A Pennsylvania foreclosure defense attorney can help you slow or stop the mortgage foreclosure process. Sometimes, we defend the foreclosure in order to provide time for a mortgage modification or for you to move. Sometimes, the foreclosure may be procedurally defective. Other times, the bank may incorrectly believe that are late on your mortgage. Foreclosure defense can provide an opportunity to force the bank to prove that they are able to foreclose.
We normally look to other options first when you want to save your house, but if you have already attempted to get a mortgage modification or know there is no way you would qualify for modified mortgage, defending the foreclosure may be a better option for you.
Getting the process started with a foreclosure attorney in Pennsylvania
The foreclosure process can be daunting. To help our clients along the way, we provide a number of free resources to answer your questions and walk you through the process. To start, Attorney Best offers his e-book “Save Your Home: A mortgage attorney’s guide to recovering from late mortgage payments“, for FREE, just by requesting a copy. As part of the ARM Yourself With Knowledge Series, this guide aims to help you navigate the process of recovering from your late mortgage payments and the processes you have available to save your home.
If you would like to discuss your personal situation, just give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss your case. Our consultations are completely free so you have nothing to lose. If you’d prefer to e-mail us, just click here for a free consultation.
How does the Pennsylvania foreclosure process work?
First and foremost, you must understand that foreclosure is a process. It’s the process your lender must go through to enforce its right to force the sale of your home to collect an outstanding debt. How did your lender get this right? You gave it to your lender when you signed the mortgage when you purchased your home. A mortgage or deed of trust was one of the many documents you signed when you originally took out your loan to purchase your home. In this document, you gave to your lender a security interest in your house to guarantee repayment of your mortgage. Once you stop paying your mortgage, your house can be sold without your consent so that your lender can recoup the amount they loaned to you.
What is an Act 91 Notice in Pennsylvania?
Here in Pennsylvania, the mortgage holder or lender must send a notice of intent to foreclose to the borrower before any foreclosure proceedings may begin. We call this the Act 91 Notice. The Act 91 Notice must be sent, by first class mail, to the borrower, at their last known address and if different, to the property secured by the mortgage. The notice should not be sent until the borrower is at least sixty (60) days behind in their mortgage payments.
In the notice, the lender must make the borrower aware that his or her mortgage is in default and that it is their intention to accelerate the mortgage payments if the borrower does not cure the default within thirty (30) days. This means that the remaining balance of the original mortgage will come due immediately.
What is a Complaint in Foreclosure in Pennsylvania?
If you do not cure the default in the Act 91 Notice within thirty (30) days, the lender may then file a suit. This would allow the lender to try and obtain a court order to foreclose on the property. To do this, the lender would file a Complaint in Foreclosure. This complaint must be served by the sheriff’s office. It is normally handed to you personally, but can be posted on the door in some situations.
In most counties, there are conciliation programs to help homeowners try to negotiate one last time with the mortgage company after the complaint in foreclosure is filed.
You have twenty (20) days to answer the complaint after you’ve been served. The answer admits or denies the allegations in the complaint. If you do not file an answer, the lender can request a default judgment and proceed to foreclosure sale.
If you file an answer, you would have a chance for “discovery” which is an exchange of information with the bank. When discovery ends, the lender will normally file a Motion for Summary Judgment. If there is no genuine dispute, the court will grant the motion for summary judgment and allow the foreclosure sale to proceed. If there is a genuine dispute, the court will schedule the matter for trial.
How long does it take for the bank to sell my house?
If the court finds in favor of the lender and issues an order of sale, the property will be sold at a Sheriff’s sale. The court will establish guidelines for the sale. The borrower has the right to cure the default and prevent the sale at any time up to one hour before the Sheriff’s foreclosure sale.
Every county is different, but most counties will list a property for sale three to six months after the judgment.
You can stop the sale at any time – up until the day of the sale – if you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
What can I do if I’m late on my mortgage?
The good news is that there are a number of options. We don’t always start with foreclosure defense. If you’re early in the process or haven’t missed a payment yet, you can consider forbearance or a repayment agreement.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to start early. The sooner we start, the more options you have and the easier the problem is to solve. If you wait too long, you may be forced to file an emergency Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
How can a Pennsylvania foreclosure defense attorney help?
Our office can help guide you through the foreclosure process and prepare the best possible defense. In many cases, we can use a number of processes to help you save your home.
Our PA foreclosure defense lawyers know which strategies are best for you. There is no cookie cutter approach here. We develop a strategy based on your exact situation. Sometimes that is an aggressive foreclosure defense. Other times it’s using the mortgage foreclosure diversion program or mortgage conciliation program.
After discussing your goals, our PA foreclosure lawyers will work with you to find the best tactic for you.
Pennsylvania Counties Served
Our Pennsylvania foreclosure attorneys have three offices throughout PA so we’re close to you no matter where you are! We are happy to serve the following counties in mortgage foreclosure matters:
- Pike County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Monroe County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Carbon County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Schuylkill County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Wayne County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Luzerne County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Lackawanna County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Northampton County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Lehigh County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
- Berks County Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
If your county is not listed, call us. While these are the counties we typically serve, we’ve handled cases as far away as Pittsburgh upon request.