My wife has a melodrama that she performs using her index finger as the lone prop. The heroine is represented by a high squeaky voice and the index finger placed on my wife's head like a bow. The villain banker has the index finger for a mustache. The hero has the deep voice and a bow tie.
Here is the dialogue:
Villain: You must pay the mortgage.
Heroine: I can't pay the mortgage. (Repeat several times)
Hero: I'll pay the mortgage
Heroine: My hero!
Villain: Curses, foiled again!
More than 400 families in Ogden had no hero to save them in the last six months of 2011, so they lost their homes to foreclosure. At least 200 more are facing the same fate in the next four months.
The foreclosure problem isn't going to go away anytime soon, and I'm not going to solve it in a 500-word column, much as I would like to.
The impact of foreclosure on a local economy and government is cumulative. Too many foreclosures and real estate prices plummet.
A 2005 study showed that a single foreclosure could reduce neighboring house prices by up to $220,000. If you've tracked your property value on your property tax notice, you can see this concept in action.
The lowering of property values has a significant impact on local governments, because property tax revenue is tied to property values. This doesn't count the added economic costs to the city in dealing with inspections, court costs, unpaid utilities, and police and fire protection.
Local businesses are also impacted by the foreclosure epidemic. Over the past three years, these types of businesses have suffered greatly:
* Real estate agents and brokers
* Construction workers and contractors
* Mortgage brokers and lenders
* Title companies
I'm sure I've left several off this list, and many more are in pain.
In Utah, most foreclosures follow a nonjudicial process. A standard foreclosure would work like this:
Usually, the homeowner is behind by at least three payments. At this point, the bank will record with the county recorder and send out a Notice of Default, which signals the beginning of the actual foreclosure.
The recording date of the Notice of Default begins a three-month redemption period. It is the homeowner's chance to redeem the mortgage by bringing it current, including all the back payments, costs and fees.
If the payments are made current, the foreclosure is stopped.
If the mortgage is not current after the three months, a Notice of Sale will be posted on the property and published.
Absent a bankruptcy filing or an agreement with the bank, the house will be sold at the time and place given in the Notice of Sale.
What can be done? I'll discuss what has been done and could be done legally in future columns. For now, I'd encourage you to go to www.standard.net and the Comments section on the electronic version of this column and tell some of your foreclosure horror stories or, if you escaped, how you did it.
E. Kent Winward is an Ogden-area attorney. Reach him at 801-392-8200 or email@example.com.