Power of Sale: Proceed with Caution


Power of Sale Proceedings - Howard Nightingale Professional Corporation

To prepare a Power of Sale Proceeding, Howard Nightingale conducts the following steps on the client’s behalf:



  • Take instruction, searches, interviews, attendances, drawing and serving notice
  • Handle negotiations leading to completion of the sale
  • Draw the declarations of default and service and other supporting material
  • Attend on making declarations and preparing deposits

The Latin expression, caveat emptor clearly applies to power of sale. As Howard Nightingale advises in the following article posted on Marisha Robinsky Real Estate Agent’s Website, and reproduced below, Power of Sale proceedings is indeed a case of BUYER BEWARE.

Power of Sale: Proceed with Caution

A Power of Sale happens when a mortgagor (borrower) cannot or does not pay his or her mortgage payments. The mortgagee (lender) then steps in to sell the property and from the proceeds of sale will pay itself back for the monies owing by the registered owner under the mortgage. Buyers looking for properties being sold under Power of Sale envisage a bargain, expecting to purchase the property for the proverbial “song”. However, it is best to recall the caution that if a deal looks too good to be true, it likely is.

At least one real estate company has injected some advice into the discussion, (see Buying a “Power of Sale”? Exercise Some Caution) but even that website doesn’t suggest that you will need legal advice to steer you through the pitfalls.

While the price may indeed be lower in a Power of Sale proceeding than in an ordinary real estate transaction, there are inherent risks, which sometimes make the supposedly ‘great deal’ not worthwhile.

In ordinary real estate transactions, the seller is the owner. The seller will provide to the buyer certain statements as to building and zoning compliance, urea formaldehyde foam insulation, payment of utilities, payment of property taxes, the existence of tenants, contamination of lands, etc. However, this does not happen in a Power of Sale proceeding.

In a Power of Sale proceeding, it may not be the owner but the mortgagee who is selling the property. The mortgagee is obligated to obtain fair market value for the property. As the mortgagee is not the owner, the mortgagee cannot provide the buyer with the same guarantees as an owner typically can. Therefore, the purchaser might not get statements from the mortgagee ascertaining that there is no urea formaldehyde foam insulation in the property, that the utilities are paid up to date, and that there is a last month’s deposit for tenants. The mortgagee will not know if proper permits were obtained for any renovations and additions to the buildings. The mortgagee is not obligated to provide a Declaration of Possession for any issues dealing with the use of the land, nor will the mortgagee provide a Survey Declaration for the positioning of the building(s) on the lands.

If this is a commercial or industrial property, the mortgagee will not provide a Declaration as to soil contamination, a requirement of any commercial lender in financing the purchase.

While title insurance can insure you against some of these risks, it cannot insure you against all of the hazards associated with a Power of Sale proceeding. The caveat “buyer beware” applies equally to an ordinary real estate transaction as it does to a Power of Sale transaction, but there are specific inherent risks along with those hoped for opportunities in a power of sale purchase.


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