Can a private lender foreclose and take property bacak instead of the property going to auction?
In California nearly all foreclosures are nonjudicial accomplished by trustee's sales, and the lender (bank or private) may usually make a credit bid (bidding up to the total amount of the unpaid debt). It is more likely than not that the procedure followed was as described above. In the rare case that there was not a proper trustee's sale (auction), then there has not been a legal foreclosure and you would still be the owner. If there was any equity worth saving in the property you should consider employing counsel.