Foreclosure Law in Pennsylvania
In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is a process permitting a lender of a mortgage to take possession or ownership of the property that secured the mortgage in the first place, to cut their losses when a borrower defaults on his or her loan.
A foreclosure normally involves a forced sale of the house at auction, so the bank can recover at least some of the loss it has incurred as a result of the default. Banks normally want to rid themselves of the property as soon as possible, collect as much money as they can from the sale, and then move on.
Like every other state in the U.S., Pennsylvania authorizes homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a procedure through which a court oversees the sale of the house by the lender. The purpose is to see that the lender takes reasonable steps to notify the public of the auction, and other steps to ensure that the house sells for the highest price possible. This is meant to protect the borrower, making it less likely that they'll have to pay a large deficiency judgment (the remaining amount due on the mortgage if the house sells for less than the remaining balance).
In a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan recognized as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most essentially means that, once the house is sold, and the sale price doesn't cover what the borrower owes, the lender can't go after the borrower for the remainder. They simply have to take the loss.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
First and foremost, you need to communicate with your lender, and not dismiss the issue. Ignoring a problem with your mortgage will not make it go away, and can only make things worse. You should be straightforward with your lender, and stay in touch with them as much as possible.
Throughout all this, you should remember one thing: the bank doesn't really want your house. After all, banks aren't real estate speculators, they're mainly money lenders. They stand to make a great deal of money if you are able to make your mortgage payments until it's paid off. They're likely to make much less if they're forced to sell your house.
If you experience a sudden change in your financial situation, your lender, in an effort to keep you from defaulting, might be willing to accept lower monthly payments, at least temporarily.
As a last resort, you might consider a "short sale," which results in loss of the home, but it normally leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Basically, a short sale in Pennsylvania involves selling the house for whatever price it can fetch. The proceeds from the sale go to the lender, and if it sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the balance of the debt is forgiven.
Can a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and want to try to prevent this, the advice and assistance of an accomplished real estate lawyer can mean the difference between keeping or losing your home.