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Foreclosures closing in on McHenry County baby boomers

Dolan sees many of the same things, adding that a bothersome trend is older parents who refinanced to help a grown child and now can’t afford the payments.

But despite 70 percent of Tony Bellino’s business coming from short sales, the ReMax real estate agent said he is not seeing seniors. He covers much of southern McHenry County and at the height of the housing crash, about 95 percent of his business came from short sales.

Bellino said he’s had only one short-sale client over the age of 60 and doesn’t know why.

Beckstrom has a guess.

“Short sales are such a cumbersome process,” he said. “It might take quite a while for the whole thing to work, and seniors tend to not really want to go through that. They don’t have the time and patience to go through the stress and emotional commitment.”

Plus, their credit score isn’t as important to them as it would be to a younger person, Beckstrom said.

The hit a credit score takes from a short sale is easier to recover from than one from a foreclosure.

Whatever the reason, Dolan doesn’t recommend sitting back and letting a foreclosure just happen.

This month Prairie State Legal Services started up a phone line dedicated solely to handle incoming foreclosure calls, a program paid for through a settlement between the federal government and some of the banks, said Sam Degrino, another lawyer with the nonprofit.

“I have a feeling that a significant portion [of the calls] that we take will be seniors,” Degrino said. “When it comes to foreclosure, seniors have many of the same problems that other homeowners have.”


Prairie State Legal Services provides free legal advice to seniors as well as a few other qualifying groups. The new intake number, specific to those with foreclosure issues, is 888-966-7757. For more information, go to

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of McHenry County provides financial advice. For more information, go to or call 815-338-5757.

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