Foreclosure Law in Pennsylvania
In Forest Hills, Pennsylvania is a process allowing 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 usually 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 usually 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.
In every U.S. state, including Pennsylvania, a borrower has a right to a judicial sale of their foreclosed property. A judicial sale is simply an auction overseen by a court. The purpose of this is to make sure that the lender takes reasonable steps to sell the home for the highest possible price, and to ensure that the homeowner has an opportunity to bid on the house, if he or she is able. It is in everybody's interest for the bank to get the highest price possible for the house, even the borrower's. If the house fetches a higher price than what's left on the mortgage, the buyer can keep what's leftover. On the other hand, if it fetches less, the buyer might have to pay the deficiency.
In some states, original mortgages are known as "non-recourse" loans, making the above problem a non-issue. This basically means that once the mortgaged property is sold by the lender, the debt is discharged, even if the sale nets less than the remaining balance on the mortgage. The borrower will simply have to write this off as a loss. However, this usually does not apply to refinanced or second mortgages.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Forest Hills, Pennsylvania
It is absolutely essential that you maintain a line of communication with your lender. Your can't expect your lender to accommodate your changed financial situation if they don't know about it. Ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away is the worst possible solution.
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 primarily 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.
It's possible that your lender is willing to negotiate a plan that results in temporarily-lower payments on your mortgage, especially if this means that they will be able to get some payments, instead of none at all.
Finally, there is the "short sale." Usually considered a last resort, a short sale results in the borrower losing their home, but discharges almost all of their remaining mortgage debt. If the house is worth far less than the balance of the mortgage, this might be a good option. In Pennsylvania, when a house is sold in a short sale, the proceeds go to the lender. If it sells for less than the mortgage balance, whatever's leftover is forgiven. If it sells for more, the surplus goes to the homeowner.
Can a Forest Hills, Pennsylvania real estate attorney help?
If you live in Forest Hills, Pennsylvania and believe that your house is in danger of being foreclosed, you may have more options and protections than you think. You may not know what all of them are, but an experienced real estate lawyer probably will.