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Jan 14, 2011 12:40 AM by Matt Stafford

Bracing for another tough year for foreclosures in El Paso County

In El Paso County experts are saying they aren't expecting to break any foreclosure records in 2011, but they are bracing for another bad year.

"They've held on as long as they could, some people, and they just can't anymore," says Carey Goldberg, a realtor and volunteer for the Pikes Peak Foreclosure Prevention Partnership. He takes calls from people trying to avoid foreclosure and he says those phones have been busy.

"Probably 50 to 80 calls a month," Goldberg says. "That's a lot of calls; a lot of files to work." He says 10 volunteers handle all of the calls, along with their full-time jobs. Goldberg says the numbers have gotten so high that the partnership desperately needs more volunteers to keep up. Also, based on what he's seeing, he expects the phone to keep ringing this year.

"Things are not really improving statewide," says Tom Mowle, Public Trustee for El Paso County.

Mowle says the big reasons are that people are out of work and many are seeing balloon payments based on creative lending arrangements -- many have just been paying interest on the mortgage, now the principle is due.

"I think we're going to be about the same in 2011 than we were in 2010, maybe five percent better or so," says Mowle.

Five percent isn't much, considering last year was the second highest foreclosure year on record for the county with 4,828. 2009 was the highest with 5,470 foreclosures. Compounding the problem, Mowle says not enough people are checking into their options -- like a 90-day deferment or just checking with his office to see what can be done.

"People don't realize that," says Goldberg. "They just try to work with the lender; and the lender will take their money, but may not stop the foreclosure."

Goldberg can't stress enough to call for help early.

"It takes a long time to get any of these processes through," Goldberg says.

If you would like help with, or avoiding, the foreclosure process you can call either of these numbers:

Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Program - 1-877-601-HOPE (4673)
Pikes Peak Foreclosure Prevention Partnership - 719-444-8833

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