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140-year-old Florida boatyard going to auction

A Florida boatyard that is more than 140 years old is facing the same demise as many other condos and homes throughout the state, and has been foreclosed on and is expected to be sent off to auction on Thursday.

According to sources the Merrill-Stevens boatyard foreclosure can be blamed on a number of factors, including a downturn in the marine industry with not as many people having yachts repaired, which in turn meant that the boatyards owner eventually fell behind on monthly mortgage payments.

After falling behind for several months, the owner did in fact contact the bank to see if the monthly mortgage payments could be reduced through a loan modification, which would have most likely kept the business afloat.

At first this idea seemed to work and an agreement was reached for a modification; however, that deal ended up falling through, leaving the historic boatyard with no other choice but to go into foreclosure.

In the beginning, falling behind on payments and going into foreclosure is far from what the owner pictured when he purchased the boatyard in 2004. At that point the plan was even to put more money into Merrill-Stevens to not only expand services, but to also make it more modern.

And while the recession put an end to that idea, the owner of Merrill-Stevens did indeed try and keep the dream alive - or at least the boatyard open - by attempting to obtain a mortgage modification. Sadly, for whatever reason, the bank went back on the agreement and the property went into foreclosure.

However, while the news tends to report on many of the people who have lost their home or property, there are also many who have been able to actually receive a mortgage modification, and were able to keep their property.

It is important to keep in mind that banks do not have a legal obligation to give someone a loan modification, and that the process can be tricky as not all banks follow the same modification procedures. However, if someone is facing foreclosure, learning more about the entire process could be the first step in keeping a home or property.

Source: Miami Herald, "Historic boatyard on auction block," Toluse Olorunnipa, 3 Feb 2011

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