Eagle County foreclosures close to new record | VailDaily.com

Eagle County foreclosures close to new record

Randy Wyrick | rwyrick@vaildaily.comLocal Realtor Michael Routh is one of several in the area becoming experts in handling foreclosures and other distressed properties.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Eagle County and the nation will both break foreclosure records by year’s end.

Eagle County had 596 homes in foreclosure as of Friday, and is almost certain to break the record of 599 set in 1987.

But there’s a difference. That 1987 total was heavily weighted with timeshares, said Karen Sheaffer, Eagle County treasurer. This year, it’s almost exclusively private homes and commercial properties.

“Timeshares are a very small percentage of foreclosures today,” Sheaffer said. “There are a few, but it’s a negligible percentage.”

The foreclosure law continuously changes, Sheaffer said, but a couple things remain constant:

First, it takes between five months and a year for a foreclosure to get to a foreclosure sale and you have to move out. That clock starts when you get your first foreclosure notice and ends at the time Sheaffer or someone else says, “Sold!”

Second, if a property goes to a foreclosure sale, most of the time it goes back to the lender.

But what the lender then does with the property is also changing.

“We’re finding that many foreclosures are being postponed. There are many filed, but there’s not a lot of activity right now,” Sheaffer said.

Lenders are sometimes reluctant to dump a foreclosed home into a glutted market, Sheaffer said.

“There’s no urgency because there’s no market for it,” Sheaffer said. “If the lender can get the homeowner to continue paying something, they’re more likely to do that, instead of trying to sell it in this market.”

Market watchers are confident that more than 1 million American homes will fall into foreclosure in 2010, and 2011 will be worse.

RealtyTrac calculates that 5 million borrowers are seriously delinquent, and many of those will fall into foreclosure next year – as the foreclosure freeze begins to thaw.

Some banks froze foreclosures when they were caught up in the so-called robo-signing controversy.

“Many banks froze foreclosures while they scrambled to revamp their internal procedures and revise or resubmit questionable paperwork,” RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said in a report released Friday.

Michael Routh handles dozens of foreclosures and short sales, and says they’re work for everyone.

If you’re in foreclosure, or are about to be, you need three people in your corner: A Realtor who handles foreclosures and short sales, an accountant and a bankruptcy attorney.

“You can either jump off that cliff alone, or get professionals who can help you so you land on your feet,” Routh said.

Bankruptcy is one option. A short sale is another – when you sell your property for less than the principal amount you owe.

“Making your lender understand that you’re marketing the property, that you have offers but you’re trying to get a better offer – that can help,” Routh said.

But if you’re successful with a short sale, you need your Realtor to negotiate away any deficiency judgments – legal action in which they try to get the difference between what you owe and what they were paid, Routh said.

The lender has years to come after you, if eliminating it is not part of the short sale deal, Routh said.

Every foreclosure carries with it all kinds of complicating factors.

“Every factor takes time, and time is your enemy,” Routh said.

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