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Foreclosures in 2008 break another record

The record has been broken again.

Unfortunately, it is a record the Dakota County Sheriff's Office would rather not break.

In 2008, the civil division of the office handled 2,064 home foreclosures, an increase of 506 from 2007's 1,558 foreclosures. That number, too, was a record, up 694 in 2006.

The number of foreclosure sales in the county has grown each year since 1999, but not nearly at the pace of the last several years. In 1999, there were 194 foreclosure sales. The number actually decreased to 159 in 2000, but the numbers have been increasing every year since then.

In spite of the increased total for the year, there is some good news to report. According to Sheriff's Office documents, for the first time in the last two years, November and December foreclosures were fewer than those of the same months of the previous year.

The sales are published in area newspapers - the Farmington Independent/Rosemount Town Pages, Dakota County Tribune, and Hastings Star Gazette. Generally, few people other than lending institutions attend the sales.

"We become aware of them (the sales), when the law firms (who file notice of the sales for banks and lending institutions) notify us," Sgt. Joe Mulnix of the Sheriff's Office's civil division said. "If a homeowner pays off the delinquent payments, the law firm can postpone the sale. Or if you file bankruptcy, that stops the sale."

In most cases, after the foreclosure sale occurs, there is a six-month redemption period, in which the property owner can redeem the property. The records of the sales and redemption notices are on file in the Dakota County Property Records Division.

According to state law, the homeowner has the right to redeem the property from the foreclosing lender. The homeowner is allowed to stay in the property for this time period, Mulnix said.

Prior to the sale, to cancel the sale, a homeowner can pay off the delinquent payments. Once the sale occurs, the homeowner must pay the entire amount due - through the redemption process.

The most common way homeowners are able to redeem their costs is by selling their home, assuming they have enough equity. Occasionally, they are able to obtain new financing.

When the redemption period expires, homeowners must be off the property or the lender may call upon the Sheriff's Office to forcibly evict the residents.

Foreclosure sale schedules are available on the Dakota County Web site at There is a link at both the sheriff's office and the property records sites.