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Real Estate and Foreclosure

Baumann, Doyle, Paytas & Bernstein, P.L.L.C. offers a full range of legal services concerning real estate and foreclosure actions.
Our attorneys have a vast range of experience with real estate foreclosures, trustee’s sales, contracts, deeds and other documents pertaining to the sale, purchase and foreclosure of real property.

In Arizona, foreclosure can be a swift and simple procedure by which a lender and/or lien holder can obtain legal ownership of a property. It terminates a property owner’s right to the property and ultimately results in eviction of anyone occupying the premises.

Lenders and/or lien holders may foreclose on their liens, deeds of trusts or mortgages in default using either a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process. This office handles both judicial and non-judicial foreclosures.

Judicial Foreclosure – The judicial process of foreclosure has limited but useful application in the State of Arizona. Judicial foreclosure involves filing a lawsuit with the court to obtain a court judgment of foreclosure. Although it is more time consuming than the non-judicial foreclosure conducted in connection with trustee’s sales, it does allow for remedies and recovery not permitted under trustee’s sales.

Non-Judicial Foreclosure – The non-judicial process of foreclosure is used when a power of sale clause exists in a mortgage or deed of trust. A “power of sale” clause is the clause in a deed of trust or mortgage, in which the borrower pre-authorizes the sale of property to pay off the balance on a loan in the event of their default. In deeds of trust or mortgages where a power of sale exists, the power given to the lender to sell the property may be executed by the lender or their representative, typically referred to as the trustee. This process is also called a Trustees Sale Foreclosure. Regulations for this type of foreclosure process are outlined below in the “Power of Sale Foreclosure Guidelines”.

Power of Sale Foreclosure Guidelines – If the deed of trust or mortgage contains a power of sale clause and specifies the time, place and terms of sale, then the specified procedure must be followed. Otherwise, the non-judicial power of sale foreclosure is carried out as follows:

The trustee must record a notice of sale in the office of the recorder of the county where the property is located. Within five (5) days after the notice is recorded, the trustee must mail, by certified mail, a copy of the notice of sale to each of the people who are parties to the trust deed, except for himself. Additionally, the notice must appear in a newspaper in the county where the property is located once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks, with the last notice being published not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of the sale.

Optionally, if it can be done without a breach of the peace, the trustee can post the notice at least twenty (20) days prior to the date of the sale, in some conspicuous place on the property to be sold and/or he or she can post the notice at the courthouse or at a specified place at the place of business of the trustee in the county in which the property is located.

The trustee or the trustee’s agent must conduct the sale. The sale is for cash to the highest bidder, except that the lender can make a “credit bid,” which means to cancel out some part (or all) of the money the borrower owed the lender on the lean, instead of paying cash. A successful high bidder must pay the bid price by 5 pm of the day after the bid, other than a Saturday or legal holiday. Every bid is an irrevocable offer until the sale is completed, which happens when the bidder pays the bid price to the trustee’s satisfaction. If the high bidder fails to make the payment by 5:00 pm, the day after being notified of the option to buy, then the trustee may postpone the sale.

The trustee may postpone the sale to another time, or another place, by giving notice of the new date, time and place by public declaration at the last place and time the property was offered for sale. No other notice is required. A trustee may also, by written agreement, extend the time for a buyer to come up with the payment.

Once the sale is complete, the proceeds will go to the payment of the obligations secured by the deed of trust that was foreclosed, then to junior lien holders in order of their priority. The successful bidder gets a trustee’s deed, which provides conclusive evidence that the trustee conducted the foreclosure sale property.

A note regarding Deficiency Suits: A lender may not bring a deficiency suit against a person who lost a property that is 2.5 acres or less at a foreclosure, provided the property was a single one-family or a single two-family dwelling. This is so even if the high bid at foreclosure was less that the balance due on the loan. However, junior lien holders may pursue a deficiency judgment against the previous owner to recover the balances owed. However, an Arizona home owner may be protected by such lawsuits under the law. In foreclosures against other types of property, a deficiency suit is allowed, but is limited to the difference between the balance owed and the fair market value of the property, and then only if the suit is brought within ninety (90) days of the power of sale foreclosure.

In most cases, a foreclosure can begin as soon as a homeowner is late with the mortgage payment. If the payment is due on or before the first of the month, for example, the lender has every legal right to initiate foreclosure proceedings against the home owner.

This office can also review real estate documents and/or prepare real estate documents such as: Quit Claim Deeds, Warranty Deeds, Deeds of Trusts, Promissory Notes, just to name a few.

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Our Office
  • Phoenix Office
    2929 North 44th Street
    Suite 120
    Phoenix, Arizona 85018
    Phone: 602-952-8500
    Fax: 602-667-6552
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