Fewer residents in McHenry County found themselves being the recipients of foreclosure notices from banks in 2013.
There were 1,991 foreclosure filings in 2013, about a third less than in 2012, according to figures released by the circuit clerk’s office.
Scott Beilfuss, the managing broker for OK and Associates Realty Plus based in Richmond, said banks are letting more homeowners opt for short sales or loan modifications before starting the foreclosure process.
After a state court ruling, banks have to get paperwork certifying they provided those options to homeowners, said Beilfuss, who also is the president of the Heartland Realtor Organization.
“They’ve always been presented those options,” Beilfuss said.
“The new process is a good thing for everybody,” Beilfuss added.
He said sometimes separate divisions of banks simultaneously would work on a foreclosure and a short sale or loan modification at the same time to see which would be completed first.
“A short sale is better than a foreclosure,” Beilfuss said.
He added the economy has improved.
“People are back to work and feel more confident,” Beilfuss said.
In 2003 there were 789 foreclosures filings in the county. Beilfuss expects foreclosures to return to 2003 levels by 2016.
Beilfuss said people still can get good deals on houses, but there is a limited inventory. He said sellers are receiving multiple offers on houses. Most houses available are still bank-owned and short sales.
Prices also are starting to go up in the Chicago area.
Rob Schaid is a broker for RE/MAX Plaza in McHenry. He said the bad mortgages that were issued at the height of the market have been working their way through the system.
Schaid added people are starting to see an increase in home values and are starting to keep their houses.
Refinancing programs, such as the government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program, have been helpful. The HARP program allows people to refinance their houses, even if the value of their home has declined.
Schaid said he thinks a decline in foreclosures will become a yearly trend.
There are some good deals out there, but prices are starting to come up, Schaid said.
“They’re all going up,” Schaid said. “There used to be a glut of lower-end foreclosures, but we worked through those. There’s not as many of those as there used to be.”
Sheila Butt, the managing broker for the Crystal Lake Prudential First Realty office, said the drop in foreclosures is because people felt more financially stable with a little more job security.
“The public became more secure in their personal situation,” Butt said.
She said short sales were the glut of the housing market, when people started losing jobs or were unable to make mortgage payments.
Prices will start to creep up, Butt said.
“Buyers ... were able to purchase homes in the last three years, and have gotten terrific buys,” Butt said. “I think that has ended.”
The foreclosure process also has been streamlined, and bad mortgages are in the process of going through the system, Butt said.
Butt said she was happy to see the drop in foreclosures.
“I think the investors have scooped up what they could,” Butt said. “Now we’ll go back to a traditional market, which truthfully runs smoother.”
Foreclosure filings in McHenry County
• 2002 - 758
• 2003 - 789
• 2004 - 826
• 2005 - 889
• 2006 - 1,098
• 2007 - 1,549
• 2008 - 2,315
• 2009 - 2,746
• 2010 - 3,635
• 2011 - 2,906
• 2012 - 3,065
• 2013 - 1,991
Source: McHenry County Circuit Clerk