassing (i.e. from a public road), interested bidders should inspect the property. Information concerning improvements on the property, such as square footage and date of construction, may be obtained from the County Assessor's Office.

  STEP 3: Know The Auction Process

A Trustee's Sale is a non-judicial foreclosure process, which means that no court action is involved. The sale is accomplished by the recording of a Notice of Trustee's Sale, which sets forth a certain sale date, time and location. The sale date cannot be less than 90 days after the recording of the Notice (A.R.S. '33-807.D). The Notice of Trustee's sale must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property is located, must be posted on the property and at the Superior Courthouse and must be sent via certified mail to the parties on the Deed of Trust and to any other party having an interest of record in the Property. (A.R.S. '33-808.A and '33-809.B and C).


In order to understand the Trustee's Sale process, knowledge of the following terms is necessary:

  • “Deed of Trust” is an instrument signed by an owner of real property granting a lien to a lender in the real property as collateral for a debt. Deeds of Trust have essentially replaced mortgages in Arizona as the preferred security document for loans secured by real property.
  • “Trustor” is the person granting the lien to the lender under the Deed of Trust. This party is usually the borrower. Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. '33-801.11.
  • “Trustee” is the party designated to act as the holder of the Deed of Trust and to exercise any rights under the Deed of Trust on behalf of the Beneficiary (the lender). In many cases, the lender appoints an attorney or title company to act as the Successor Trustee to complete the Trustee's Sale on behalf of the lender (A.R.S '33-801.10)
  • “Beneficiary” is the lender and person for whose benefit the Deed of Trust is given or in other words, the lien holder. A.R.S. '33-801.1.
  • “Trustee's Sale Guarantee” is the title report issued to the Trustee or Successor Trustee in connection with the Trustee's Sale setting forth any liens or other matters reflected in the Recorder's Office affecting the subject property.
  • “Credit Bid” is the bid by the lender, which operates as a credit against the loan secured by the Deed of Trust. The credit bid cannot exceed the total amount due under the loan secured by the Deed of Trust, including all costs and expenses of completing the Trustee's Sale (A.R.S. '33-801.5). Only the Beneficiary/lender under the Deed of Trust being foreclosed is entitled to submit a credit bid. (A.R.S. '33-810.A). All other bids must be in cash or cash equivalents.

  STEP 4: The Auction

The Trustee's Sale is held on the date set forth in the Notice or may, by the announcement of the Trustee or auctioneer for the Trustee, be postponed in increments of up to 90 days each (A.R.S. '33-810.B).

Any parties wanting to bid at the Trustee's Sale must provide a ten thousand dollar ($10,000.00) bid deposit to the Trustee (or its agent) who is conducting the sale (A.R.S. '33-810.A). The bid deposit must be in a form acceptable to the Trustee. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT BIDDERS CONTACT THE TRUSTEE TO FIND OUT HOW THEY REQUIRE THE CASHIERS CHECK BE MADE OUT. Most Trustees require a cashier's check or certified funds check made payable to the Trustee. If a person is a successful bidder at the sale, the bid deposit is applied to the purchase price. If a person is the successful bidder at the sale and fails to pay the balance of the bid price by 5:00 p.m. on the business day following the sale, the bid deposit is forfeited. If a person bids at the sale and is not the successful bidder, the bid deposit is returned by the Trustee to that bidder (A.R.S. '33-810.A).

The sale is conducted as a public auction sale, where the Trustee or its agent will sell the property to the highest bidder. The successful bidder must pay the bid price (less the credit for the bid deposit) by 5:00 p.m. on the next business day following the sale. The bid price must be paid in a form acceptable to the Trustee. As with the bid deposit, most Trustees require certified funds or a Cashier's check. If the successful bidder fails to timely pay the bid price, the Trustee has the option of offering the property to the next highest bidder at the sale or to reschedule the sale A.R.S. '33-811.A and B).

  What's Next?

The Trustee must execute and deliver a Trustee's Deed transferring title of the property to the successful bidder within seven (7) days after receipt of the bid price. The Trustee's Deed must then be recorded with the County Recorder (ARS '33-811.B).