contacting owner, preforeclosure in Western PA, Allegheny county

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Hi all,

I'm still new and seeking advice.

Sheriff sale on desirable property for taxes next week, I'll be out of state for work.

I went to the Allegheny County Real Estate office and they said there is only 1 mortgage.  started in 1990s, so I'm assuming at least some equity,  that mortgage is less than half of property values in the area. I was going to call for a title search tomorrow.

I'm meantime, I tracked down owners email

 we had mutual acquaintances.  no reply.

I used truthfinder website to track down his phone number.

So....trying to strategize.  

1. how hard to stop sheriff's sale?

2. what do I say to this guy?, other than I'd like to buy your property and stop the sheriff sale

3. can I contact the bank to talk to them directly?

advice appreciated