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

  • Are the lenders able to work with you even if your only 1 month behind. they sent us a letter giving us a certain date to catch up and what would happen if this didn't occur.
  • I was informed of trustee sale to take place 06/2008 on my home in Florence, AZ. My Husband and I decided it was best to vacate the home with our family before the sale. We filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2011 and included the home and HOA. We received a letter from an attorney, suing us for HOA dues, post bankruptcy. Wouldn't it already be considered foreclosed from the notified date of sale, even if it was postponed?
  • Are purchase money mortgages limited to no recourse notes?
  • My proprty is seduced to be sold today at a Trustee's auction. I had a new loan approved for past two weeks that would pay the existing note in full, the trustee deliberately withheld the final payoff statement until 4:59 p.m. on the day prior to the foreclosure, making it impossible to fund on the new loan in time to stop the sale. Is there anything we can do to stop the sale and buy ourselves a few days to get the new loan closed?
  • If your home goes to foreclosure, how may years do you have to wait before you can buy a home again?
  • I bought a house back when the housing market boomed and at the time had a decent job that can pay for the mortgage. A year and a half later my contract ended for the job and now can't afford the mortgage. I am wondering if it's possible to do a short sale with a good amount of savings in the bank? I have 2 mortgages with 2 different lenders. I just don't want to deplete my lifetime savings before I do a short sale. I haven't missed a payment.
  • I came across an abandon/foreclosed home and I would like to find out more about taking adverse possession of the property. What do I need to know about doing this? I need the pro's and con's, please! M
  • Are there any tax consequences for the state return after a forclosure or short sale?
  • The home we are renting is set to go to Trustee Auction at the end of this month. The "Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act" expired 12/31/2014. What are my rights as a tenant now that this has expired. Can I be evicted without notice..do I still have to receive ample notice if the new owner wishes to occupy the home?
  • I just found out the house I'm renting is in foreclosure. My daughter is attending school in the area too. Do I have any rights or am I just stick waiting to see what happens? Do I pay rent? Thank You!

STORIES

  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .

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  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
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    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
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