Real Estate Resources

Getting involved in commercial real estate, or even thinking about relocating your family and your life can bring up many questions. Call today to schedule a meeting and talk about your future. Carole Tam specializes in five types of commercial properties (in addition to residential real estate): Multi family, retail property, professional offices/medical buildings, land/mixed-use, and industrial warehouses.

Learn more from Carole Tam’s informative Real Estate Presentation (in English and Chinese).

Thinking about Buying at an Auction or Trustee Sale?

Buying at an auction can be highly lucrative or totally disastrous: it is therefore imperative that those who plan to place a bid understand exactly what they are in for. What takes place at the auction?

Deed of trust

A Trust deed is a written document used to secure a loan on real estate. Three parties are involved in the transaction; the trustor owner/borrower), the beneficiary (the lender) and a neutral third party called the trustee. The trust deed transfers bare legal title of the property to the trustee to be held pending fulfillment of payment.

Trustee sale (auction)

Auctions take place when a residential property is in the foreclosure process. A public auction of the property occurs in attempt to recoup the amount owed on the property to the beneficiary, using a bank or financial institutions. A trustee or the court sets an auction date and location. Typically, the majority of homes are postponed to a later date but for those that are auctioned, traditionally the opening bid is set to the amount of the unpaid loan balance.

Site of the sale

Usually the sale takes place on the steps of the courthouse or another public venue.

The challenges of buying a property through auction are:

  • Generally have less then 24 hours to do due diligence
  • Not granted access to the inside of the property
  • Often the property occupied by previous owners or tenants
  • Pay the full purchase price with cashier check

Do your Due Diligence

Search the trustee the morning of the day prior to the auction or the day of the auction (some counties have a morning and an afternoon sale; some just have a morning sale). Drive-by property prior auction day take pictures and inspect the property. Peruse the list and identify possible prospects, find out the lien position is being auctioned. How much back taxes are owed. Determine the maximum bid amount.


If there are no bids on opening amount, the property is legally transferred to the bank and becomes a Real Estate owned or REO foreclosure. If there is a winning bidder, payment in cash or cashier check, must be paid in full as a time of sale or shortly thereafter.


Flipping is the process of purchasing a revenue-generating asset and reselling it for profit within a short period of time. Profits: buying low and selling high or buying a house that requires repairs, fixing it up before reselling.

"Fix and Flip" means to purchase a house at discounted price, perform necessary renovations and repairs, then resell for profit

Flipping Tips

The key element in the flip process is to see the market trend and forecast the immediate future for re-sale. This is where the profit is made.

Know all encumbrances and the amounts, estimates resale value, now determine which properties would generate at least 10% to 35% in profit.

Selling $ - (Buying $ + Lien $ + Repairs $ + Misc. $) = Estimated Profit

Hire a professional

We do CMA prior to the auction date, which determines the current value, and requires intensive market research and analysis. It helps us to see market trend and forecast the immediate future for re-sale. We check lien positions and back taxes.

Immediately after purchase, we secure the property, ensure when tenant should occupy.

Eviction after the Foreclosure Auction

Must serve the occupants with a Notice to Quit before filing an eviction lawsuit to gain possession of the property. If the occupant is the former owner or a tenant of the former owner, a 3-Day Notice to Quit is required. If the notice period expires and the occupants have not left, then the new owner may then file an unlawful detainer.

Renters with leases are allowed to stay in foreclosed home until their lease expires (unless the foreclosed property is sold to a bonafide purchaser, in which case they must be given 90-day notice.) If the tenant is unwilling to cooperate then eviction is the only option, which gives them a maximum of 7 days to cooperate.

"Cash for Keys" Specialist

When a tenant currently lives the property, in exchange for cash for relocation assistance. The average cash for keys are estimated at $2,000 to $4,000 with $3,000 being the average.