Saving Your Home From Foreclosure

A home will normally be the most valuable and important piece of property an American will ever own. But, beyond mere bricks and mortar and tangible value, few ideas are more important to us than the idea of "home". A home is where you raise your family, spend your free time, and where you hope to retire. You improve your home, you take pride in your home, and you hope to someday leave it to your children. If your home is facing foreclosure, your attorney should appreciate these ideas.

As a Pittsburgh foreclosure attorney representing homeowners, my goal is to keep my client in his or her home if any way possible. The foreclosure process in Pennsylvania occurs through a set of statutory steps. I explain the process in detail on my page, How Does Foreclosure Work?Understanding these steps, and advising my clients along the way, is an important part of what I do. When meeting with individuals and families, I listen to get a better idea of why the home is facing foreclosure. I advise whether I believe the home can be saved. I make sure my clients understand the process, and their options.

Not every home can be saved, but consulting a lawyer as soon as possible (preferably before the formal foreclosure process has even begun) gives you the best chance. It can also save you thousands of dollars that may otherwise need to be paid to the lender for attorney fees. If you are more than one mortgage payment behind, or formally facing foreclosure, contact us immediately to set up a free consultationCall any time, 412-414-9366.


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Possibly The Best Hope For Saving Your Home

While there are several strategies for dealing with foreclosure, the protections of Chapter 13 bankruptcy often provide the best hope for staying in your home. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed at any time before the foreclosure sale, but contacting an experienced foreclosure attorney as early as possible gives you the best hope for saving your home. The process of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even an emergency filing, takes time. So don't wait until the last minute to contact us.


Why use chapter 13 bankruptcy to save my home?

Why is Chapter 13 bankruptcy often the best hope for saving a home facing foreclosure? Why not use a debt consolidation company? Why not attempt to work out an agreement with the lender yourself?

The primary advantage of using a Chapter 13 bankruptcy when facing foreclosures is access to the Federal Court system. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is overseen by the United States Federal Court system and administered by the United States Trustees Office. A home facing foreclosure will be placed in a Chapter 13 reorganization plan which, when approved by the court, will become binding on your lender. Therefore, the process is mandatory at approval. The same bank that has refused your payments while demanding the full outstanding balance will be forced to comply with the Federal order. The frustration of trying to work with your lender will come to an immediate end.

The filing of the petition also halts the foreclosure in its tracks. The "automatic stay" prevents the lender and its law firm from proceeding any further. This can be extremely important when facing an imminent foreclosure sheriff sale. To be safe, it is best to file well before the sheriff sale date, but a home can be saved at the last minute. However, don't wait too long to act. Once a home is sold in a sheriff sale in Pennsylvania, it most likely cannot be saved. 

Once again, this entire process occurs under the protection of the Federal Court system. Orders from Federal judges have real teeth, and banks violating orders face (and often receive) sever penalties. Unlike fly-by-night debt consolidation companies, who often leave families in the midst of foreclosure in a lurch once negotiations break down, the process provides trust and certainty.


Bankruptcy can stop foreclosure, but how does it help me keep my home?

While the "automatic stay" stops a foreclosure, the actual re-organization payment plan allows you to keep your home.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization plan lasts between 36 to 60 months (3 to 5 years). During this period, a filer has the opportunity to catch up on mortgage arrears, paying a share of the arrears every month. Unlike foreclosure, where all of the payments owed become due at once, the arrears in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be repaid at a small fraction of the total amount every month. This makes catching up on payments far more realistic.