A sheriff's sale is the culmination of a court-ordered, months-long judicial foreclosure process that begins when a homeowner becomes delinquent on a loan and the lender initiates foreclosure. Generally, lenders initiate foreclosure when a property owner is 60 days in arrears. While the foreclosure process can be a difficult and frightening experience for a delinquent owner, it doesn't always have to end with the court-ordered sale of a property. Property owners in Pennsylvania can stop a sheriff's sale up to one hour before the foreclosed property is scheduled for sale if they have the money to pay off the entire mortgage balance.
You can stop a sheriff's sale by paying off the mortgage balance, including late fees.
The property owner must pay the exact amount in cash or a cashier's check, to satisfy the balance. The funds will be given to the lender, but it is best that the homeowner not contact the lender on his own behalf. The lender may not be allowed to communicate with the homeowner, since foreclosure is a court-ordered matter. The sheriff's office will be able to provide the property owner with the exact amount needed to pay off the balance, including applicable late fees.
Contact the Sheriff's Office
A sheriff's sale can be stopped up to an hour before the sale begins – but only if the homeowner has the funding and lets the sheriff know the required monetary amount is in place. Time is of the essence. Once the money is in place, the property owner should contact the sheriff's office as soon as possible to let them know that the balance will be paid off. This is an important step, because once a sale has ended, property owners lose rights and have no legal recourse to resume ownership.
Pay Off the Delinquent Loan
You will need documentation or a receipt showing that the delinquent loan has been paid off. This documentation is the homeowner's proof that she is not liable for mortgage debt, the home is no longer in foreclosure and the balance has been satisfied.
Contact an Attorney
In some cases, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing may stop a sheriff's sale. However, a pre-petition credit counseling certificate must be obtained from a credit counseling agency before the bankruptcy petition is filed. The bankruptcy must still be approved by the court, and there are legal fees involved. An attorney can provide legal guidance.