Foreclosure Process in Pennsylvania

by : Kathy Swift


In Pennsylvania, only judicial or in court foreclosures are allowed.  To move forward with an in court foreclosure, the bank must file a lawsuit in order to receive a court order to foreclose.  When the court finds in favor of the bank, the property will then be scheduled for a sheriff’s sale.

The bank must send a notice of intent to foreclose to the home owner.  This letter must be sent first class mail to the last known address of the homeowner.  If this address is different then the home which the bank is preparing to sell to get its money, then the letter must be sent to that address in addition to the last known address.  General practice is that this notice of intent to foreclose is not sent until the homeowner is 60 days behind on their house payment.

This notice of intent to foreclose must inform the homeowner that it is the intention of the bank to accelerate the mortgage payment, if the loan is not brought current in the next thirty days,.  This means that if all past and current payments are not made up, plus late fees and interest.  The total amount will become immediately due and the bank will be moving ahead with the sheriff’s sale on the hom e.

In Pennsylvania, a home owner has the right to come up with the whole amount owed on the home plus attorney’s fees etc...  all the way up until one hour before the sale of the home is conducted.  Doing this will, of course keep the home in their name, and save a foreclosure from appearing on their credit history.

Finding a way to come up with all that money is another matter all together.  If the sheriff’s sale does not generate enough money to satisfy the bank on the amount of the loan, Pennsylvania provides the lender, the right to continue to pursue the former home owner for additional money.  The bank only has six months following the sale to exercise this option.  This however, does not occur very often, because of the obvious reason, that most people, who have lost their home to foreclosure, do not have any other resources the bank would want to pursue.

If the borrower cannot come up with the total amount of the loan, plus fees, then the bank will sue for an order to foreclose.  A title search must be ordered and received by the court clerk.  Then the suit can be filed.  When the judge finds it officially in default, the sheriff’s sale is ordered.  At this point, the actual sale date is scheduled.  In the next thirty days, the sheriff will serve the homeowner with a notice of the sale from the time the homeowner receives this notice, they have twenty days to file an answer.  The court issues instructions on how the sale is to be conducted.  I read one Pennsylvania home owner’s advocacy time line, that showed the typical length of time from the first missed payment, until the homeowner’s having to leave as being more than two hundred and seventy days.

Integrity 1st Consulting is your specialist- Kathy Swift