New York, NY asked in Foreclosure for Pennsylvania

Q: Hello. I want to purchase a foreclosed home from auction in PA & want know if i am responsible for paying back any lien?

Hello. I want to purchase a foreclosed home from auction in PA & want know if i am responsible for paying back whatever the owner owned, such as mortgage lien, mechanic lien or tax lien? Is the title not supposed to free and clear?

I asked around, some people tell me I am responsible for paying back whatever they and others tell me the opposite. PLease advice

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2 Lawyer Answers
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
  • Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: When a piece of real property is foreclosed and put up for sheriff's sale, the lien that is foreclosed (it may be a first mortgage, junior mortgage, tax lien, or other statutory or judgment lien) will be paid from the bid at the sheriff's sale. So will tax liens, and so will the sheriff's costs of advertising and sale (the sheriff's "poundage").

A bid must be sufficient to pay off the foreclosed lien, and any liens prior to the one foreclosed. If there are liens that are junior to the foreclosed lien, and there are no funds to pay those junior liens, the junior liens are removed from the property acquired by the successful bidder.

A sheriff's deed is delivered to the successful bidder, usually about a month (timing varies by county) after the sheriff's sale. The sheriff's deed converys whatever was owned by the foreclosed owner.

Purchasing a foreclosed property at a sheriff's sale can be tricky business. Before you expend time, effort and substantial funds on any sale, we highly recommend that you confer with experienced counsel in PA about what transpires and what your can expect.

David Kennedy Bifulco agrees with this answer

David Kennedy Bifulco
David Kennedy Bifulco pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
  • Bethlehem, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: I agree with Attorney Winterstein's answer and would add that consulting with an Attorney and with a Title company to research the liens is extremely important. They will know what to look for. If you are a novice, you may miss liens that you could end up being responsible for. If the foreclosure sale is done because of 2nd or 3rd lien it will be sold subject to the senior liens which you will then be responsible for. There may also be Federal and State tax liens which have priority.

As Attorney Winterstein said a foreclosure sale purchase can be very tricky. Consult with professionals with experience in Sheriff sales and title searches. What you pay for the advice upfront will save you a lot of grief and expense down the road.

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