Monday, June 24, 2013

Are Short Sales Worth the Trouble?

Short sales – a real estate transaction in which the homeowner needs to sell the property, but owes more on the mortgage than the home currently is worth – continue to dominate the housing market, but these real estate transactions aren’t for everyone.

Making sense for my Readers:
  • Typically with a short sale, the homeowner is underwater and has experienced a financial hardship such as a job loss.  To limit the damage to his credit rating, a homeowner may attempt to work with his lender to negotiate a short sale.  Not only must the bank approve of the short sale itself, it also must agree to the price, since the bank will accept the difference as a loss.
  • Unlike foreclosures, in which the owner has walked away and the bank is looking to unload a vacant – and sometimes vandalized – property, a short sale isn’t a distressed home that will sell at an extremely low price.  According to data from RealtyTrac, short sales typically sold for nearly 10 percent less than the market price in the first quarter of 2011, whereas foreclosures sold at an average discount of 35 percent.
  • Home buyers wanting to purchase a short sale must have patience.  In most cases, when a buyer makes an offer on a house, he receives a response from the seller within a few days, or even hours.  With a short sale, the bank must approve of the sale and bank representatives are overloaded with cases.  It may take 30 days or longer for a buyer to receive a response from the bank.
  • In a traditional real estate transaction, it is common for a home buyer who currently owns his home to make his offer contingent on selling his current home.  In short sales, most banks will not approve an offer that is contingent on the buyer selling his current home, as too many things can go wrong.
  • Banks also typically won’t consider short-sale offers that have inspection contingencies in them, so buyers can either do an inspection prior to making an offer or forego an inspection altogether.
Even with the challenges associated with short sales, buyers should be aware it takes along time, your offer can't be contingent on selling your current home, and it is an as-is sale.  not avoid these transactions.  Being prepared ahead of the time and working with an experienced REALTOR® can help buyers avoid frustration

Monday, June 17, 2013

Did You Miss The Boat On Record-Low Mortgage Rates?

Ed Torrez--Prediction
Borrowers who didn’t take advantage of the historically low interest rates likely have missed the opportunity to purchase or refinance using an ultra-low mortgage rate. In the past month, rates have been on the rise and are expected to continue to climb. Fannie Mae’s chief economist doesn’t believe mortgage rates will ever be that low again.

Making sense for my readers:

  • According to the economist, the Fed is going to stop bolstering the housing market, which has kept rates at rock-bottom levels by buying up to $85 billion a month of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. That has enabled lenders to sell mortgage loans at low interest rates and recoup their money immediately – plus profits.

  • If the Fed stops purchasing the securities, private investors will have to pick up the slack. For investors to do that, the loans will have to offer a better payoff, and that would mean raising rates for borrowers.

  • Low mortgage rates generally are a result of an economy in distress. But now, the market believes the economy is getting stronger. Job gains have picked up, and the fact that that hiring is advancing rather than retreating is good news for the economy. Any positive future reports are expected to push rates higher.

  • Today’s rates are unprecedented. The ever-popular 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit a 37-year low in 2003 at 5.23 percent. It is likely that any return to normal conditions will be accompanied by higher mortgage rates.

  • Borrowers should keep in mind that even if rates go up a percentage point or two, mortgages will still be relatively low. Historically, 30-year loans are usually 5.5 percent or higher. For clues in the direction of mortgage rates, experts recommend borrowers look at the daily movements in 10-year Treasury bond yields. Mortgage rates track Treasury yields with the difference between them holding fairly constant.

Monday, August 22, 2011

IRS's Summertime top 10 tax tips for home sellers

IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-15, August 8, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has some important information to share with individuals who have sold or are about to sell their home. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may qualify to exclude all or part of that gain from your income. Here are ten tips from the IRS to keep in mind when selling your home.
  1. In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.
  2. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).
  3. You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.
  4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.
  5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.
  6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
  7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.
  8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.
  9. If you received the first-time homebuyer credit and within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full credit is due with the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence, using Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year’s tax return.
  10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.
For more information about selling your home, see IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home. This publication is available at or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which State has the Most Mortgage Fraud?

Reports of mortgage fraud are on the rise: A government agency reported this week a 31 percent jump in mortgage fraud cases for the first quarter of this year, largely attributed to additional reviews from banks of loans issued several years ago that now have gone bad.

California cities dominated the rankings for the highest incidences of mortgage fraud in the nation — occupying six of the top 10 spots, according to the report issued by The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

The following is a list of the top 10 metro areas with the highest reports of mortgage fraud in the first quarter of this year, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
  3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
  4. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
  5. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.
  6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.
  7. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.
  8. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
  9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah
Source: Finacial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of the Trasuary 1st Quarter 2011