All Pennsylvania foreclosures are judicial and carried out through the court system. The foreclosure process takes from 10 months to 14 months including the pre-foreclosure process.
Before a Pennsylvania foreclosure process can begin, the borrower must be at least 60 days late on payments. Federal guidance suggests 120 Days late, so Pennsylvania is a bit more aggressive in the foreclosure process. In most cases, the lender sends the borrower two letters before starting the foreclosure. The first is a Notice of Intent to Foreclose. It is required that the notice of intent be followed by a second letter detailing the homeowner’s rights as well as available resources such as the Pennsylvania Housing Agency’s Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP).
These letters are to notify the borrower of the impending foreclosure and give the borrower some options to prevent the foreclosure from proceeding. The owner has a period of between 2 and 4 months to find a way to prevent the foreclosure. The lender is prohibited from further action during this time.
If the borrower does not find a way to prevent the foreclosure, then the lender is allowed to file suit against the borrower for the amount due. The borrower is notified of the foreclosure action in person or by mailing if they cannot be found. The lender is also allowed to notify by publication if necessary. Once the borrower is notified of the foreclosure action, they usually have 30 days to respond before the court rules that the property be sold to recover the amount due.
The borrower can prevent the sale at any time up to one hour before the sale by paying the full amount owed.
In a Pennsylvania foreclosure, the borrower typically gets the right to:
- Pre-foreclosure notices
- apply for loss mitigation
- participate in a resolution conciliation conference
- receive certain foreclosure notices
- Get the chance to respond in court
- get current on the loan and stop the foreclosure sale
- receive special protections if the borrower or spouse is in the military
- pay off the loan to prevent a sale
- get any excess money after a foreclosure sale.
Notice of Sale & Auction
A minimum of 30 days prior to the sale, the county sheriff is required to give notice of the sale. In the Pennsylvania foreclosure process, this is completed by posting a handbill on the property and serving a copy of the notice to the borrower. The sale is advertised a minimum of once a week for three consecutive weeks in two newspapers: a local general-interest newspaper and a local legal newspaper.
The sale is a public auction overseen by the county sheriff. It takes place between1 and 2 months following the court order to sell. The property is sold to the highest bidder. the sheriff completes the necessary documents to transfer ownership. The sale may be postponed only once for up to 100 days and is done so by announcement at the sale. The court must approve any further postponements.
There is no right of redemption for borrowers after the sale.