Some Homeowners Stuck In Foreclosure Process For Years

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A recent report shows the foreclosure crisis is not improving in Minnesota.

The report by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center says, 2010 actually had an increase in the number of foreclosures compared to 2009.

While many people can wrap up their foreclosure in months, more and more homeowners may be stuck in the process for years.

“I’m stuck. I’m completely stuck,” said Shawn Smith.

Smith has owned a home for the last four years, but for the last two, he’s been trying to get rid of it.

“At this point, I kinda feel like I’m being held hostage,” he said.

Since January 2009, Smith has been working through foreclosure. A divorce and money issues caused him to fall behind on payments.

The original sheriff sale date was scheduled for July 2009, but the date came and went. Smith said the banks rescheduled his auction at least seven times.

“Basically, it’s the exact same letter saying it’s been postponed. No reason for it,” said Smith.

Yet the house is still in his name.

“I can’t even buy a rubber band right now. My credit history is absolutely shot. I have two years of non-payment,” he said.

In 2010, more than 25,000 homeowners went through the foreclosure process, the second highest year on record in part to unemployment and underemployment.

Some homeowners had their sheriff’s auction within six months, but others have a story similar to Smith’s.

“For most homeowners the process can take anywhere from 8 months to, in some cases, two years,” said Ed Nelson from the Minnesota Home Ownership Center.

Nelson says in most cases, the auction postponements are actually a good sign.

“When a bank  is willing to postpone two, three, four, five times, it shows that they’re willing to work with homeowners,” he said.

Nelson advises that homeowners going through foreclosure should be in constant communication with their banks and ask for help.

“I feel like I’ve exhausted everything at that point,” said Smith, who said he would rather cut his losses and move on.

Now, he’s just hoping the bank will let him.

“If I would have known that this was going to take forever … I would have taken more steps to try and get rid of it,” said Smith.

Bank of America says moratoriums and foreclosure reviews, meant to help homeowners over the last few years, have led to the postponements at Smith’s home. The new foreclosure sale date is set for May 5.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • To Bad, So Sad

    2 years of non payment & he says he couldn’t even buy a rubber band. If I didn’t make house payments for 2 years I would have plenty of money, cry me a fricken river

    • thesuperman

      Well Moron. If you don’t have a job and also don’t make a mortgage payment you still have the same problem. NO MONEY!!!!!!

      • To Bad, So Sad

        Yeah after 2 years he can’t come up with any money…really who is the moron in this picture, no wonder his wife left him..

      • dphilips

        Superman, Well said!

    • V H

      The man is referring to his inability to obtain credit now or in the future due to his credit being ruined as a result of this foreclosure mess; not his inability to buy a rubber band. Sounds to me like you are judgmental and afraid someone might have more money than you. Envy is a sin. And a lack of compassion is not a character trait to be proud of.

      • Duh

        How would he have more money than someone else if he doesn’t have a job & can’t make house payments. Your post makes no sense. A lack of intelligence is not a character trait to be proud of

  • Tom

    Living free and whining about it? Unreal.

    • dphilips

      You sound like a typical Republican Ive gotmine,to hell with everybodyelse!

  • To Bad, So Sad

    2 years of free room & he can’t come up with any money, really superman? who is the real moron in this picture, no wonder his wife left him

  • To Bad, So Sad

    I should post it one more time just for superman to figure it out

  • V H

    To Duh:
    My comment was in reference to YOU apprearing to be envious should someone gain an advantage over you, and your cold hearted, judgmental attitude toward another human being who is going through a very difficult situation. It was not about whether Mr. Smith did or didn’t have any money. It was about my lack of respect for the type of person you appear to be – envious and lacking in compassion for other’s.

    • Jealous in Minnesota

      2 years of not making a mortgage./ rent payment and I should feel bad about it?

  • Duh

    V H give up, why are you addressing this to me (Duh) when your first rant was against To Bad, So Sad. Seriously I mean it about a lack of intelligence, but good luck anyway.

  • Reggie

    V H, I been following these posts, I have to admit, you are not doing yourself any favors

  • Sanity

    His credit history would have been shot whether they sold the property in 6 months or 2 years. He managed to live there 2 years without paying. Not sure why he is whining about it now. The average mortgage payment in MN is roughly $1300. If he had the avewrage payment he didn’t pay over $30000 in payments. Sorry but I don’t feel sorry for him.

  • kyle

    The only alarming thing about this story, is that he seems reliant on credit to make purchases…maybe he should stick to what he can pay for in cash.

    • Dina

      Kyle seems to have it right! Kudos! Most people don’t get to live for free – In MN during the process you can stay in the property and essentially live for free,

  • Charlie

    I’ve been in a similar situation as Shawn has, and let me tell you, it takes quite a while before your bank account builds back up again. He probably has already moved out of the house (like I did) in anticipation of the foreclosure, so he’s not “living free” as some of you have suggested.

    Until you have been through a situation like his or mine, you can’t understand it. It is heart-wrenching to lose the home you thought you’d be able to settle down in. The extra time it’s taking for his to go through just adds to the pain.

    Unless you were there with him and know for a fact that he simply decided to stop paying (which wouldn’t make sense), stop criticizing him. You never know–you might end up in a similar situation someday.

    • Dina

      Perhaps he did move out – but the reality is, until 180 days AFTER the sheriff’s sale, a person has the option to live for free. Certainly someone should be able to get themselves back on their feet if they have no housing expense (not withstanding utilities) – the reality remains, most people don’t have this option, And as sad as it is to lose your home, at least in MN it’s better than many other states that don’t have the redemption period.

    • Human Bean

      Compassion for our fellow man… refreshing! Thank you.

  • To Bad, So Sad

    Charlie, great point, the article does not say he is still living in the house & actually I think even those of us who might make light of this know that we could end up in the same situation. good post on your part

  • MoundChick

    Just for all of your information, when you get your house foreclosed on the bank or mortgage holder changes all of the locks on the house so you can NOT live there mortgage free. My brother -in-law and his wife lost there home due to foreclosure and changing the locks was the first thing their mortgage holder did. I went to school with Shawn and I know that he is gainfully employed and is renting a place because he obviously needed a place to live. When you buy a house with your spouse or significant other, generally both incomes are taken into account when buying it so when one loses income through divorce, disability or job loss then obviously it will be hard for anyone to afford their home.

    • Dina

      The mortgage company has to give you keys if you request them. All you need to do is call the attorney’s office handling the foreclosure and request the keys. If I recall correctly, they have to provide them in 48 hours. Until the redemption period is up, the homeowner is entitled access to the property and can live in it.

    • Elephants Fly

      Mound Chick? That sounds dirty.

    • Elephants Fly

      Mound Chick? That sounds really dirty.

  • steve her

    i am facing the same situation. i have been trying to work with the bank (wachovia mortgage) twice, but still did not get through. the mortgage advised that i am not qualify for the loan modification. anyone with any assistance any idea that can assist me. my email is as followed. thank you for readying my message.

  • John

    And DONT forget. In the state of MN, all UPSIDE down mortgages(house is worth less then what you paid) they can go after you for the difference. We need to REALLY change that law.

    • captainobvious

      So your saying its the banks fault your upside down? because you over borrowed on your house, they have to eat the difference. What a great attitude to have, no need to take responsibility for your own mistakes

  • John

    Example. You lose your job, find one in Nebraska, cant sell your hose,let it fall to forecloser,….worth $50,000 LESS then what you owe. Move to nebraska, …your old bank comes for you for the difference. Lets write our elected officials and change that .

    What was the verdict on the keys? So he could have gotten the keys and lived there rent free for 2 years or not?

  • Tony

    So basically your saying that the banks should be on the hook for the difference. Are you crazy! If you loan money to invest in real estate and your investment losses money( upside down) the bank should not be on the hook. You take a risk when you borrow money. Another example that would not make sense, you loan money to buy a car and fall behind on payments and it gets repoed and the car is worth less than the loan . Why would the bank be responsible for the difference and not the borrower. That’s why most banks now require down payments to prevent this scenario.

  • sad but true

    So many things wrong with this story, #1 when you lose your job, get a new one, will you make less money perhaps, but take some pride in yourself, to many people sit around and collect unemployment for 2 damn years its disgusting, these are the same people that complain about welfare, um this is welfare. #2 why is it these people took such ridiculous loans out, arm loans and then refinancing over and over again, why is it the banks fault you thought your dumpy house in St. paul was worth 300k when you paid 150k, and over borrowed against it. Please some1 tell me theres no jobs out there, it may appear that way to a lazy person who expects to make $20plus an hour and have no education, if you can’t find a job it might be because of the way you present yourself, you may be unemployable.

    • dphilips

      Spoken like a true Republican moron! There arent enough LIVING WAGE jobs out there! Hope you lose it all one day!!

      • sad but true

        I bought a 125k house , i was approved for 350k, these are the reasons i am a winner and you are not, i always think of the future what if someday im not making good money, and i have to work in a factory or manage a burger king guess what i can still afford my house since i bought a practical home. not an overpriced home, im srry people refinanced over and over, and now are upside down but its their own fault, but no need to accept responsibility

  • sad but true

    Well im not an idiot, i have a low house payment in a modest home, i could have bought a 400k house but im smart enuff to know that sometimes circumstances happen and what if i lose my job, well by buying a 125k house i could work at a gas station and probably sneak by if i had to, living wage jobs mean 2 diff things to 2 diff kind of people. you have the people that are happy to get by, and you have people that expect they need to make $30 an hour so they can afford all their credit card bills and new cars and so on, im srry pal you made poor decisions in life, why try to blame someelse it just doesn’t make sense

  • dphilips

    The large mortgage lenders are the ones to blame, along with the investment banks and insurance cos.

    • sanity

      Absolutely right. But you forgot to add the mortgage holders who knew they couldn’t afford their homes, the ones who refinanced continuously, and the people who didn’t research before making the decision to take these mortgages. The blame falls on their shoulders just as much as the lenders.

    • Ownership

      Why aren’t the people who were stupid enough to buy a house they couldn’t afford, nice cars, vacations etc responsible for their own situation. Until this thinking of balming everyone but yourself changes this will continue to happen.

  • SRS1011

    I AM the man in this story and because you didnt get to hear the whole story Ill tell it to you. This home was in another part of the state…..54 miles one way to get to my work. Also….I cant FINANCE a rubber band….you inconsiderite jerks. I can afford what I can afford because Ive worked every day of my life since I was 16 y/o. I have NEVER ONCE taken a hand out from any government program….welfare or otherwise. As far as my wife leaving me….If you need to know she cheated on me for over a year prior. Go stuff your opinions somewhere else because I will never let idiots like Superman get to me.

    • SRS1011

      Not to mention I bought the house with two incomes in mind. When she left she left and took her side of the income with her. We did not buy outside of our availability.

    • Elephants Fly

      SRS – Shawn Rubberband Smith?

    • Elephants Fly

      Did you not choose to live 54 miles from work?
      She cheated on you for over a year? Now the whole world knows. I think I dated her.

  • Bill

    A lot of you need to take your heads out of the sand and look at how BIg Buiness is running this country. Un less you know the whole story on home foreclousers and how the banks are winning on this process.Take a look around you, take a good look.

    • Elephants Fly


      If you could spell foreclosure, you might be able to avoid foreclosure.

  • unknown

    I’m the one that got this story for WCCO’s Rachel Slavik leave the guy alone

    • Elephants Fly

      What does this mean? You work for WCCO?

  • Elephants Fly

    I’ve seen a baseball bat, a horse fly, a needle that could wink its eye, but I’ve never seen an elephant fly. I’ve also never bought a rubber band. If I did, however, I would not ask Shawn to loan me the money to buy one.

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