Tax Reprieve for some California Short Sales in 2014

California short sale sellers have been awaiting news on whether or not the state tax board would follow the federal tax guidelines with respect to debt forgiveness. In fact, when the tax Act was extended, Californians were told that any forthcoming decision at the state level would be retroactive. In an attempt to clarify state tax policy on debt forgiveness, politicians created Senate Bill 30, but it has not yet passed. As such, any Californians who participated in a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure in 2013 still did not know about their own state tax liability—until recently.

Thanks to a letter from Senator Barbara Boxer to the IRS, Californians now have that clarification. In November, Senator Boxer received the following IRS response clarifying that California families who have lost their homes in a short sale will not be subjected to a tax penalty for debt forgiven after the federal law prohibiting such penalties expires at the end of this year, and the Franchise Tax Board has agreed with those clarifications.

Enacted in July of 2011, California has an anti-deficiency law that protects homeowners from lenders attempting to collect additional assets in the case of a closed short sale transaction. But until Senator Boxer wrote her letter, the IRS had not clarified how this might play out in California. Like many Californians, Senator Boxer noted that with the end of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 just around the corner, “…distressed borrowers may face the unfortunate incentive to go to foreclosure rather than seek a short sale in order to avoid a large tax bill.”

The IRS reply included excellent news for California homeowners, clarifying that these families will not face burdensome tax penalties as a result of participating in a short sale—specifically because of the state anti-deficiency statutes. With approximately 55,000 anticipated short sales in 2014 in the state of California, this is good news for those distressed borrowers still on the fence about selling as a short sale.

Californians might not want to do jump for joy just yet. Reilly states, “there are situations where this rule might work against the taxpayer, particularly those who borrowed against property after it appreciated.” He goes on to outline a few of those situations and points out that some of the various exceptions to recognizing debt discharge (including insolvency) will no longer be available remedies.

IRSResponse.nonrecourse 2014

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FHA Trims Waiting Period for Borrowers Who Experienced Foreclosure

 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing borrowers who went through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short sale to reenter the market in as little as 12 months, according to a mortgage letter released Friday.

 

Borrowers who experienced a foreclosure must wait at least three years before getting a chance to get approved for an FHA loan, but with the new guideline, certain borrowers who lost their home as a result of an economic hardship may be considered even earlier.

 

For borrowers who went through a recession-related financial event, FHA stated it realizes “their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

 

In order to be eligible for the more lenient approval process, provided documents must show “certain credit impairments” were from loss of employment or loss of income that was beyond the borrower’s control. The lender also needs to verify the income loss was at least 20 percent for a period lasting for at least six months.

 

Additionally, borrowers must demonstrate they have fully recovered from the event that caused the hardship and complete housing counseling.

 

According to the letter, recovery from an economic event involves reestablishing “satisfactory credit” for at least 12 months. Criteria for satisfactory credit include 12 months of good payment history on payments such as a mortgage, rent, or credit account.

 

The new guidance is for case numbers assigned on or after August 15, 2013, and is effective through September 30

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HUD-Owned Homes Expected to Increase

The following article appeared in REALTOR Magazine on April 30, 2013:

HUD-Owned Homes Expected to Surge

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is reportedly going to be releasing more of its homes to the market, which could be welcome news to buyers who have faced slim pickings in for-sale inventories.

Over the next two years, experts predict that HUD homes on the market will increase significantly as lenders work through the backlogs of foreclosures and foreclosure reviews.

“The inventory is there, [it’s] just not being released during the banks/servicers review of the loan/mortgage documents,” says Nat Genis, a HUD listing broker in Riverside County, Calif., which is already seeing an increase in HUD-owned homes.

“HUD homes are back,” Genis told HousingWire. “FHA financing went away with the ‘creative’ financing of the 80/20 loans, and now with the increase of FHA financing, these government-backed loans guarantee that if the borrower defaults, HUD will pay off the mortgage, obtain the deed, and re-sell the home.”

HUD-owned homes can be appealing because of the discounted sales price, even though they can be in poor condition often times, HousingWire reports.

HUD had 39,442 homes in its REO inventory nationwide as of Feb. 28, 2013—with 20,536 of those having pending contracts on them, according to HUD.

SOURCE: Housingwire (04/29/13)

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Sacramento Homes Prices on the Rise

Sacramento is suffering from lack of inventory for sale.  Due to the lack of available homes, the home prices in December, 2012 are on the rise.

Figures released by DataQuick show that the median home prices in Sacramento County rose 18% in December compared to December, 2011 from $155,000 to $183,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fiscal Cliff and Real Estate

Late in the evening of Tuesday, January 1st Congress reached a settlement in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, and President Obama signed the legislation January 2nd.  As a result, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was extended another year.  The measure will continue to exempt from taxation mortgage debt that is forgiven when homeowners and their mortgage lenders negotiate a short sale, loan modification (including principal reduction), or foreclosure.
The same provision also expired in California, but Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) introduced SB 30, which would waive the potential tax bill for Californians for all of 2013.  C.A.R. already signed on as the bill’s sponsor, and the two hope to fast track the bill through the Legislature.

Also under the fiscal cliff agreement, the so called “Pease Limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers.  These limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000.  The thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation so will rise over time.  Under the formula, filers gradually lose the value of their total itemized deductions up to a total of a 20 percent deduction.  The reinstitution of these limits has far less impact on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) than a hard dollar deduction cap, percentage deduction cap, or reduction of the amount of MID that can be claimed.

Capital gains rates on the sale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples.

REALTORS® should encourage their clients to consult with their own tax advisers about their own individual tax situation.

Information provided by Sacramento Association of Realtors.

 

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Article Posted on Zillow – 1 in 3 homeowner’s underwater

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Great Article posted on www.zillow.com that I wanted to share.

One in three mortgage holders still underwater

By John W. Schoen, Senior Producer

Got that sinking feeling? Amid signs that the U.S. housing market is finally rising from a long slumber, real estate Web site Zillow reports that homeowners are still under water.

Nearly 16 million homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their home was worth in the first quarter, or nearly one-third of U.S. homeowners with mortgages. That’s a $1.2 trillion hole in the collective home equity of American households.

Despite the temptation to just walk away and mail back the keys, nine of 10 underwater borrowers are making their mortgage and home loan payments on time. Only 10 percent are more than 90 days delinquent.

Still, “negative equity” will continue to weigh on the housing market – and the broader economy – because it sidelines so many potential home buyers. It also puts millions of owners at greater risk of losing their home if the economic recovery stalls, according to Zillow’s chief economist, Stan Humphries.

“If economic growth slows and unemployment rises, more homeowners will be unable to make timely mortgage payments, increasing delinquency rates and eventually foreclosures,” he said.

For now, the recent bottoming out in home prices seems to be stabilizing the impact of negative equity; the number of underwater homeowners held steady from the fourth quarter of last year and fell slightly from a year ago.

Zillow map: Where homes are underwater

Real estate market conditions vary widely across the country, as does the depth of trouble homeowners find themselves in. Nearly 40 percent of homeowners with a mortgage owe between 1 and 20 percent more than their home is worth. But 15 percent – approximately 2.4 million – owe more than double their home’s market value.

Nevada homeowners have been hardest hit, where two-thirds of all homeowners with a mortgage are underwater. Arizona, with 52 percent, Georgia (46.8 percent), Florida (46.3 percent) and Michigan (41.7 percent) also have high percentages of homeowners with negative equity.

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August Foreclosure Statistics

Foreclosure filings rose in August, as more homeowners fell behind on their mortgage payments.  

Filing were up 7% compared to July, but were still 33% lower than a year ago. 

According to Realty Tract’s report, 228,098 homes in the US received some kind of foreclosure filing in August.  Foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions, which come later in the process, both fell slightly. 

The increased in default notices may signal that lenders are starting to finally push through foreclosure paperwork that was previously delayed by “robo-signing”. 

The good news is that bank repossessions have been falling.  Lenders repossessed 64,813 homes in August, a six-month low and a 37% decline after they hit a peak in September last year. 

Meanwhile, foreclosure auctions were scheduled for 84,405 homes, the lowest number in more than three years. 

Nevada, California and Arizona housing markets are the hardest hit by foreclosures. 

Information from CNNMoney.com

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New wave of foreclosures hit Sacramento again

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The Sacramento Beepublished an article September 26, 2011 with the following statistics compiled by RealtyTrac and Foreclosure-Response.org.  They placed our region’s shadow inventory at 53,256 homes in the four surrounding areas of Sacramento, Yolo, Placerand El Dorado counties.

They included in this number three categories of distressed properties:

  • 12,285 houses already owned by banks but not sold
  • 19,367 units whose owners have received an initial foreclosure notice, or notice of default, but have not been foreclosed on
  • 21,604 homeowners who are 90 days or more delinquent on their payments but have not received a notice of default

Lenderare starting to pick up the pace on repossessions once again.  The figures provided by RealtyTrac show foreclosures in the area soared 76% from July to August, the highest number in 11 months.

Based on this “shadow inventory” it would take a year and a half to sell these distressed homes.

To read the complete article by Rick Daysog of the Sacramento Bee click here

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Most American’s Opposed to Homeowners Walking Away from Mortgages

A recent survey conducted by FindLaw.com a legal information website found that 60% of Americans believe that it is “never OK” for homeowners to simply stop making payments on their mortgages.  34% say it’s OK for homeowners to walk away from mortgages, but only if they aren’t able to make the monthly payments.  Only 3% believe that homeowners should be able to walk away from their mortgage anytime they want. 

Before making any major decisions, homeowners should consult with financial and legal professionals, including accountants, real estate attorneys and financial advisors.  Any major change to a mortgage situation could lead to serious and unanticipated consequences involving taxes, contract law, credit scores, ability to borrow in the future, potential for lawsuits and much more.

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Thinking About Buying a Foreclosure? Things to Think About!

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 1)      Obtain a Home Inspection – The house may look great on the surface but might have hidden problems which could require expensive repairs.  On the other hand, a fixer may look bad but could have excellent bones that can be repaired at a reasonable cost.  Even if the listing agent has previous inspections and reports that may be a few months old, you may want to still consider having a new inspection as a sitting home can deteriorate a bit. 

2)      Use Common Real Estate Logic – Too many people focus on price alone.  You need to keep in mind sub-par locations, poor lighting, terrible views, below average school district, high crime rates and other negatives that may be another reason why a home went into foreclosure.  You should always try to find out how long the home has been empty; the longer it has, the more of chance it may not be a good deal.  Also, if there are other foreclosures nearby, that may be a reason for concern. 

3)      Rethink or Skip the Flip – Even if the house looks like a great flipping opportunity, beware unless you are a pro, with incredible contractor connections.  You may want to triple the amount you think you will be spending to fix up the home.  Sometimes the temptation to make fast money doesn’t always pan out, so think it through and speak to a real estate professional and contractors. 

4)      Go over the Budget – A fixer-upper means nothing if you can’t afford to fix it up.  Make sure you have an ample budget to do all of the repairs needed.

 5)      See the house in person – You should never buy a house without going in person to see it.

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