Foreclosure Law in Pennsylvania
In Columbia, 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).
Some states treat mortgages as "non-recourse loans." A non-recourse loan is one that is secured by the borrower's property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. Essentially, this means that a lender in a foreclosure can take the house that was mortgaged, but nothing else. If the house sells for less than the lender is owed, it cannot go after the borrower.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Columbia, 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.
Bear in mind that banks aren't in the business of real estate speculation - they're in the business of lending money, and making profits through interest on their loans. In short, the bank doesn't really want your house - they'd much rather have you continue making your mortgage payments. For banks, foreclosing on a home is a last resort. Essentially, nobody likes foreclosures, and everyone wants to prevent them.
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.
In Pennsylvania, some buyers have no choice but to resort to a short sale. This is simply the sale of the house, and using the funds to pay off the remainder of the mortgage. One benefit of a short sale is that, if the house sells for less than the mortgage balance, the remaining debt is absolved, and the borrower is free and clear.
Can a Columbia, Pennsylvania real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Columbia, 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.