Clarification on Right of Redemption in Alabama

37 Replies

I'm hoping someone can help provide some clarity to me regarding the right of redemption law in Alabama.

Say a property is foreclosed and sold back to the bank on the courthouse steps.  The bank turns around and sells the property to a 3rd party for a lesser amount.  If, still within 1 year from the original foreclosure sale, the prior owner elects to redeem the property, would they owe the 3rd party the amount that the bank bid to originally take back the property?  Or, would they owe what the 3rd party had paid to purchase the property from the bank?

I realize that the owner of the right of redemption would also owe interest, taxes, insurance premiums, and "necessary permanent improvements".  What constitutes a necessary permanent improvement?

The redeeming party would be required to pay the current property owner:

1.  The full purchase price of the property paid by the party which is the grantor of the redemption.
2.  Closing costs and fees related to sale/purchase
3.  Cost of all permanent repairs on the property
4.  Any taxes and insurance paid
5.  Carry interest of any debt secured by property.

I don't believe "necessary" is a word in the statue.  As if you purchase the property and update the kitchen from simply an out dated look that is not necessary but is recoverable.

Essentially, if you get served a redemption notice you have to put together the line item costs that the redeeming party must pay to you in order for you to surrender title back.  

The action is between the redeeming party and the [at the time] current property owner, as that is the party who can give title back.  

Redemption rights and process are state specific.  

My understanding and experience is that the foreclosed homeowner would owe the bank's bid amount to redeem. So say bank foreclosed for $120k bid then you purchase for $100k, the homeowner would owe the $120k plus the statutory allowed charges (interest, taxes, insurance, etc).

The work done to the property is a little tricky, but really favors the investor for the most part. I am definitely not a lawyer (don't consider this legal advice) but I have bought many properties on the courthouse steps as well as REOs. I don't think the statue reads "necessary permanent improvements".... it just reads "permanent improvements". Also it is the value of these improvements that is owed not the cost which can be quite subjective. You could add a $50,000 pool but it only increase the property value $10,000. Conversely you can rehab the property for $20k and it increase the value $75k. This amount for improvements is based on appraisals and not necessarily the cost to you (although receipts for work would certainly help prove the point). The process of establishing value is a bit convoluted, but well defined by the statue. Its great reading if you are having trouble falling asleep! Regardless the odds of redemption are so low that it is worth taking the shot, just dot your I's and cross your T's and document everything well with before, during and after pics.

Good luck.

Also, keep in mind that if they redeem, all other liens go back on the property. Many "deals" that happen on the courthouse steps are for a small first mortgage, but there is no equity in the property once taxes, liens, judgements, 2nd & 3rd mortgages come in to play. Very rarely is there any real equity that redeeming would make sense to do. Usually the first mortgage forecloses which wipes out all the lesser priority stuff, but those don't just disappear if you redeem! This is one of the major reasons redeeming is so rare.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/6/5/14A/6-5-248

https://deniselevans.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/alab...

No. The redeeming party pays the current title owner the actual purchase price not the reserve bid by the foreclosing party. So if the bank reserves $100k and gets title then sells the REO for $120k the redeeming party owes the $120k. If the sale price is less then the reserve, say $80k, then the redeeming party owes $80k. Once the property resells the reserve bid has no affinity to redemption.

Unless the foreclosing party still retains title, then the redemption amount is the loan Total Payoff.  

Improvements are a cost basis not a value add.  Improvements are not costed by appraisals but rather receipts.  

In a redemption event the [new] investor/owner does not get to make a gain they get to be made whole. 

@Jared Irby is correct, @Dion DePaoli is wrong. The Redemption Price for an Alabama foreclosure starts with the final auction bid price on the courthouse steps, NOT the amount the foreclosure buyer (whether bank or 3rd party investor) re-sells the property for. In Dion's example, the redemption price starts at $100,000, not $120,000.  Then, you add on interest at 7.5% (changed from 12% in 2011) and reimbursement for casualty insurance premiums and the VALUE of all permanent improvements. They do not need to be necessary, nor do they need to be repairs. But, you can also collect for repairs, because those are also considered "permanent improvements." 

If you own both the real estate and the note/mortgage that gave rise to the foreclosure, then the redeeming party must pay the full payoff of the note with all accrued interest, not just the courthouse steps bid price.  Often, you can negotiate purchasing the note in addition to the property if it is a local or regional lender. The trusts will never sell you the note. 

If the investor acquires any of the other liens on the property--such as subordinate mortgages or judgment liens--at a discount, then the redeeming party must also pay the full face amount of those liens in order to redeem.

Alabama law is very clear, it is the value of the improvements, not the cost. I see that Dion is from Florida, which might have different rules. His advice on improvements is incorrect for Alabama. The Alabama statue says value, and all case authority going back for almost a century says it is the value.

Former owner redeeming is rarely the problem. Other investors trying to snatch your deal away from you are frequently a problem. Also, there is a growing trend of what I call extortionists, who acquire redemption rights and then threaten to redeem, but will go away if you pay them off.

Finally, Jared is also right that if the owner redeems, all liens come back on the property, same as before the foreclosure. Otherwise, people would "launder" their titles by letting a foreclosure happen, and then redeeming.

Last finally--a warning about foreclosures on or after January 1, 2016. If the property owner claimed a homestead exemption for their real estate taxes for the year of the foreclosure, then there is only a six month right of redemption, rather than the regular one year right of redemption. BUT, the lender must provide certain required notices to the borrower and in the newspaper notices of the foreclosure. If the notices are not provided properly, then the foreclosure is still valid, but the redemption clock does not start ticking down until the notices ARE provided properly. There is a 2-year statute of limitations, so that even if the notices are wrong, the redemption rights cannot be longer than 2 years. As a result, depending on circumstances and doing things properly or not, starting in 2016, Alabama redemption rights could be as short as six months or as long as 2 years.

Some interesting reading here. So IRS redemption rights are at a minimum 120 days, but they follow state law as to minimum redemption period so in AL you would have six months to possibly two years on IRS redemption. But IRS does not pay on improvements when they redeem - that could make it messy for rehabbing if the redemption gets drawn out. 

Originally posted by @Dion DePaoli :

No. The redeeming party pays the current title owner the actual purchase price not the reserve bid by the foreclosing party. So if the bank reserves $100k and gets title then sells the REO for $120k the redeeming party owes the $120k. If the sale price is less then the reserve, say $80k, then the redeeming party owes $80k. Once the property resells the reserve bid has no affinity to redemption.

Unless the foreclosing party still retains title, then the redemption amount is the loan Total Payoff.  

Improvements are a cost basis not a value add.  Improvements are not costed by appraisals but rather receipts.  

In a redemption event the [new] investor/owner does not get to make a gain they get to be made whole. 

 Dion- The Alabama statues really confused me when I first started too as it is somewhat convoluted and backwards. 25+ foreclosures later I finally have it! Its definitely the sale price at the auction (or if you own the note too then the full face value). The same thing happens when the investor resells to an end buyer during the redemption period. The original bid is $120k. Say I buy for $100k. Sell for $160k. The previous homeowner can actually redeem for $120k + statue allowed charges from the new homeowner even though they paid $160k! This is why most mortgage companies make the investor/seller purchase a redemption bond to protect that "$40k" difference between the redemption amount and the ultimate sales price. Sounds like a barrel of monkeys huh?

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :

Some interesting reading here. So IRS redemption rights are at a minimum 120 days, but they follow state law as to minimum redemption period so in AL you would have six months to possibly two years on IRS redemption. But IRS does not pay on improvements when they redeem - that could make it messy for rehabbing if the redemption gets drawn out. 

 IRS redemption rights are superior to everything but they are only 120 days. In saying that, the redemption period only exists if proper notice is actually given to the IRS by the foreclosing trustee. The couple times I have bought with these liens in place, it has been done correctly, but you should definitely make sure proper notice was given or the IRS lien technically remains in place.

Originally posted by @Jared Irby :
Originally posted by @Steve Babiak:

Some interesting reading here. So IRS redemption rights are at a minimum 120 days, but they follow state law as to minimum redemption period so in AL you would have six months to possibly two years on IRS redemption. But IRS does not pay on improvements when they redeem - that could make it messy for rehabbing if the redemption gets drawn out. 

 IRS redemption rights are superior to everything but they are only 120 days. In saying that, the redemption period only exists if proper notice is actually given to the IRS by the foreclosing trustee. The couple times I have bought with these liens in place, it has been done correctly, but you should definitely make sure proper notice was given or the IRS lien technically remains in place.

I disagree on duration of redemption period as you posted it; see link below for 26 U. S. C. §7425(d)(1) {scroll down for part d}:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7425

And if the proper notices aren't served upon the USA, then the IRS lien survives, it is not discharged. That is being discussed in another thread that I just posted in ...

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :
Originally posted by @Jared Irby:
Originally posted by @Steve Babiak:

Some interesting reading here. So IRS redemption rights are at a minimum 120 days, but they follow state law as to minimum redemption period so in AL you would have six months to possibly two years on IRS redemption. But IRS does not pay on improvements when they redeem - that could make it messy for rehabbing if the redemption gets drawn out. 

 IRS redemption rights are superior to everything but they are only 120 days. In saying that, the redemption period only exists if proper notice is actually given to the IRS by the foreclosing trustee. The couple times I have bought with these liens in place, it has been done correctly, but you should definitely make sure proper notice was given or the IRS lien technically remains in place.

I disagree on duration of redemption period as you posted it; see link below for 26 U. S. C. §7425(d)(1) {scroll down for part d}:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7425

And if the proper notices aren't served upon the USA, then the IRS lien survives, it is not discharged. That is being discussed in another thread that I just posted in ...

 Maybe so... I have dealt with it twice and both times the title company told me it was 120 days, but there is a possibility its longer. I just know it is superior and they have to have notice or the lien stays in place.

Originally posted by @Denise Evans :

@Jared Irby is correct, @Dion DePaoli is wrong. The Redemption Price for an Alabama foreclosure starts with the final auction bid price on the courthouse steps, NOT the amount the foreclosure buyer (whether bank or 3rd party investor) re-sells the property for. In Dion's example, the redemption price starts at $100,000, not $120,000.  Then, you add on interest at 7.5% (changed from 12% in 2011) and reimbursement for casualty insurance premiums and the VALUE of all permanent improvements. They do not need to be necessary, nor do they need to be repairs. But, you can also collect for repairs, because those are also considered "permanent improvements." 

If you own both the real estate and the note/mortgage that gave rise to the foreclosure, then the redeeming party must pay the full payoff of the note with all accrued interest, not just the courthouse steps bid price.  Often, you can negotiate purchasing the note in addition to the property if it is a local or regional lender. The trusts will never sell you the note. 

If the investor acquires any of the other liens on the property--such as subordinate mortgages or judgment liens--at a discount, then the redeeming party must also pay the full face amount of those liens in order to redeem.

Alabama law is very clear, it is the value of the improvements, not the cost. I see that Dion is from Florida, which might have different rules. His advice on improvements is incorrect for Alabama. The Alabama statue says value, and all case authority going back for almost a century says it is the value.

Former owner redeeming is rarely the problem. Other investors trying to snatch your deal away from you are frequently a problem. Also, there is a growing trend of what I call extortionists, who acquire redemption rights and then threaten to redeem, but will go away if you pay them off.

Finally, Jared is also right that if the owner redeems, all liens come back on the property, same as before the foreclosure. Otherwise, people would "launder" their titles by letting a foreclosure happen, and then redeeming.

Last finally--a warning about foreclosures on or after January 1, 2016. If the property owner claimed a homestead exemption for their real estate taxes for the year of the foreclosure, then there is only a six month right of redemption, rather than the regular one year right of redemption. BUT, the lender must provide certain required notices to the borrower and in the newspaper notices of the foreclosure. If the notices are not provided properly, then the foreclosure is still valid, but the redemption clock does not start ticking down until the notices ARE provided properly. There is a 2-year statute of limitations, so that even if the notices are wrong, the redemption rights cannot be longer than 2 years. As a result, depending on circumstances and doing things properly or not, starting in 2016, Alabama redemption rights could be as short as six months or as long as 2 years.

Thanks for the response Denise.  In followup to the part in bold above, are these investors purchasing the right of redemption from the foreclosed party in order to exercise that right to "snatch" another investor's deal? If so, would someone in my position be able to track down the former owner and purchase the right from them as an assurance that the owner or anyone else can't redeem? Or better yet could the former owner just sign something legally waiving their right of redemption? 

Yes, Cooper, they are buying redemption rights from the former owner. You can purchase those same rights, as "insurance" if you are the investor. You just have to make sure you get "top level" redemption rights.  The mortgagor has topmost redemption rights, then the borrower,  if those are two different people/entities. Here is what the statute says: 

Section 6-5-248 Who may redeem; priorities.

(a) Where real estate, or any interest therein, is sold the same may be redeemed by:

(1) Any debtor, including any surety or guarantor.

(2) Any mortgagor, even if such mortgagor is not personally liable for payment of a debt.

(3) Any junior mortgagee, or its transferee.

(4) Judgment creditor, or its transferee.

(5) Any transferee of the interests of the debtor or mortgagor, either before or after the sale. A transfer of any kind made by the debtor or mortgagor will accomplish a transfer of the interests of that party.

(6) The respective spouses of all debtors, mortgagors, or transferees of any interest of the debtor or mortgagor, who are spouses on the day of the execution, judgment, or foreclosure sale.

(7) Children, heirs, or devisees of any debtor or mortgagor.

(b) All persons named or enumerated in subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(7) may exercise the right of redemption granted by this article within one year from the date of the sale. [Note: the one year rule will change on 1/1/16]

(c) When any judgment creditor or junior mortgagee or any transferee of a judgment creditor or a junior mortgagee redeems under this article, all recorded judgments, recorded mortgages and recorded liens having a higher recorded priority in existence at the time of the sale are revived against the real estate redeemed and against the redeeming party and such shall become lawful charges pursuant to Section 6-5-253(a)(4) to be paid off at redemption.

Once any lienholder, recorded judgment creditor, or junior mortgagee is paid the amount of such person's debt and any accrued interest and other contractual charges, such person has no further right to redeem.

Any lienholder, recorded judgment creditor, or junior mortgagee with a lower recorded priority may redeem from those having a higher recorded priority who have redeemed.

(d) When any debtor, mortgagor, their transferees, their respective spouses, children, heirs, or devisees redeem, all recorded judgments, recorded mortgages, and recorded liens in existence at the time of the sale, are revived against the real estate redeemed and against the redeeming party and further redemption by some party other than the mortgagor or debtor under this article is precluded.

(e) When any debtor or mortgagor conveys his interest in property subject to a mortgage prior to sale wherein they are released from liability for the debt, his right of redemption under this article is terminated. In the same manner, the right of redemption granted under this article to the spouses, children, heirs, or devisees of debtors or mortgagors terminates when the debtors or mortgagors have conveyed their interests in the property and are released from liability for the debt.

However, where debtors or mortgagors have conveyed their interests in the property but remain liable on the debt and are debtors at the date of the foreclosure sale, the debtors and mortgagors retain their right of redemption under this article and in the same manner, their spouses, children, heirs or devisees continue to be entitled to the right of redemption under this article.

(f) A redemption made by any person under this article, other than the debtors or mortgagors, and their respective spouses, children, heirs, or devisees, shall preclude any further redemption by such person.

(g) Subject to subsection (e), a mortgagor and debtor have priority over any other redeeming party and a mortgagor has priority over a debtor.

This is the redemption price tag statute:

Section 6-5-253 Payment or tender of purchase money and other lawful charges, with interest.

(a) Anyone entitled and desiring to redeem real estate under the provisions of this article must also pay or tender to the purchaser or his or her transferee the purchase price paid at the sale, with interest at the rate allowed to be charged on money judgments as set forth in Section 8-8-10 (as it is now or hereinafter may be amended), and all other lawful charges, also with interest as aforesaid; lawful charges are the following:

(1) Permanent improvements as prescribed herein.

(2) Taxes paid or assessed.

(3) All insurance premiums paid or owed by the purchaser.

(4) Any other valid lien or encumbrance paid or owned by such purchaser or his or her transferee or if the redeeming party is a judgment creditor or junior mortgagee or any transferee thereof, then all recorded judgments, recorded mortgages and recorded liens having a higher priority in existence at the time of sale which are revived under Section 6-5-248(c).

If the redemption is made from a person who at the time of redemption owned the debt for which the property was sold, the redemptioner must also pay any balance due on the debt, with interest as aforesaid thereon to date.

(5) Mortgagees of the purchaser, or their transferees, are considered transferees of the purchaser, and a party redeeming must pay all mortgages made by the purchaser or his or her transferee on the land to the extent of the purchase price.

If the purchaser's mortgages do not exceed the amount of the purchase price, the balance must be paid to the purchaser.

(b) If the redeeming party is the debtor, mortgagor, their respective spouses, children, heirs, or devisees then, unless otherwise provided herein, the judgments, mortgages, and liens revived pursuant to 6-5-248(d) are not lawful charges as defined in subsection (a).

(c) The purchaser shall be entitled to all rents paid or accrued including oil and gas or mineral agreement rentals to the date of the redemption, and the rents must be prorated to such date. The purchaser or his or her transferee and his or her tenants shall have the right to harvest and gather the crops grown by them on the place for the year in which the redemption is made, but must pay a reasonable rent for the lands for the proportion of the current year to which such redemptioner may be entitled.

(d) Any one entitled and desiring to redeem shall be granted a credit as against the amount of money required to be paid for redemption as follows:

(1) For all timber cut or sold on the land by the purchaser or his or her transferees, during the statutory period of redemption.

(2) For any oil and gas, minerals (including coal bed gas), sand, and gravel, taken from the land or sold, and for advanced royalties or bonuses received by the purchaser or his or her transferees, during the statutory period of redemption.

(3) To the extent the value of the property is diminished when any structures or buildings are changed, removed, demolished, or destroyed by the purchaser or his or her transferees during the statutory period of redemption.

This is the statute about determining the value of permanent improvements:

Section 6-5-254 Payment of value of permanent improvements; how value of improvements ascertained.

(a) Any person offering to redeem must pay to the then holder of the legal title the value of all permanent improvements made on the land since the sale, and if the holder of the legal title cannot be ascertained, payment may be made to the circuit court of the county having jurisdiction of the subject matter when the complaint is filed to redeem. In response to written demand made under Section 6-5-252, the then holder of the legal title shall, within 10 days from the receipt of such demand, furnish the proposed redemptioner with the amount claimed as the value of such permanent improvements; and within 10 days after receipt of such response, the proposed redemptioner either shall accept the value so stated by the then holder of the legal title or, disagreeing therewith, shall appoint a referee to ascertain the value of such permanent improvements and in writing notify the then holder of the legal title of his or her disagreement and of the fact and name of the referee appointed by him or her. Within 10 days after the receipt of such notice, the then holder of the legal title shall appoint a referee to ascertain the value of the permanent improvements and advise the proposed redemptioner of the name of the appointee. The two referees shall, within 10 days after the then holder of the legal title has appointed his or her referee, meet and confer upon the award to be made by them. If they cannot agree, the referees shall at once appoint an umpire, and the award by a majority of such body shall be made within 10 days after the appointment of the umpire and shall be final between the parties.

(b) If a person offering to redeem fails or refuses to nominate a referee as provided in subsection (a) of this section, he or she must pay the value put upon the improvements by the then holder of the legal title. If the then holder of the legal title fails or refuses to appoint a referee, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the then holder of the legal title shall forfeit his or her claim to compensation for such improvements. The failure of the referees, or either of them, to act or to appoint an umpire shall not operate to impair or to forfeit the right of either the proposed redemptioner or of the then holder of the legal title in the premises; and, in the event of failure without fault of the parties to effect an award, the appropriate court shall proceed to ascertain the true value of such permanent improvements and enforce the redemption accordingly.

@Denise Evans , I realize this is a really old thread, but I'm dealing with it now.  :-)  @Cooper B. asked if we could also get them to sign something to waive their right of redemption.  Is that possible?  I realize I can get reimbursed for the value of any improvements, but I really don't want to deal with that if it's in any way avoidable.  :-P

@Jody Schnurrenberger , a borrower can waive their redemption rights but only AFTER the foreclosure. That is because they do not arise until the foreclosure takes place.  Just getting a quitclaim deed before the foreclosure does not solve the problem, because the law gives redemption rights to the owner (now you, if you have a quitclaim deed) AND the borrower (which might be a different person than the current owner, especially if you have a quitclaim.) 

Other people besides borrowers have redemption rights, though. Also spouses, co-borrowers, guarantors, and other lien holders.  If you are going to clean up potential problems by getting redemption rights, get all of them. 

@Jared Irby I jumped on to see if i can get more clarification regarding 180-360 redemption differences and wanted to clear up the IRS liens.  They are not superior to liens they only would be superior if they were recorded prior to the mortgage.  They are only 120 and unless its a big opportunity they will not bother anyone.  

If the bank sells the property to a third party after the court house sale for a lesser price. Then would the third party be entitled to the amount paid at the court house steps? Also, is there anyway in which a redemption will leave an investor with a major loss?

If I buy a tax lien and sale it, if the owner decides to redeem would they have to pay the trasferee what they bought it for? Or just back taxes plus interest and improvements? Say I bought it for 1,000 and sold it for 1,500, would the person who is redeeming pay the 1,500?

@Denise Evans , I am a little (a lot) confused. I thought that if the defaulted mortgage was taken out before 2016 then the right of redemption was a year, but if it was after 2016 (and they had a homestead exemption) it is 6 months. Are you saying when the mortgage was taken out doesn't matter--just that the owner had a homestead exemption on it the year it was foreclosed? 

Also, can insurance or a bond be bought to be protected against the house being redeemed? Can regular people purchase a bond or only mortgage companies (paid for by the seller)?  Or do you have to pay off every family member who might possibly want to redeem?

Thanks,

Colleen

@Colleen Woods , you seem to be referring to something I said, but I'm not on this thread. I write primarily about tax sales and those redemption rights. Some of this thread is about tax sales and some is about foreclosure sales.  Can you please reprint whatever it is you are referring to about me saying things?

Redemption insurance is available only after a foreclosure, and only to lenders who are financing the purchaser. There is no redemption insurance available to protect buyers.  Be sure to mention my name when you answer, so I'll get an email notice that something has been posted.

@Denise Evans , it is in the last paragraph of this post--I underlined it:

@Jared Irby is correct, @Dion DePaoli is wrong. The Redemption Price for an Alabama foreclosure starts with the final auction bid price on the courthouse steps, NOT the amount the foreclosure buyer (whether bank or 3rd party investor) re-sells the property for. In Dion's example, the redemption price starts at $100,000, not $120,000. Then, you add on interest at 7.5% (changed from 12% in 2011) and reimbursement for casualty insurance premiums and the VALUE of all permanent improvements. They do not need to be necessary, nor do they need to be repairs. But, you can also collect for repairs, because those are also considered "permanent improvements."

If you own both the real estate and the note/mortgage that gave rise to the foreclosure, then the redeeming party must pay the full payoff of the note with all accrued interest, not just the courthouse steps bid price. Often, you can negotiate purchasing the note in addition to the property if it is a local or regional lender. The trusts will never sell you the note.

If the investor acquires any of the other liens on the property--such as subordinate mortgages or judgment liens--at a discount, then the redeeming party must also pay the full face amount of those liens in order to redeem.

Alabama law is very clear, it is the value of the improvements, not the cost. I see that Dion is from Florida, which might have different rules. His advice on improvements is incorrect for Alabama. The Alabama statue says value, and all case authority going back for almost a century says it is the value.

Former owner redeeming is rarely the problem. Other investors trying to snatch your deal away from you are frequently a problem. Also, there is a growing trend of what I call extortionists, who acquire redemption rights and then threaten to redeem, but will go away if you pay them off.

Finally, Jared is also right that if the owner redeems, all liens come back on the property, same as before the foreclosure. Otherwise, people would "launder" their titles by letting a foreclosure happen, and then redeeming.

Last finally--a warning about foreclosures on or after January 1, 2016. If the property owner claimed a homestead exemption for their real estate taxes for the year of the foreclosure, then there is only a six month right of redemption, rather than the regular one year right of redemption. BUT, the lender must provide certain required notices to the borrower and in the newspaper notices of the foreclosure. If the notices are not provided properly, then the foreclosure is still valid, but the redemption clock does not start ticking down until the notices ARE provided properly. There is a 2-year statute of limitations, so that even if the notices are wrong, the redemption rights cannot be longer than 2 years. As a result, depending on circumstances and doing things properly or not, starting in 2016, Alabama redemption rights could be as short as six months or as long as 2 years.

Denise Evans