It now takes an average of 565 days from a homeowner’s first missed payment until a lender ultimately forecloses on a property. It takes significantly longer — 807 days on average — in Florida, a state with a large number of underwater mortgages. And then there are all the people who won’t necessarily go into foreclosure but who have been advised not to make payments in order to qualify for a loan modification. This all adds up to millions of Americans who have gone at least one year without making a single payment.
Some 4.2 million mortgage borrowers are either seriously delinquent or have had their cases referred to lawyers to pursue foreclosure auctions, according to LPS Applied Analytics. Of those, two-thirds have made no payments at all for at least a year, and nearly one-third have gone more than two years.
The article tells the story of one Florida couple who haven’t made a payment on their 5-bedroom home in nearly five years. They say the payments on their adjustable rate mortgage tripled to $3,000 a month.
Rather than walk away from the home, they are hoping a court will rule that they were given a toxic loan and order a modification. “The evidence will show that we were defrauded,” one of the homeowners told CNN.
Of course the couple, who own a home-inspection business, will still need to pay something (or walk away), regardless of what the court decides. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like the couple has amassed a mountain of cash during their half decade of squatting.
“It’s very hard to save,” the homeowner says. “Our company’s billing is 90% off and my husband is only working about four days a week.”