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Foreclosures Up in Illinois, Down Nationwide
While a new report by RealtyTrac says the number of foreclosures are falling across the country it's a different story in the Land of Lincoln. The report says the number of foreclosures in Illinois climbed a shocking 31% this year compared to last.
[In Sangamon County,] "We conducted 228 in calendar year 2011. So far in 2012 we're up over 300,” said Mike Walton who oversees the foreclosure auction at the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office. “This is one of the jobs of the sheriff's office by law that we don't enjoy doing,” he said.
That's because the story behind a foreclosure usually isn't a happy one. “Lost jobs. You know and they just, or somebody's getting a divorce or like this one, you know where somebody just died," said Realtor Mary Jo Welch of Re/Max Professionals.
While there's many reasons a property goes into foreclosures there's usually only one outcome. “99% of the time the mortgage company or the bank buys them back," Walton said. The other 1% of the time people like Welch try their luck.
“You don't know what people have done to the home,” she said. And you can't see it before you buy it, at least on the inside. “I've seen ones where they turn the water on before they walk out the door and the house is full of mold. I've seen them where they strip a house. They take the furnace, they take the air conditioner, they take all the cabinets, they take the electrical. They take everything," she said.
It doesn't matter. If you outbid the bank at the auction you get what you get and you have to pay the full purchase price within 24 hours. "Why do that? I don't know. It's kind of a challenge," Welch said.
With so many foreclosed properties in Sangamon County the possibilities are endless. “I can then go in and I might keep it, I might move into it, I might use it for rental, I might just fix it up and re-sell it," Welch said.