If a Pennsylvania homeowner misses multiple mortgage payments, a public auction known as a “sheriff sale” or “sheriff’s sale” may result. If a sheriff sale occurs, there is a risk that the homeowner will lose valuable belongings, potentially including his or her house. Fortunately, it may be possible to stop a sheriff sale in Philadelphia, provided the homeowner acts swiftly with assistance from a Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer. Continue reading to learn more about the sheriff’s sale process in Philadelphia, including how to save property from a sheriff sale.
Philadelphia Sheriff Sale Process
Pennsylvania has a judicial foreclosure process, which means all Pennsylvania home foreclosures, including foreclosures in Philadelphia, must be supervised by the courts. The judicial foreclosure process unfolds in three basic steps:
- The homeowner defaults on his or her mortgage.
- The lender goes to court to prove that it has the legal right to sell the property.
- If the lender prevails, the court will award a judgment that allows the lender to move forward with foreclosure proceedings.
A sheriff sale may occur once the lender has obtained the judgment referenced in step three above. This type of sheriff sale is known as a “Judicial Mortgage Foreclosure Sale.”
There is also a second type of sheriff sale in Philadelphia, known as a “Tax Sheriff Sale.” Unlike a Judicial Mortgage Foreclosure Sale, which results from failure to make timely mortgage payments, a Tax Sheriff Sale results from failure to pay a municipal debt. Unpaid debts that can lead to a Tax Sheriff Sale include:
- Philadelphia Property Taxes
- School District of Philadelphia Taxes
- Sewer Bills
- Water Bills
If the property owner fails to pay a debt which has been levied on his or her property, the City of Philadelphia can try to collect the debt through a Tax Sheriff Sale.
Individuals who attend a Tax Sheriff Sale or Judicial Mortgage Foreclosure Sale may bid on the properties being auctioned. Bidders must bid at least $600 to start, with bids increasing in $100 increments from that point onward.
Philadelphia Judicial Mortgage Foreclosure Sales are scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month – for example, Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Philadelphia Tax Sheriff Sales are scheduled four times per month, plus once quarterly. Auctions always begin at 9:00 A.M. For both types of auctions, the Philadelphia sheriff sale location is:
First District AME Plaza
3801 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
How to Save Your Home from a Sheriff’s Sale in PA
A sheriff sale is a stressful prospect, but homeowners and property owners should not give up hope. With swift and strategic intervention aided by a Philadelphia foreclosure lawyer, there may be ways to protect a home or piece of property that is in jeopardy.
Depending on what stage of the process the homeowner has reached, he or she may be able to prevent foreclosure in Philadelphia by filing for bankruptcy with assistance from a Chapter 7 lawyer or Chapter 13 attorney. Both types of bankruptcy will immediately trigger the automatic stay, during which foreclosure proceedings are temporarily delayed. Even more significantly, filing Chapter 13 may enable the filer to keep their home and stop foreclosure by allowing time to catch up on the mortgage payments that were missed.
Even if bankruptcy is not a feasible option, there may still be other ways to stop a Philadelphia sheriff’s sale. For instance, it may be possible to obtain a mortgage modification, which can make payments easier by reducing the borrower’s interest rate or extending the term of the mortgage. Another potential option is to enter a mortgage forbearance agreement, which will have the effect of temporarily lowering or suspending the required payments.
Information about preventing foreclosure – and a subsequent sheriff sale – should be located in the homeowner’s Act 91 notice, a five-page notice which serves as official notification that the mortgage on the homeowner’s residence is in default. However, due to the extreme importance of acting quickly, homeowners are advised to contact a foreclosure defense attorney for immediate legal assistance.
Contact Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyers About Stopping Foreclosure
The threat of losing your home to foreclosure is enough to deprive you of sleep and cause constant stress in your daily life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By working with an experienced Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer, you can regain financial control of your life once again. Bankruptcy can help you obtain debt relief, protect your vehicle from repossession, and save your home from being foreclosed on. By freeing you from many of your debts, bankruptcy can even enable you to begin rebuilding good credit.
To learn more about how Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could protect your home from foreclosure in Philadelphia, or to discuss other benefits of personal bankruptcy, contact Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215) 995-2543 for a free legal consultation.