Drowning in debt, that's the story of more and more homeowners in Mesa County. According to the public trustee, foreclosures are up 20–percent over the same time last year.
According to a new survey, one in seven homeowners across the U.S. owes more on their house than it's worth.
And although the numbers in Mesa County are still below the national average, more people are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
When Renee Stockman and her fiancée Richard Harvey started getting letter after letter from the bank they knew they were in trouble.
Notices of default and foreclosure came crashing down and now Renee is worried she and Richard won't be able to keep the house.
"Our kids didn't really have a christmas this year," Stockman told 11 News on Monday.
The stocking at her house went empty this year. Rather than put any presents under the tree for her kids, she's trying to keep a roof over their heads.
"I already know three friends that lost their homes to foreclosure without even a heartbeat."
Stockman was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident three years ago and can't work.
Now her fiancee is trying to keep the bills paid.
"We're pretty much living paycheck to paycheck right now which we never did before. Bounce this bill one month and pay this one."
The couple is six payments behind and in foreclosure and trying desperately to dig their way out.
It's a story jon lindman hears more and more in Mesa County.
He's a default and foreclosure counselor for Housing Resources of Western Colorado.
"I wish I could wave the magic wand and say for you we can reduce your mortgage to such a degree you can pay just a few dollars a month but that doesn't happen. There are real live investors holding real live mortgage papers," Lindman told 11 News on Monday.
He says there are ways out if you're in default or foreclosure.
The first thing to do is talk to you're lender about what's going on and make cuts in your budget.
"Might have to let go of a car, they might need to cancel that Bresnan or all the cell phones. It might require some very significant changes."
After that, there's refinancing, loan modification or sale.
He says lenders don't want to foreclose either since they also lose money in the deal and now because of the national meltdown, he says lendors are more willing to work with homeowners.
And stockman is hoping that someone will work with her.
"This is our home, this is our kids home."
Lindman says if you can get the lender to agree to a loan modification you can save up to five–percent on your monthly mortgage payment.
For an average mortgage that could be up to $200 a month.
Even if you're not in default or foreclosure and you need some relief, it could be a great way to help make ends meet.
For more information on Housing Resources of Western Colorado click on the link below.