Pennsylvania's Foreclosure Process, Explained
In comparison to many other states, the Pennsylvania foreclosure process is fairly straightforward. In fact, Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that has a state-funded loan program designed to help homeowners who, because of extenuating circumstances, have found themselves trapped in the foreclosure process and are worried about losing their homes. If you live in Pennsylvania and have just missed your first mortgage payment, or are already deep into the Pennsylvania foreclosure process, do not lose hope. Whether you have found yourself facing foreclosure because of sudden increased interest rates or internal hardships like a death in the family, debilitating illness, or unanticipated loss of wages, there are options to help homeowners get back on their feet. The first step on this path is the understanding of the Pennsylvania foreclosure process.
Stage #1: The homeowner misses the first mortgage payment
Before the Pennsylvania foreclosure process can begin, the loan or service lender must send a written notice of default to you within 30 days of the first missed payment.
If you are 60 days behind on payments and owe a total of less than $50,000, then you will receive an Act 6 notice of intention to foreclosure. This notice must specify seven important points: the balance amount due, the total amount of late charges, a deadline for payment of the sum of both, answer why you are in default, how your ownership can be ended, state your right to transfer to the property, and state that should you fail to cure the default, the full balance of the mortgage will come due.
If a homeowner owes less than $60,000, is not federally insured, and is behind on payments for a period of less than 24 months, they will receive an Act 91 notice. With an Act 91 notice you will want to meet with an experienced and credible credit counselor or similar professional in order to discuss loan modification or restricting. This will have to be done within 33 days of the notice date.
Stage #2: The Pennsylvania foreclosure process begins
If you have not met the necessary requirements by the end of the notice period, the service lender can begin foreclosure. In order to do so, the mortgage lender must file a complaint with the court, proving the homeowner is in default. This initiates a court process; if the court rules in favor of the loan or service lender, it will allow the lender to sell the property through an order of sale.
Even if your case goes to trial, as the mortgage holder you have a right to pay the entire loan between the the time the notice of intention is first received up to an hour before the actual foreclosure sale.
Stage #3: Foreclosure sales
In the Pennsylvania foreclosure process, a house will typically be put on the market within 60 days from the court-issued order of sale. For the sale to be considered legitimate, the local sheriff must comply with Pennsylvania-specific notice requirements such as posting the notices of foreclosure and sale on the property itself and publicly advertising the sale for a minimum of three consecutive weeks before the foreclosure sale itself.
For those facing the Pennsylvania foreclosure process, there are many avenues of help available. Remember it is in the loan or service lender’s best interest to reach an agreement with the homeowner. However, the best way to reach an amiable agreement and to free you from piling payments is to seek professional counsel. Expert legal advisors can ensure that a sustainable loan modification or restructuring package can be obtained in your specific situation, and alleviate yourself from much of the burden of the Pennsylvania foreclosure process.