Foreclosures Pushing Down Home Values, Nearly 250K Underwater

On Monday, we discussed some of the options available to the thousands of homeowners in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois needing foreclosure help . This crisis affects entire neighborhoods, as the Chicago Tribune reported on October 2, 2012, that a CoreLogic report said local home prices in the Chicago area declined 2.5 percent from a year ago and slipped 1.7 percent compared to July. This was the second largest decrease in the United States.

Two days prior, a commentary in the Tribune by urban affairs consultant and teacher John McCarron noted that Chicago has “22,169 dwellings in serious mortgage delinquency headed for default and an additional 9,240 already repossessed by lenders and up for sale.” However, McCarron added that the figure does not include thousands of “bungalows, three-flats, walk-ups” in which “delinquent mortgage-holders have handed the keys to lenders who, in turn, are letting the residences rot without trying to resell.” McCarron wrote that some experts estimate the city now has at least 40,000 vacant dwelling units.

McCarron added that the Woodstock Institute found that more than a quarter of all mortgaged homes in Cook County were “underwater” going into 2012. That translates to some 245,486 locations in which borrowers owe more than their homes are worth; McCarron points out that the average home price has declined 39 percent since 2006. He also noted that the situation is even worse in the predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods that were “heavily worked-over by subprime lenders,” as values have fallen more dramatically and the underwater rate is “a predictor of future foreclosures.”

If you are underwater on your mortgage, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy could allow you to remove a second mortgage or home equity line of credit and pay back only the first mortgage if your home is worth less than the balance due on your first mortgage. However, you need to have the income necessary to make a Chapter 13 repayment plan work, and that can be an issue for many homeowners throughout Illinois.

The good news is that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy also has its benefits for homeowners facing foreclosure, and we will further discuss that in our next blog post. If you are facing foreclosure and want to know which plan would work better for you, contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 or use the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers see which plan would be best.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Homeowners in Foreclosure Demand Moratorium on Evictions

More than 100 residents called on Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart to place a one-year moratorium on foreclosure evictions during a community meeting held on the Chicago’s West Side on August 9, 2012. As we noted last week, more homeowners in the Chicago area are in need of foreclosure help after the number of notices in July was 37 percent higher than it was in 2011. As lenders continue to clear out a backlog, the number is expected to increase.

The investigative reporting magazine In These Times reported that Mary Bonelli was one of the residents in attendance at the community meeting. Her family has lived in the same home in Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood for three generations, but could now be thrown out by the bank servicing her mortgage.  “I am 76 years old and I’m dying of cancer,” Bonelli said, according to In These Times. “But that’s not the reason I’m here today. It’s because Fifth Third bank is trying to take my house away from me. We moved here in 1958. The bank never told me the house was in foreclosure. … I want to stay in my home. That is why we need a one-year moratorium.”

Preckwinkle and Dart were both sympathetic, but neither committed to placing a stay on evictions. If you have received a foreclosure notice, filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will trigger an automatic stay that stops most actions against your property. If you are facing foreclosure and want to understand all of the options available to you, contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 or complete the form on this page to set up a free consultation with our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Supply of Affordable Apartments Not Keeping Up with Demand

The rent on the South Shore apartment Veeda Pryor has been living in since March used to be $700 a month, but the landlord reduced the price to $650 after the apartment was burglarized. The Chicago Tribune reported on November 15, 2011, that Pryor is now searching for what would be the fifth apartment she and her family have lived in since 2009. The college graduate, substitute teacher and mother of two teens told the Tribune that while living in one apartment with a monthly rent of $550, she had to use the oven for heat because the space heater supplied by the landlord short-circuited the apartment’s lights.

According to the Tribune, nearly 483,000 renters in Cook County needed affordable housing in 2009, but less than 303,000 rental units were considered affordable. According to a report from DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies, another 44,000 affordable apartments will be needed by 2020 because of various demographic and economic changes shaping the market.

While the DePaul report was based on the most recent census data and foreclosure and rent statistics, what the Tribune called a “potentially dire situation” is not just the result of neighborhoods crippled by the number of residents needing foreclosure help . Instead, rents are rising as household incomes are falling. While that problem has led file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy , the Tribune said the emerging trends makes younger renters even more at risk. Median rents increased 14 percent in the city and 13 percent in Cook County’s suburbs between 2005 and 2010 while income declined 25 percent between 2000 and 2009 among renters younger than 25.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

Foreclosure Process Slowing Down, But Not Going Away

The median number of days to resolve foreclosure cases rose 25.5 percent compared with a year ago in the Chicago area for the three months ended in June, the Chicago Tribune reported on September 22, 2011. A report released by the Woodstock Institute also dais processing times are up almost 51 percent compared with three years ago.

During this year’s second quarter, it took a median 363 days to move a foreclosure case through the court system in Cook County, 390 days in Kane County and 307 days in McHenry County, the Tribune reported. While longer processing times and the lowest number of completed foreclosure auctions completed since the housing crisis began are giving homeowners more time to try and save their homes, the Tribune noted that the number of delinquent homeowners is again on the rise. State and federal investigation of mortgage servicers’ internal processes put a temporary hold on cases, but August also saw “a dramatic leap in new foreclosure filings” that will add to the backlog.

Sarah Duda, a senior research and project associate at the Woodstock Institute, told the Tribune, “If the reason why auctions are down is that people’s homes are being saved, that’s really positive. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening.” Indeed, time is rarely on the side of homeowners facing foreclosure. If you need foreclosure help now, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can provide you with all the necessary Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you will need to help you save your home. Filing for bankruptcy can help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure, but it is imperative that you contact our firm for a free consultation so we can help you get deserved relief today.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

$16 Million In Foreclosure Funds Still Available

There are 1,944 former property owners who are entitled to a share of $16 million in foreclosure surplus funds due them, the Chicago Tribune reported on August 25, 2011. The office of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court still has the sum sitting in an interest-bearing account two years after unveiling a search engine for former property owners to determine if they were entitled to those funds. The Tribune reported that now the office is teaming up with other county and state agencies to increase awareness.

The goal of the Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Fund Task Force, for instance, is to “encourage residential and commercial property owners who lost their real estate to foreclosure to check on their cases, even if they go back to the late 1990s.” The Tribune noted that if a foreclosed property was “resold at a court-ordered auction for more than the amount due on the mortgage,” state law requires that the original property owner is entitled to receive any surplus amount of more than $100.

While one person is due funds as high as $450,000 on one commercial property, the average surplus is $2,000, according to the Tribune. There is no time limit for when people have to apply for the funds.

If you are struggling through hard times and need foreclosure help today, you have many options available to you to try to keep your home and catch up on your mortgage. Contact our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers to obtain important bankruptcy information. Bankruptcy could save your home.

Owner of Wrigley Field Rooftop Building Suffers Losing Streak

The curse of the Loveable Losers is affecting The Lakeview Baseball Club, a three-story building that overlooks the right field at Wrigley. The building is heading to a sheriff’s auction after foreclosure.

A Cook County judge issued a foreclosure judgment against the owners. A public sale for the building at 3633 N. Sheffield Ave. is scheduled for August 17.

The owner of the building owes its bank $3 million on a senior and junior mortgage. Three other creditors are owed $715,334 according to the foreclosure judgment entered on July 8, 2011. The owner of the building is a venture of father-and-sons Robert, Anthony and R. Michael Racky.

The bank holding the loan, First Personal Bank, originally filed its foreclosure suit in February 2010. The bank alleged the Racky venture stopped paying the monthly payments of $27,753 in December 2009. First Personal provided the $2.8 million senior loan in March 2006, and the $350,000 junior loan in April 2007.

Anthony Racky, a managing director of the club, says the venture is trying to sell the building before the sheriff’s sale. A potential deal is in the works, although he has not identified a prospective buyer.

Martin Oberman, the attorney representing the Rackys says the building’s worth is greater than the debt due to the bank.

According to a Chicago Tribune article, in May 2010, the rooftop netted just $34,365. The monthly mortgage payment for that month was $31,865.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure attorney

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