Q: I purchased a foreclosed house. Paid house value plus 42K in liens at the Allegheny county sheriff sale. The HOA had a lawyer send me a shocking letter telling me I owed them14K in liens! Why am I paying this? What is the law? Please explain it simplistically. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: This is why people who are not experienced with foreclosure property hire an attorney before bidding on Sheriff sale real estate. You probably paid delinquent real estate taxes and liened municipal services but probably did not do a title search which would have showed other liens which could be from a variety of sources-civil judgment, back child support, unpaid taxes, municipal services, etc.. Hire an attorney now to verify the liens and if they are so verified, you will have to pay them. Hopefully, you will not now have a Sheriff’s sale house which cost you $56,000.00.
Q: My home is being sold at sheriff sale for back property taxes. How long after the sale do I have to vacate? If no one bids on the property, does the home revert to the school district? Do I own everything in the house beyond personal items (i.e. water heater, electrical fixtures, doors… etc.), can I take these items out of the property before the sale?
A: If someone buys it a Sheriff’s sale, and you are still living in the home, the new owner will have to file an eviction proceeding against you. This will give you some time. A potential buyer may try to buy it for less than taxes owed and the three taxing entities can either accept or reject the offer. If no buyers come through, you can make an offer if you really want the property. You may want to research rentals versus what you will pay the bank. If the house is sold, the house is seized as collateral for the loan and you are not personally liable unless the loan agreement allows the lender to seek a deficiency judgment against you and they are willing to pursue it. You cannot take fixtures from the house-lights, water heater, doors, etc. You can take appliances if you bought them.
Q: Borrower is current on first mortgage, but over 120 days delinquent on the second mortgage. Borrower has refused a loan modification and does not wish to sell the home. There is approximately $70,000-$90,000 in home equity. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You cannot go right to Sheriff’s Sale. You must file a foreclosure proceeding first. Moreover, your mortgage will be second to the first mortgage holder so the first mortgage holder will need to be paid first.