How to find a dream home at a bargain price

As prices rise, finding the right home for a steal can seem nearly impossible unless you know how to shop.

We tagged along with Doug, from the hit TV show "Property Wars," to show you how to find a dream home at a bargain price.

Doug is also known as "The King" on the show.

It's all about investors buying homes at trustee sales.

But is it really possible for us to buy these houses?

Doug took me to see a Mesa home that was supposed to be auctioned off at a trustee sale with a starting bid of just $52,000. That house is worth $140,000!

Sounds like a steal, but it's very risky.

When buying a home at a trustee sale, you have to bid on it without seeing the inside of the house, or even getting an inspection.

That sounds scary to me, but Doug says if you know what you're looking for, you can definitely find good deals.

Once we pulled up to the Mesa home, Doug noticed right away things he didn't like; there were power lines right in front of the house and it had absolutely no curb appeal.

So we took a closer look.

We peeked inside the windows and gate, but we still had no clue of what problems might be inside the house like plumbing and electrical issues.

Doug says there are many things that you just won't know without seeing the inside of the house, but there are still some major things you can look for outside of the house, including the condition of the roof.

Also check to see if there is an air conditioning unit.

If there's a pool, check to see if the equipment is still there.

Look around the house for cracks in the foundation and also for water damage.

It's obvious that the repairs can really add up. But that's not the only expense you need to worry about.

You have to have $10,000 in cash to even start bidding on a home at a trustee sale, plus you have to pay for the full purchase price of the home you won at the auction in cash. And, if you don't, you lose that $10,000 deposit.

That's good news for Doug. He says the cash and repairs are just a few things that give him the upper hand on finding the best deals.

"The worse the condition, the better the buy because you will have to put more work into it and a lot of people just like the turn key houses," says Doug.

Even if you have the cash, good handymen and you know how to do your research, you still aren't guaranteed to get the house.

After all of our time and hard work, the house was taken off the market just 30 minutes before it was supposed to be auctioned.

But it's still no reason to give up on buying a home at a trustee sale. You can still save some cash.

Doug says you will usually get a home around 15 to 20% below value. In fact, he says he makes money on these homes 80-90% of the time.

You can watch Doug in action on "Property Wars" Thursday nights on the Discovery Channel.

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