County foreclosures barely miss record
EAGLE – Eagle County saw the second highest number of foreclosures in history last year.
In 2011, 615 homes went to foreclosure sale. That’s three shy of the record, 618, set in 2010, according to Karla Herridge, chief deputy public trustee.
“We are handling the second-highest number of foreclosures in Eagle County history and Karla is doing it with about half the staff,” said Karen Sheaffer, Eagle County treasurer.
Virtually none are timeshares, Herridge said.
“We still have a lot of active foreclosures that have not gone to sale,” Herridge said.
The public trustee and treasurer’s office schedule between 50 and 70 foreclosure sales each week. Most are postponed by the lender, Herridge said.
Reasons range from lenders not having their documents in order, to putting it off because they feel like it.
Lenders don’t need to be in a hurry. They can wait for up to a year from the original sale date to run the property through the foreclosure sale, Herridge said.
“They’re not trying to work anything out, but they’re not ready to take anything back,” Herridge said.
Some lenders don’t want the foreclosed properties on the books. They might not want to appear to be in the red, Herridge said.
“Hardly anything is going to a foreclosure sale,” Herridge said.
The public trustees office averages a half dozen sales each week, Sheaffer said.
Last week, five properties went to foreclosure sale. There were 54 scheduled, Herridge said.
That creates a shadow market of housing inventory that will keep rolling into the local housing market, Herridge said.
“That has to be resolved before it can get any better,” Herridge said.
Right around Christmas they stop having foreclosure sales, and slow down during the holidays. It picks back up in January, Herridge said.
“It takes several months into the year before you see if the trend is going to stay the same.”
Foreclosure sales run at 10 a.m. most Tuesdays in the Eagle County Treasurer’s office in Eagle. Today’s sale has 13 properties scheduled, ranging from more than $1.5 million to less than $20,000.
Lenders can postpone them right up to the sale time, Herridge said.
In the meantime, some borrowers who’ve defaulted on their loans are staying put until they’re ordered to leave. It can take up to six months for a foreclosure sale to go through, Sheaffer said.
“You have to surmise that the mortgage company doesn’t want that property back,” Herridge said.
The postponement has to come through the lender’s attorney.
Sheaffer and Herridge won’t even take the word of the lender themselves, Sheaffer said, in case someone is trying to work the system by pretending to be the lender when they’re not.
The Ritz Carlton’s lenders, for example, have been postponing their foreclosure sale for months.
Miami, Fla.-based Gencom, which owns the Ritz, owes Lehman Brothers $61 million, the largest foreclosure in Eagle County history. Gencom owns 27 hotels around the country – Gencom owns the property and the Ritz runs the hotel.
But their lender’s attorney keeps postponing it for three or four weeks at a time, Sheaffer said.
So for now it’s business as usual for the Ritz-Carlton.
“Ritz-Carlton is the management company and the foreclosure is unrelated to the operations of the hotel. The hotel will continue to provide the same high level of service and facilities our guests have come to expect,” Parool Shah, public relations and marketing coordinator for Ritz-Carlton said when the foreclosure became public.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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