Nationwide, there were 2.1 million mortgages in some stage of foreclosure as of October, according to research firm LPS Applied Analytics. The average loan in foreclosure—the process typically starts when a loan becomes 90 days past due and a bank files a complaint—had been in default for 492 days as of October, up from 289 days at the end of 2005, according to LPS. In Florida, one of the states where foreclosures are handled by courts, the average loan in foreclosure has been delinquent 596 days.
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla.— Patsy Campbell could tell you a thing or two about fighting foreclosure. She’s been fighting hers for 25 years.The 71-year-old retired insurance saleswoman has been living in her house, a two-story on a half acre in a tidy middle-class neighborhood here in central Florida, since 1978. The last time she made a mortgage payment was October 1985. And yet Ms. Campbell has been able to keep her house, protected by a 105-pound pit bull named Dodger and a locked, rusty gate advising visitors to beware of the dog."They’re not going to take this house," says Ms. Campbell. "I intend to stay in this house and maintain it as my residence until I die….Many Florida real-estate lawyers say it is the longest-lasting foreclosure case they have ever heard of.The story of how Ms. Campbell has managed to avoid both paying her mortgage and losing her home, which is currently assessed at more than $203,000, is a cautionary tale for lenders that cut corners and followed sloppy practices when originating, processing and servicing mortgages. Lenders are especially vulnerable in the 23 states, including Florida, that require foreclosures to be approved by a judge.
By Robbie Whelan, Dec. 4, 2010 WSJ