What Happens To Equity During and After Foreclosure?

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"what happens to your equity when the bank forecloses" was a question I got.



The answer is that most, if not all, will be dissipated by the foreclosure.



Let's say you own a home currently valued at $500,000, that you owe $200,000 on it, and that you have a 6% loan. Now, for whatever reason, you can't make the payments, and for whatever reason, you don't sell while you have the opportunity before the trustee's auction.



In California, you are going to be four months behind before the Notice of Default happens. So that is four payments of $1200. Furthermore, when you are fifteen days late you owe a 4% penalty, or $48, and when you are thirty days late, the missed payments start accruing interest. So at the point that the Notice of Default is possible, you owe $204,777.83.



From Notice of Default to Notice of Trustee's Sale is another 60 days, but before that happens, the bank is going to hit you with $10,000 to $15,000 in administrative fees for going into default. Check your contract; it's in there. Let's say $12,000, and now you owe $216,777.



Add another two months of delinquent payments, and penalties as of 15 days after. So as of the time the Auction actually happens, you owe $219,447. Furthermore, to make the auction happen, they will charge you about another $15,000. This covers the expenses of making the auction happen, of which the most noteworthy is the appraisal. At this point, you owe $234,447.



The appraisal bears special mention. Not only is there zero pressure to get a good value, the bank wants that appraisal to come in nice and low. They want the property to sell at auction, and if nobody bids 90% of the appraisal price, then they own it and have to go through the rigamarole of hiring an agent and selling it. So that appraisal is going to come in as low as is reasonable, to maximize the chance of it selling at auction. Every once in a while questions about low appraisals at trustee sales hit the site. The short answer is Microsoft Standard: "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" and from the bank's point of view, it is. So even though the property might sell for $500,000 in the normal course of things, the appraisal might come in at $440,000, meaning that someone has to bid $396,000 in order to buy the property at auction. The appraisal might be even lower, but let's say $440,000.



If someone bids $396,000 at auction (assuming they actually are able to consummate the transaction), they own the property. Less transfer costs, the bank gets maybe $380,000, of which the note is now for $234,000, and $300,000 of equity has dropped to $146,000.



But that's not usually what happens. What's usually happened is that the owners have financed it out to at least $375,000, hoping to be able to stave off foreclosure, and by similar math, they now owe roughly $425,000. How much do they get when the bank only got $380,000?



If the property doesn't sell at auction, the bank now owns it. Now they have to hire a listing agent, and offer a cooperating buyer's broker percentage, and while the listing agent looks for a buyer, the money owed keeps earning interest. Let's say the property eventually sells for $410,000, and the bank spends 7 to 8 percent of that getting it sold, so that their net is maybe $380,000. Even if you originally owed $200,000, by the time everything is said and done, you might owe $250,000 or more, leaving perhaps $120,000 coming back to the original owner.



Now, if the owners were to short-circuit the whole process by selling successfully for that same $410,000 (almost 20% less than comparable properties might sell for) before the trustee's sale happens, and if they spend that same 7.5% to get it sold, they get about $380,000, of which they'll get to keep approximately $160,000, more than it is likely they will keep under the best possible outcome if the property went to trustee's sale.



So if you cannot afford your payments, and you're looking down the road at a trustee's sale, it is usually in your best interests to get the property sold before that happens. The lenders will generally be as accommodating as they reasonably can if you ask them and keep them in touch with what is going on. They don't make money on foreclosures; they don't want to foreclose. Thanks to California's Home Equity Sales Contract Act, once the Notice of Default hits, you are unlikely to be able to do business with investors except on an "emergency sale for 60% of value" basis (that being about what the those "Cash for houses" folks offer), so the sooner you act, the more money you will likely come away with.



Caveat Emptor



UPDATED here

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2 Comments

S. Hooven Author Profile Page said:

I got behind 5 months, in months of 01/2010 to 05/2010. Home was paid cash for in 11/2000,took out a first mortgage in amount of 75thou.House went into default, I sent in 3thou in 05/2010, and another 1200.00 before end of 06/2010. They sent the money back, said loan was in default, could not accept monies. In June started process to modify loan, in the Making Home Affloan. Original loan was 8.25%. During time was being reviewed for the mod. loan house went to auction 08/03/2010, was postponed. It took bank from 06/2010 to 11/23/2010 to disqualify us for loan because we owned over 200,000 in stock. A few more auction postponements, we were in review for the loan. Did not receive notice did not qualify for that loan mod. till first week of 12/2010. Contacted bank, they said had other modification loans,(in house loans) sent in more financials, this was 12/06/2010, found out new auction date was 12/07/2010, they postponed sale, was in review for loan restructure. Next thing I know called them on 12/20/2010, told me was an aution date for 12/23/2010. I was told was too close to sale date to file paperwork for a new loan mod. to keep calling back to see if got a postponement. To make a real long story short, 12/23/2010, came sold our house valued at between 500,000 to 600,000 dollars for under 97,000. Then today 12/30/2010 received 2 letters from bank telling me want to work with us, keep us in our home and referenced our phone conversation on 12/23/2010, and asked for me to send more financial info, they have many programs to restructure the loan. I just want people to know what the banks are doing. If you could get this story out there, someone need to know what happened to us, ours was a rare case, but people need to know.

Dan Melson Author Profile Page said:

Let's get this straight: You had $200k in stock, and chose not to make payments on or pay off a $75k lien, and thereby lost a $600k house.

I'm sorry you lost your house, but it's hard to have much sympathy. You borrowed that money and were clearly able to pay. Perhaps it wouldn't have been comfortable for some reason, but when you borrow money, you are obligated to pay it back.

Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites) All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on January 22, 2007 10:00 AM.

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