Foreclosure Article


Recovering Excess Proceeds After Foreclosure of Your Home

In Arizona, a home is typically foreclosed through a process known as a Trustee Sale. A Trustee’s Sale is when an individual or firm (the Trustee) holds an auction to sell the home in an attempt to recover the balance owed to the foreclosing lender.

During the downturn in the real estate market, the purchase price at auction was typically at or less than the loan balance owed to the lender.  However, with the recent upturn in the real estate market, we are now seeing purchase prices that are over the amount owed to the foreclosing lender.  The amount by which the purchase price at auction exceeds the balance owed the foreclosing lender is known as Excess Proceeds.

EXAMPLE:

$ 135,000   Price the property sold for at Trustee Sale auction

-  100,000   Loan balance amount owed to foreclosing lender at time of auction

$    35,000  Excess Proceeds

 

In the above example, $100,000 from the sale proceeds goes to pay the amount owed to the foreclosing lender.  The question is who is entitled to the remaining $35,000 in Excess Proceeds?  Generally, the Excess Proceeds first go to junior voluntary lienholders and then to the homeowner whose home was foreclosed.

Voluntary lienholders are lenders to whom the homeowner voluntarily gives an interest in the home.  Two common examples are your mortgage company (both your primary home loan and your secondary home equity loan) and a homeowner’s association (a junior voluntary lienholder).  By signing the mortgage, you voluntarily give the lender an interest in your home; and by purchasing a home within a community development you voluntarily give the homeowner’s association an interest in your home.

Involuntary lienholders are creditors who sue to get a judgment against you.  A common example is a credit card company that sues, gets a judgment against you for the amount owed on the credit card, and then records that judgment as a lien against your home.

Let’s add a few facts to the example above.  In addition to the $100,000 loan being foreclosed, there is a 2nd mortgage for $20,000 and a credit card judgment lien of $20,000.  Under this scenario, $100,000 goes to pay the amount owed to the foreclosing lender, with the $35,000 in Excess Proceeds being distributed as follows:  $20,000 to the 2nd mortgage (junior voluntary lienholder) and $15,000 to the homeowner. The credit card company (involuntary lienholder) gets nothing.

So how does the foreclosed homeowner know if there are Excess Proceeds available?  The Trustee is required to mail a notice to the homeowner’s last known address.  The problem is the last known address is usually the foreclosed property, which the homeowner has vacated without providing a forwarding address.

The homeowner, armed with the knowledge that a Trustee Sale can generate Excess Proceeds, should track the Trustee Sale process.  Call the Trustee’s office the day after the sale is scheduled to take place.  Ask the Trustee’s office if the sale was postponed (note: the Trustee is not required to provide you written notice of the postponement) or completed?  If the Trustee’s sale was postponed, ask the Trustee’s office for the new sale date. If the Trustee’s sale was completed, ask: Are there Excess Proceeds from the sale?  When will the Trustee be depositing the proceeds with the county treasurer and filing the required lawsuit?  Inform the Trustee that you are the foreclosed homeowner and want to make a claim for the Excess Proceeds.  Provide the Trustee with your new address and send a confirming letter (by both certified mail/return receipt requested and regular mail) to the Trustee with your new address and contact information.  

Excess proceeds can remain on deposit with the county treasurer for up to 2 years. Certain deadlines begin to run when the Trustee deposits the Excess Proceeds and files the lawsuit. Upon receiving notice that the lawsuit has been filed, you should immediately contact one of the legal aid offices listed below for free legal help in recovering Excess Proceeds.

You can apply online for free legal help here or click here for a directory of legal assistance in Arizona.

This article provides general information about Excess Proceeds.  It does not address your specific factual circumstances and should not be relied on as legal advice.  Please contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I have lived here for 12 years. My name on warranty deed and signed into a trust. New company is servicing my account and will not recognize me as the owner. Foreclosure sale is Jan 14th. Have tried for several months to communicate but they will not. My name is not on the loan. Can you help me. I have a buyer for the property. They will not talk to me about it.
  • i rent a house that is going for auction. do i have to keep paying him rent or can i keep that months rent so i can move out. how long do i have to move when it is sold.
  • I understand that in Arizona, deficiency judgements cannot be sought on purchase money loans, but what are the rules for second loans?
  • Does the Superior Court have a procedure for expedited processing of time sensitive cases? If so, would that procedure be applicable to a foreclosure of the right to redeem a tax lien?
  • My condo trustee sale was last week-some realtor c=offered me cash for keys-how long do i have if I don't take this offer?
  • We own a unit in a condo complex that is being foreclosed upon as a whole. We need to know if we have any recourse for the loss of our investment and how this will affect our credit rating.
  • In July I went to SALA to see about filing bankruptcy. I am behind on everything due to unemployment and medical bills for my son. The lawyer I saw said not to at this point because I make too little to garnish,and sent me home with some pamphlets. Now my HOA has sued and won and is putting a lein on my house.I will never be able to make the payment they are asking for. My house is free and clear. Can the HOA still take my home and leave my kids and I homeless? Or are they bound by the homestead law? Thank you.
  • We had a house go to foreclosure and the lender ended up selling it. Now the bank of the second mortgage is trying to sue us for the deficiancy. the lot is less than 2.5 acres & house is single family. Can they do this or does this violate ARS title 33?
  • I own 2 properties, if I let one go into foreclosure and reside in the other property can the bank readjust my mortgage that is not in foreclosure?
  • The house is currently in foreclosure.It is being sold at an auction in January.Will they give me a notice telling me I have to get out? Or can they by law,put my stuff on the curb?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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