Being served with a mortgage foreclosure complaint can be a frightening moment. The most important thing which you can do is to sit down with an experienced Mortgage Foreclosure Attorney, to review your options.
What Is Foreclosure?
In Pennsylvania, mortgage foreclosure is the process by which a lender takes back real estate, in order to collect on a loan, when the real estate has been used as security for the loan. Mortgage foreclosure in Pennsylvania is a judicial process: in order to force a sale of the real estate, the lender will need to bring a lawsuit in court.
Mortgages are not limited to the loan you obtained when you purchased the property: they are often used to secure other loans, such as home equity loans, second mortgages, etc. If there is more than one mortgage, then the first to be recorded has priority in a foreclosure.
Should I Try to Save My Home?
For many people, this is a dumb question – of course I want to save my home! It is worthwhile, if you are in financial difficulties, to think about the alternatives to foreclosure. One basic question is whether you can afford the home: even if you got caught up, would you be able to make the monthly payments?
Alternatives to foreclosure include selling the home (if it is worth more than the amount that is still owed on it, walking away (allowing the foreclosure), voluntarily giving it back to the lender (using a deed in lieu of foreclosure), or attempting a short sale. Before doing this, it is a good idea to talk to a mortgage foreclosure attorney, who can advise you about the consequences, including the effect on your credit rating, and whether any personal liability will remain on the loan.
Basic Steps To Defend Against Mortgage Foreclosure
The first thing to do, particularly if you aren’t very far behind, is to talk to the lender. Mortgage foreclosure is usually a losing proposition for both the homeowner and the lender, and many lenders will attempt to work things out with you.
Some of the options for defending against mortgage foreclosure in Pennsylvania include:
- Curing the Default. In Pennsylvania, you have the right to “cure”, which means paying in full the amount by which you are behind (including any costs or attorney fees), at any time before a Sheriff’s sale occurs.
- Act 91: The State of Pennsylvania, in some cases, may offer assistance to help you get caught up on your payments.
- Workout: This is an agreement with the lender, allowing you some time to get caught up on your mortgage payments.
- Modification: A modification is an agreement with the lender, which modifies the terms of the loan, allowing you to avoid foreclosure.
- Chapter 13: This is a form of bankruptcy, in which you propose a plan to get caught up on your mortgage.
Do I Need A Mortgage Foreclosure Lawyer?
Unless the problem is one that you can easily solve on your own, there is a benefit in consulting with an attorney who is familiar with the process. Although most mortgage foreclosure lawyers will charge a fee for their services, if you are serious about saving your home, you will want to have the benefit of their advice. Why Lawyers Charge for a Consultation.