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Indiana Receiver Sales: Why ... Why Not?

I wanted to post some content before leaving on a vacation to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. Today’s article incorporates material first published back in 2015 and relates to my prior post - Receiver Not Authorized To Sell Property Without Mortgagor’s Consent - which followed another post - Can Indiana receivers sell the subject real estate?  Those pieces begged the question: When would a lender/mortgagee in a commercial foreclosure case want to pursue a receiver’s sale in the first place?

Why? There are a multitude of factors involved in a lender’s decision to pursue a receiver’s sale of the mortgaged real estate. The pros and cons are almost endless and vary depending upon the lender, the borrower, the extent of any competing liens, the nature of the real estate, the purpose of the borrower’s business, if any, that operates on the property and the costs of the auctioneer. With those factors in mind, based upon my experience the following is a list of considerations in favor of seeking a receiver’s sale:

  • The plaintiff lender has no interest in taking title to the real estate.
  • The plaintiff lender desires to quickly cut off its interest in, and thus the attendant expenses associated with ownership of, the real estate. Costs may include real estate taxes, hazard insurance premiums and receivership expenses (for the maintenance/management of the property).
  • The plaintiff lender has reason to believe that there are interested buyers.
  • A defendant junior lien holder may be particularly interested since it should have a greater chance of being paid. A receiver’s sale, due to enhanced and targeted marketing, coupled with a more organized transaction, should net more proceeds than a standard sheriff’s sale.
  • Similarly, a defendant guarantor of the debt may be especially attracted to this option. Since a receiver’s sale theoretically will result in a higher price, the deficiency judgment (if any) should be lower. In other words, a guarantor’s personal liability could be reduced or even eliminated.
  • In complex cases involving multiple competing liens, the replacement of the real estate with a cash fund often triggers, simplifies and expedites a global settlement of the litigation. (Remember that a foreclosure case could last many months, meaning that a sheriff’s sale may be delayed indefinitely.)

Why not? Factors weighing against a receiver’s sale include, but are not limited to:

  • The lender (or current owner of the loan) desires to take ownership of the property.
  • The real estate taxes, hazard insurance and receivership/management costs are tolerable.
  • There is no known, immediate market for the property.
  • Attorney’s fees to obtain court authority for the receiver’s sale, coupled with the fees associated with closing the sale, are higher and otherwise unnecessary in a standard foreclosure case. Also, sheriff’s sales are cheap – a few hundred dollars.
  • The foreclosure case is either uncontested, or there is a realistic possibility for some kind of settlement.
  • Perhaps most importantly, one or more parties, particularly the owner/mortgagor, objects to the receiver’s sale. (Objections to the sale, especially from the mortgagor/owner, create an insurmountable obstacle to obtaining court authority for the sale.)

Hybrid? My old post In Indiana Sheriff’s Sale, Consider The Option Of Using A Private Auctioneer addressed a kind of hybrid between a receiver’s sale and a sheriff’s sale. And, unlike receiver’s sales, there is no question as to the statutory authority for this relief, and mortgagor/owner consent generally isn’t needed. We have not seen many of these types of sheriff’s sales in recent years – (or many commercial foreclosures period due to the healthy economy) – but this statutory alternative should not be forgotten.
Part of my practice includes representing parties in connection with sheriff’s sales. If you need assistance with a similar matter, please call me at 317-639-6151 or email me at [email protected]. Also, don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter @JohnDWaller or on LinkedIn, or you can subscribe to posts via RSS or email as noted on my home page.