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How Do I Stop A Sheriff Sale? Insights from a Bucks County Bankruptcy Attorney

Uncategorized Feb 20, 2024

 In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, some homeowners are facing the possibility of a sheriff sale because of financial problems. I have been a bankruptcy lawyer in this area for 22 years. During this time, I have witnessed the impact of losing a home on families.

The good news is that there are several strategies and legal avenues available to those facing this daunting situation.

Understanding Sheriff Sales

A sheriff sale in Pennsylvania is when a mortgage lender sells a property to get back money owed on a mortgage. This typically occurs after the homeowner has defaulted on their mortgage payments. While the thought of a sheriff sale is intimidating, it's crucial to remember that you have rights and options.

Sheriff Sales in Bucks County

Bucks County, like many areas, has seen its fair share of sheriff sales. Economic downturns, personal financial crises, and pandemics can lead to an increase in these events. The frequency of these events may vary from year to year. The emotional and financial stress of facing a sheriff sale cannot be understated, but knowledge and timely action can be powerful tools in preventing the loss of your home.

Strategies to Stop a Sheriff Sale

  1. Loan Modification

One of the first steps to consider is contacting your lender to discuss a loan modification. This can result in a more manageable mortgage payment by adjusting the loan's terms, such as the interest rate or the repayment period. Lenders are often open to modification as it allows them to avoid the lengthy and costly process of a sheriff sale.

2, Forbearance Agreement

A forbearance agreement temporarily reduces or suspends mortgage payments for a set period. This can provide the breathing room needed to improve your financial situation. However, it's important to understand the terms of the agreement and how it will affect future payments and loan terms.

3, Bankruptcy Filing

Filing for bankruptcy can be a powerful tool to stop a sheriff sale due to the automatic stay that applies upon filing of the bankruptcy case.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your debts. You can also create a plan to catch up on missed mortgage payments. This way, you can keep your home and avoid foreclosure. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay is put in place, which immediately halts all collection actions, including sheriff sales.

  1.   Contesting the Foreclosure

In some cases, there may be legal grounds to contest the foreclosure itself. This could be due to procedural errors, issues with the loan's servicing, or other legal defenses. While this route can be complex, a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can help navigate these waters. If a sheriff sale has already been scheduled, it is typically too late to contest the foreclosure.  In that case, Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be the preferred option.

  1.   Selling or Refinancing the Home

If other options are not viable, selling your home or refinancing the mortgage might be solutions to consider. These options can provide the funds needed to pay off the mortgage and avoid a sheriff sale. 

These strategies require careful consideration and planning, and depending on your particular situation, certain options may not be suitable.

The Importance of Timely Action

One of the most critical factors in stopping a sheriff sale is acting quickly. The earlier you address the issue, the more options you will have available. Delaying can limit your options and make it more challenging to find a solution that allows you to keep your home.

Consulting with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Given the complexities involved in stopping a sheriff sale, consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is advisable. A lawyer can provide advice specific to your situation.

They can also explain your rights and options. Additionally, they can assist you with filing for bankruptcy. They can also help you find ways to keep your home.

Let's Work Together

Facing the threat of a sheriff sale can be an incredibly stressful experience, but it's important to remember that you have options. Whether through loan modification, a forbearance agreement, bankruptcy, contesting the foreclosure, or selling/refinancing your home, solutions are available to help you navigate this challenging time. The key is to act promptly and seek professional guidance to explore the best course of action for your circumstances.

As a bankruptcy attorney with over two decades of experience in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, I understand the intricacies of these situations and am committed to helping homeowners find the best path forward to keep their homes. Remember, the path to resolving financial difficulties and preventing a sheriff sale starts with informed action and knowledgeable support.



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