Foreclosure Law in Pennsylvania
In Pittsburgh, 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.
Foreclosure most commonly is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will normally 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. Essentially, 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 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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
It is absolutely necessary that you maintain a line of communication with your lender. Your can't expect your lender to accommodate your altered 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 funds, not flipping property: the bank doesn't really want your house. To that end, they'll occasionally go to great lengths to accommodate your financial situation, whatever it may be. For banks, foreclosure is a last resort.
Because banks don't specifically enjoy foreclosing, they will probably be willing to work out an alternative payment plan with you, if necessary. Nonetheless, if you think that this might be needed in the near future, you should contact your lender immediately. The sooner they know about it, the more options you have.
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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania real estate attorney help?
If you live in Pittsburgh, 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 accomplished real estate lawyer probably will.