Foreclosure Law in Pennsylvania
In Philadelphia County, 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.
Foreclosure most often is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will usually try to get rid of the property as quickly as they can, selling it for as much money as they can get in a short period of time.
In every state, including Pennsylvania, homeowners have the option to go through what is known as a foreclosure by judicial sale. Basically, this means a court will oversee the sale of the house to ensure that the bank makes reasonable efforts to sell it for as high a price as possible (to help avoid a deficiency that the borrower may have to pay), and to ensure that any money which might be left over from the sale (after the balance on the mortgage is paid) goes to the borrower.
In a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan known as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most basically 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 Philadelphia County, 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.
You must keep in mind that banks are in the business of lending money, not flipping property: the bank doesn't really want your house. To that end, they'll sometimes go to great lengths to accommodate your financial situation, whatever it may be. For banks, foreclosure is a last resort.
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.
As a last resort, some borrowers consider a "short sale." In a short sale, the homeowner sells the house to the highest bidder, and uses the proceeds to pay off the remaining debt. If there is any extra from the sale, it goes to the borrower. If the sale price is worth less than what's left of the mortgage in Pennsylvania, the remaining debt is discharged.
Can a Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania real estate attorney help?
In Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, dealing with a possible foreclosure is never easy. However, the assistance of a good real estate lawyer can make the whole process much more bearable, and possibly delay or even prevent the foreclosure altogether.