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

  • Currently my home is not in foreclosure. I am behind in payments and the bank will not allow me to make partials. They are willing to reinstate the loan but I am unable to raise the 6 payments required. I have received default and letters of intent to accelerate. The bank is recommending a short sale. I want to work this out and I have saved 3 payments and I wish to stay in the home. We received a modification in 2012 and a special forbearance in 2013 I am back to work after being laid off in September and emergency surgery in December. Do I claim bankruptcy in order to save my home?
  • My dad and brother owned a home which I lived for 17 years and took care of both my parents. My my died 13 years and my just passed away 5/18/16. My brother does not communicate with me so the house I still live in he foreclosure on. What are my rights I still live here.
  • what assistance is available to me I was 12 months behind caught up on six in September and they started foreclosure this month sell date is Feb of 2015 I thought they were working with me and no notice foreclosure.? my husband was on unemployment for over 4 years and recently is now working and we are able to catch up and stay on track.
  • I BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE A YEAR AGO AND KEPT THE OLD HOUSE THAT I HAD FOR 13 YRS AS A RENTAL PROPERTY SINCE THE LOAN BALANCE WAS LESS THAN THE VALUE. THE TENATS DEFAULTED ON THE MORTGAGE AND I WAS UNABLE TO BRING IT CURRENT. IT IS CURRENLY GOING UNDER FORCLOUSE. MY QUESTION IS- CAN THE BANK COME AFTER ME SINCE IT WAS NOT MY PRIMARY RESIDENCE? I NEVER PULLED CASH OUT BUT I DID REFINANCE A FEW TIMES AND PAID OFF OTHER SMALLER LOANS AND CREDIT CARD YEARS AGO.
  • I just received a notice saying I have to vacate my house that it was auctioned but I'm paying my house and I'm never late and company who say they purchased have other name as home owner not mine and my husband what is going on what can I do my house wasn't foreclosed bank says everything okay in there side how do protect myself how is possible for it to be auctioned
  • Can my lanlord come after me for the money if i break my lease early, and the house is in foreclosure?
  • 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.
  • The house we rent is in foreclosure. Are we obligated to stay in the house for the 90 days allowed or can we move as soon as we find a new place to live? Can the landlord hold us to the terms of the lease even though the house is in foreclosure now? Can he take us to court if we move out prior to the end of the lease?
  • 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?
  • What happens if you rent a house until foreclosure?

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. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
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