Foreclosure Differs from Repossession

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 7, 2015 | Go to article overview

Foreclosure Differs from Repossession


Q. The recent letter from the person whose home was foreclosed on in 2008 and then, when it sold at auction for more than the mortgage owed, asked if he/she could "recoup any of the surplus" was a classic! How does someone that "stuck" someone have the nerve to go back to them and ask for "what they're owed." Excuse me. When you didn't pay for something, it no longer is yours!

A. Maybe you're thinking of repossessed cars -- I don't know how that works. But in real estate, the house still belongs to the homeowners, even while it's put up for a foreclosure auction. The house is in their name, and they have put their money into it in the past.

Proceeds from the auction sale will be used to pay the house's debts -- any overdue taxes, legal costs of foreclosure, and -- if there's enough -- what's owed to the lender. If the sale price was so high that there's money left after all that, the rest would indeed belong to the homeowners. That seldom happens, but it would be only fair.

That ex-owner who wrote me knew the sale had brought more than he owed on his mortgage. I suspect, though, that he hadn't taken into account back taxes, overdue interest, late fees and the like. And in any case, he'd waited almost seven years to look into the matter -- probably too late even if he had been entitled to anything.

Q. My wife and her brother had a deed to their mother's house. The deed is dated July 2005. My mother-in-law passed away this past October.

Her house was purchased in 1954 for $12,000. It was sold last month for $154,000. I know my wife and her brother will have to pay capital gains tax on $142,000. …

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