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

  • Can the lender force foreclosure on my home when my ex-spouse got a 2nd mortgage in his name showing him as the borrower while we were married on this home And now I own this property from the divorce?
  • my home was auctioned in a forclosue on 02/28/14....I am now being evicted by monday.....where is the 70000 equity in my home ?
  • Can my wages be garnished after a foreclosure? ?
  • I belong to a Property Owner's Association. The manager and the original Developer states we do not follow ARS Title 33 because the Association is a non-profit corp. and does not own property. We are all mandated members that must pay dues to maintain the roads that are dedicated to public use. We have bylaws, CC&R's. Is this true? The developer is getting properties back thru foreclosures and says he does not owe dues and is using his 10-1 votes from the foreclosures. Our CC&Rs say that if the first mortgagee gets property back they are not liable for past dues, but from acquisition. Help?
  • I lost my home to foreclosure back in 2010.I have received a payment from the mortgage relief settlement fund. I want to know if I can seek legal action to file a claim for further compensation. I lost over $100,000( my down payment) when I lost my home. A bank that was part of the settlement was my lender. Thank you.
  • how long do we have after told about foreclosure to move out?
  • Is it legal for my lender to switch lenders and foreclose my house and sell at auction with out giving me any notification or giving me the option to file bankruptcy
  • My home was sold at a foreclosure auction on 11/22/16. I have never been served a 3 day notice by the new owners just a Summons and Complaint. They want me out of the property and want to charge me an outstanding amount of money and I cannot afford to pay it. They are trying to get a default and judgment against me and I am living in the house with my 8 year old granddaughter. I work 4 days a week and need time to secure another place for us to live. These people are very unreasonable and want me out. I have lived there for 23 years and am having alot of anxiety over this. HELP
  • 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.
  • My family and I had moved into our new home after paying six months in advance and signing our lease . One and half months into being our home , the sheriffs arrived at our door saying that they had put warning's on our house, though we never saw any . Conveniently, our landlord was nowhere to be found . What agency will help us get into A home and help with a couple month's rent?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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