Banks can't keep up with foreclosures anymore

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With an economy in ruins, how many foreclosures do banks have to deal with nowadays? Enough that the process of dealing with homeowners in default is taking years to complete.

As a result, more and more Americans are learning that if mortgage payments are becoming too much of a burden on the old bank account, a new surefire way to curb the bills is to simply foreclose. The wave of foreclosures has swept so many homeowners into default that banks can’t deal with the droves of customers and the unfortunate filers for foreclosure are finding a positive side to the depressing ordeal.

Homeowners are quickly realizing that the foreclosure processes — in all of its complicated glory made seemingly impossible by red tape and written forms — could take upwards of two years’ time to go through. In the interim, Americans are foregoing mortgage payments and living scot free while they wait for the banks to catch up on their calling it quits.

Now it seems like the best way to buy a home is to buy your time with the banks.

With the average foreclosure taking 631 days to go through, homeowners are learning that they can stay sheltered for upwards of two years even with the banks aware. While waiting for the paperwork to go through, homeowners are learning that banks aren’t apt to approach them for missing payments if the foreclosure process is almost finalized either.

"It is happening and it's happening more frequently," Chantay Bridges, a senior real estate specialist with Clear Choice Realty & Associates, tells Business Insider. "They know they have a least a year (for the foreclosure to go through), at minimum, and people are taking advantage of it."

With the US economy in shambles, living mortgage-free while planning ahead, even if for a few months, is one of the only breaks homeowners can get. In exchange often, the only sacrifice is a few points on a credit score.

“The longer I’m in foreclosure, the longer I’m able to save and look towards the future, and after my foreclosure,” Alex Gregg told ABC News last year. Gregg made that comment 19 months after beginning to have the banks foreclose on his home near St. Petersburg, Florida.

Florida has among the highest foreclosure rates in America, with homes in Miami-Dade County foreclosing at about a rate of 1 in 181. Roughly a dozen other counties in the southern state have rates around or under 1 in 300.

More people like Gregg are learning the tricks of the trade thanks to people that are publicizing the way around foreclosure — or at least the ways to prolong the process as long as possible. instructs clients on how to work their way through the foreclosure process, and foreclosure defense attorneys such as Mark Stopa will tell clients to stay put while he fights for them in court.

“If you hire a lawyer such as myself to defend a case, then the process can take longer because a lawyer can force a bank to prove its case,” Stopa told ABC News last year. Stopa runs a similar website to the one above called There Stopa writes, “[J]ust because you can't pay your mortgage doesn't mean you have to leave your home.Just because the bank mails you a letter or files suit against you doesn't mean you need to leave your home.You don't need to leave your home unless and until the bank wins a foreclosure lawsuit against you.”

Around 40 percent of homeowners in default have been occupying their homes for free for at least two years, adds CNN.