WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Grady Johnson III can't say enough about his real estate agent Yvonne Westerman .
"She was such a blessing," Johnson said.
Six months into a foreclosure she helped him out of a bind.
"I just was stressed. I couldn't make my mortgage and was ready to just walk away," Johnson said.
But he found out he could dodge a foreclosure with a short sale.
"It allows you to walk away with a dignified exit. You're forgiven of the debts 95-percent of the time. And you're forgiven of the taxes because the Debt Relief Act was extended for another year," Westerman said.
Grady's no longer among the 52,000 pending foreclosure cases in the Palm Beach County or the Treasure Coast court system.
Here's the breakdown:
Palm Beach County: 39,000 (as of January 2013 according to Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller's office)
Martin County: 2,973 (as of January 10th, 2013 according to Martin County Clerk and Comptroller's office)
St. Lucie County: 7,941 (as of November 30, 2012 according to the 19th Circuit Court)
Indian River County: 2,266 (as of November 30, 2012 according to the 19th Circuit Court)
Okeechobee County: 607 (as of November 30, 2012 according to the 19th Circuit Court)
Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock says her office is working as quickly as it can to clear cases.
"What we need to do is be able to clear all of the cases so that we can get the real estate community and frankly the whole Palm Beach County community up and running again," Bock said.
It's taking about 18-months on average for a case to clear, giving homeowners more time to negotiate the short sale.
A smart solution Bock said.
"Number one it gets the property on the market more quickly and possibly turned over. Number two the homeowner is potentially secure in knowing that this is now behind them," Bock said.
Mortgage companies are still writing off losses. But those waiting for a final foreclosure judgment in 2014 could end up owing their bank and the IRS thousands of dollars.
"Don't just be the ostrich. You can't just stick your head in the sand. There's help available for you," Westerman said.
Thanks to his short sale, Grady has moved on, even ready to buy again in the future.
"With my credit still in good standards. I'll be able to do that," Grady said.