REALTORs Push Back on Behalf of The Distressed Property Homeowner in California

While nationwide, distressed property sales showed signs of improvement, California’s distressed preoperty sales took a dip in the month of July.

The California Association of REALTORs (C.A.R.) points to lenders’ requirements which make closing these transactions a difficult process.

C.A.R. recently sent letters to the heads of the nation’s largest lenders – JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo – making recommendations on how the short sale process can be improved and calling for the lenders’ urgent attention to address the issue.

Beyond the customary requests for realistic timelines and explanation for short sales that are rejected, the trade group is asking the lenders to disclose up front whether or not they actually own the original loan and be clear on who has the final authority to approve a short sale offer.

Realtors also say the process would move along much more quickly if lenders would pre-approve the short sale and price upon request, prior to the property being listed.

They want the lenders to increase the amount junior lien holders are given for agreeing to a short sale; second mortgages can often derail a transaction.

From “California Distressed Sales Decline, Realtors Push for Streamlined Shorts” an article written by Carrie Bay, DSNews, 8/26/11

If I Sell My Home in a Short Sale, Will the Bank Pursue Me for the Difference?

I am happy to quickly say, as of July 15, 2011, not any more. Here’s why –

Last year the Legislature passed Senate Bill 931 adding Section 580e to the California Code of Civil Procedure and stating that the senior lien holder could not pursue a deficiency judgment after a short sale which they had previously approved. The law equally applies to purchase money, hard money and refinance – as long as there was no cash out.

However, although the passage of the bill was a great victory for homeowners, it left a few items undetermined and unsettled. Questions such as “What about the junior lien holder?”, “What if a borrower’s short sale closed prior to that date, was it retroactive?”, and “Does the law apply to investors?”

This year the Legislature passed Senate Bill 458, amending Section 580e and extending the protection of SB 931, by making it applicable to junior liens as well. In addition to not being able to get a deficiency judgment it provides that after a short sale, no deficiency shall be owed or collected and no deficiency judgment shall be requested or rendered provided the short sale closed escrow and the lender was paid the amount they agreed to accept.

So what does this mean in lay man’s terms? Although the law does not specifically say so, it is likely the courts will interpret that section to mean that it applies to a short sale closing either before or after July 15, 2011, the effective date of the new section – making it retroactive. That analysis, according to attorney Dave Tanner with Hanson Law Firm, is based on the provision that the short money cannot be collected and no deficiency can be requested. It also applies to investment owned properties up to 4 units, and will bar lenders from turning these loans over to a collection company which some lenders were doing even though the earlier section barred a deficiency judgment.

The amended law further provides that the holder of a note shall not require the seller to pay any additional compensation, aside from the proceeds of the sale, in exchange for their consent to the short sale.

The remaining question is whether this law will protect the seller from liability after a short sale or whether it will lead lenders to denying short sales in favor of pursuing foreclosure where a deficiency of a junior lien can still be pursued.

That question, as well as an industry question, how the law will affect other parties of the transaction, title companies and real estate agents, as it pertains to the junior lien holders attempting to usurp the law and collect on the deficiency, remain to be seen. Because the probabilities exist, we are certain to hear more about them in the very near future.

If you have any questions or are considering a short sale and want to discuss your options, feel free to contact me at (916) 678-1803 or visit my website at www.SheSoldItForMe.com. For real estate law advice, contact the Hanson Law Firm at (916) 447-9181 or log on to their website at www.HansonLawFirm.com

The majority of the information contained in this article came from excerpts shared by Dave Tanner of Hanson Law Firm on August 26, 2011 at the monthly Sacramento Association of REALTORS industry update meeting.

Ten Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

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 http://www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

City of Elk Grove Lands 1,500 New Jobs

Elk Grove, CA – Elk Grove will soon be home to a state agency headquarters, bringing more than 1,500 high-quality jobs to the Elk Grove economy and helping balance the city’s jobs-to-housing ratio.

The California Correctional Health Care Services announced the new location for its

headquarters in the Laguna Springs Corporate Center at 9260 Laguna Springs Drive. The city estimates that the jobs will generate up to $4 million dollars in economic benefit to the City.

“California Correctional Health Care Services selecting Elk Grove as their new home means high paying, high-quality jobs for the City of Elk Grove, and is a tremendous shot in the arm for our local economy,” said Mayor Steven Detrick. “This is a significant accomplishment for the city, and represents a true collaboration between the Elk Grove City Council and city staff.”

For more than three years, Mayor Steven Detrick and Councilmember Gary Davis served on an Ad Hoc Committee tasked with attracting state agencies to Elk Grove.

According to state officials, the headquarters moving to this location spreads more of the state business throughout the region, helping to balance commute routes. Approximately 700 cars will be removed from heavy northbound 99 and I-5 commutes. Roughly 50 percent of Correctional Health Care workers already live in Elk Grove, South Sacramento and the Pocket area.

“Consolidating headquarters operations for Correctional Health Care will increase our efficiency, reduce expenses, and contribute to building the health care culture I believe we need for the organization to succeed. The selection of this location is the first step in these efforts,” said Federal Receiver J. Clark Kelso.

Correctional Health Care officials were drawn to the site because of free parking, plenty of retail and consumer services within walking distance, and public transit services.

“With nearly one out of every three workers in Elk Grove employed by the State of California, the city has worked tirelessly to bring state offices to Elk Grove,” said Councilmember Gary Davis. “The new California Correctional Health Care Services facility located in Elk Grove will relieve traffic on the freeways, improve air quality, and be an impetus for even more job creation.”

The City of Elk Grove has been focusing efforts to balance the job-to-housing ratio and attract state jobs to Elk Grove. The city has sponsored legislation requiring state agencies to take into account the location of employees when considering a move.

The city was also the first in California to introduce an incentive program targeting state office buildings. The program is designed to bring state jobs closer to where their employees reside by offering incentives that may be used towards relocation costs, fee reductions, construction costs, building improvements, monthly rent, or even transportation or other quality of life subsidies for the employees. The program was recently expanded to include federal office buildings.

California Correctional Health Care Services is in negotiations with the Laguna Springs Corporate Center. If the negotiations are successful, it’s anticipated a new lease will be executed and the phased move will begin next year.

For more information about the City of Elk Grove’s economic development program, visit http://www.openuptoelkgrove.org or contact Heather Ross at 916-478-3686 or hross@elkgrovecity.org.

For more info about CCHCS jobs go to http://cphcs.hodesiq.com/index.asp