No sign of South Georgia foreclosures slowing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No sign of South Georgia foreclosures slowing

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Home foreclosures hit a nationwide monthly record in September.

Many of them may have been improperly processed by banks that never reviewed the paperwork.

It's hard for Georgia homeowners to fight those rushed through foreclosures.

Georgia law makes it expensive for homeowners to try to stop a foreclosure against their home.

These are listings of homes to be sold on the Dougherty County courthouse steps in December.  Page after page of foreclosures in Albany.

But unlike some states. Georgia law puts the legal burden on the homeowner if he thinks the paperwork in his mortgage may have been rushed through, and that is most likely too expensive for someone who can't make their house payment.

The number of home foreclosures in South Georgia shows no sign of slowing, years after the housing bubble in 2007.

Bankruptcy trustee Walter Kelley said "Yes, it is just as bad, if not worse."

And in Georgia the mortgage issuers are not being held up by the worry of flawed foreclosure documents.

Kelley said "They don't have to file a lawsuit to start the foreclosure. They simply have to declare that there is a default under the terms of your mortgage."

The financial institutions have to publicize the foreclosure once a week for four weeks, then they can sell the home on the courthouse steps the first Tuesday of the following month.

Kelley said "So the only way to stop that would either be to file a suit in Superior Court to stop the foreclosure, or file a bankruptcy."

Kelley said more and more South Georgians are filing bankruptcy's to save their home, but many are giving up, seeing no hope in sight. And Kelley said some financial institutions are eager to sell the homes at any price.

 Kelley said "They are foreclosing because a lot of them want to just get these bad mortgages off their books. Going ahead, take the hit, and get done with it."

Kelley said the foreclosed homes hurt not only the homeowners and financial institutions, but also the community. Economic woes that could further slow the financial recovery, and likely continue the number of foreclosures in South Georgia.

Kelley says that Albany is becoming a rental market, as more people lose their homes to foreclosures, and rent a roof over their heads.

A congressional watchdog group has indicated the government's effort to keep people in their homes could be affected by the problems stemming from flawed foreclosure documents.

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