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Foreclosures Hit Record Highs in Three South Carolina Counties

Unfortunately, it looks like the foreclosure crisis won't be over in South Carolina anytime soon.

This past fall, home foreclosures hit record numbers in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. The data is indicative of trends statewide.

Combined, the three counties saw 299 foreclosure filings in October and 266 in November. Statewide, approximately one out of every 517 homes is in foreclosure.

However, the increase doesn't necessarily mean that hundreds of South Carolina families will soon be kicked out of their homes. Lenders are proceeding more slowly with foreclosures these days, after the industry was rocked by scandals alleging fraud, deception and improper paperwork.

Much of the uptick in South Carolina home foreclosures can be attributed to the state's high unemployment rate. Nearly 10 percent of the South Carolina workforce is without a job. As a result, many homeowners have simply run out of money - even though they want to stay in their homes, they don't have the capital to make the mortgage payments.

South Carolina Foreclosure Alternatives

South Carolina homeowners who are facing foreclosure should know that alternatives exist. A Charleston real estate attorney can evaluate your situation and help you minimize the negative impacts of no longer being able to afford your home.

Short sales are a great option for many homeowners whose homes are worth less than they owe on the mortgage. In a short sale, the bank and the homeowner agree to sell the home for its market value. The bank keeps the proceeds and the homeowner is absolved of his or her duty to pay the difference between the sale price and the outstanding mortgage debt.

Short sales tend to have less of a negative credit rating impact than foreclosures. They also have tax benefits and allow homeowners to exert a greater degree of control over the process.

Other foreclosure alternatives include bankruptcy, refinancing or deeds in lieu of foreclosure.

If you are worried about staying current on your mortgage, contact an experienced real estate attorney who can help you understand what options are available for your particular situation.

Source: Rock Hill Herald, "Home Foreclosures Expected to Continue Rising in Local Counties," Don Worthington, Jan. 1, 2012

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