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Understanding the Foreclosure Process

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Foreclosure Process

I Am the Philadelphia Foreclosure Defense Attorney for You

One of the reasons the foreclosure process is so daunting for the average person is due to the fact that it is shrouded in mystery. Your bank or lender is not likely to explain it to you thoroughly, and if they do, expect plenty of legalese that is meant to steer you into more confusion.

At the Law Office of Michael P. Forbes, PC, I do my best to help my clients not only understand the foreclosure process in Pennsylvania but also prepare for it.

If you know you need help with the foreclosure process, do not delay in retaining the legal services you need. Contact my firm as soon as possible and we can start you down the right path after an initial case evaluation.

Breaking Down the Foreclosure Process

Initial Notices

In Pennsylvania, the process of foreclosure commences after you, the borrower, becomes at least 60 days late on their mortgage payments. Before the lender starts foreclosure, they will generally have to send out two letters through the mail to notify you of their intent to begin foreclosure soon. This is also the time you should contact a Philadelphia foreclosure defense attorney. Once the first letter is in your hand, you can start to figure out what the lender wants and how to challenge or delay it.

Second Chances

Upon reception of the first notice, you may have anywhere between two and four months to come up with a way to stop the foreclosure proceeding. Together with your lawyer, you can look for an alternative to foreclosure, such as bankruptcy, loan modifications, or bringing the actual validity of the foreclosure into question.

Lawsuits

If you fail to find a solution, or cannot find one that works for you, to stop the foreclosure, the lender will file a lawsuit against you to come up with the amount due. When the lender goes to court, this is called a judicial foreclosure proceeding and will rely on the court’s final judgement for resolution. In most cases, the Court of Common Pleas in your county will have final jurisdiction, and may order that the property be sold as a publicly noticed sale.

How Long Does the Foreclosure Process Take?

There is no set schedule for a foreclosure process in Pennsylvania. The specifics of your case and the court’s own agenda can add or subtract a few weeks here and there from the total timeline. On average, you can expect at least 120 days to pass before an uncontested foreclosure is finalized.

The foreclosure process may take even longer if you contest it by:

  • Filing for bankruptcy
  • Seek adjournments
  • Call for additional hearings

Keep in mind that elongating the foreclosure process is not necessarily a bad thing. In many ways, it can be to your advantage as it gives you more time to work on your case, whereas your opposition, the lender, is probably too tied up in other foreclosure proceedings to use the extra time to their advantage. Always speak to your attorney to see if challenging or delaying the process is the right choice for you.

Time Limits and Sheriff Sales

You, the borrower, need to keep in mind that you have just 20 days to file an answer to a foreclosure complaint; otherwise, a notice of default can be entered. Before the notice of default can be filed, the lender must give you at least 10 days’ notice and another 30 days’ notice before the foreclosure sale can take place by the sheriff. The sheriff will notify you by delivering a copy of the notice directly and by putting a handbill on the property itself. Furthermore, the sale of your home will be advertised weekly for three consecutive weeks in a local newspaper and legal publications.

The sale will be a public auction overseen by the county sheriff. Normally, 1 to 2 months will pass after the court order before the sale begins. The foreclosed property is auctioned to the highest bidder, whereby the sheriff completes necessary paperwork and officially transfers the ownership to the new owner.

After the sheriff sale has completed, the bank will request that the court order you to be evicted from the property. In most cases, all that is necessary for them to obtain an eviction order is proof that the title was transferred, which grants the new owner or lender the right to live on or control the property. In many cases, there are only a few days before the eviction process begins.

Need Legal Support? Call (610) 991-3321 Today

Once a house is sold in Pennsylvania, there is no right of redemption, and a deficiency judgement may be used against the borrower. This means that you may owe the difference between what the property sold for at auction and what you owed on the original loan. All in all, the consequences of foreclosure could absolutely devastate your future stability.

With the help of a reputable Philadelphia foreclosure defense attorney like myself, you may be able to utilize several time- and trial-tested techniques to save your home and finances. My goal is to take control of the situation, evaluate all your options, and do everything in my power to get you to a comfortable, beneficial solution. If you have questions, I have the answers.

To learn more, be sure to submit our online contact form to request your free consultation.

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