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 rented a property and signed the lease april 2012. I moved in june 2012, I recieved notice the property was going to be sold in auction in october, 2012. can i recover my deposit
  • The home I'm renting is about to be auctioned....will I have to leave immediately or do I have 30 or 90 days?
  • my home had a foreclosure hearing in November but today i received a letter saying. Motion to withdraw motion for summary and default judgement entry and decree of foreclosure and vacate hearing. what does this mean? Thank you in advance for your time
  • I was served a special writ for foreclosure due to being behind on HOA dues. How long do I have to try to pay the amount owed? It states my redemption period is 6 months. Is this from data of sale? Or from date I was served? Also, how long do i have before it goes to auction?
  • My now husband bought a home in 2007 at the peak of the market (before we were married). We can no longer afford the house payment and are now married but only his name still exists on the title. If he forecloses on the home, will both our credit be affected although we got married after he bought the home and the title is still only in his name?
  • I owned a house in 2005- when everything boomed it was way overpriced and there was a 1st and a 2nd. I went through a divorce and lost the home as it was upside down. It went into foresclosure and I never heard another word. This now 2019 and I received a letter in the mail saying the 2nd mortgage wants to settle with me for $5000 on a $92,000 note from that house- that was 13 years ago! Can they even do that? My house was upside down and then foreclosed on and sold.
  • I bought a condo in July 07' using funds from a City of Phoenix bond program. I was unaware of a stipulation stating that the owner must occupy the unit for the life of the loan. I was laid off from my employer and I have had to relocate to Texas for work. Now the mortgage company is stating that they can accelerate the loan pay-off requiring me to pay the loan in full. I pay my mortgage payment each month, how can they do this?
  • I recently returned home from a 3 year prison sentence. The home i own was vacant and went into foreclosure. The mortgage company changed the locks, however i still own the home and plan on refinancing and keeping it. Am i allowed back into the house now, to live there since i still legally own it?
  • A sibling had a piece of land that was sold in a trustee's sale in June 2016 . It was 2.55 acres and had no single family residence. I am clear that it doesn't fall under the deficiency exemption because of the size of the lot and no home. Since it's been over 90 days, is it safe to say there will be no legal recourse? Can they still send the debt to ordinary collections agent? Thank you
  • I was in a chapter 13 with my only debt being my mortgage. I found out Monday my house has been sold at auction. I never received any type of notifications that my chapter 13 had been dismissed,or any notifications that I was in foreclosure, as a matter of fact I had sent the mortgage co $4,000 the previous month. I believe the sale of my house was illegal since I was never notified..Is this true, if I am never given the opportunity to save my house which are required by law and can I do anything about it now that it's been sold?

STORIES

  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .

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