There may be money available for you under the National Mortgage Settlement

Elk Grove Short Sales -Mortgage Rescue
Elk Grove Short Sales -Mortgage Rescue
Recently, well last year, I wrote about both the National Mortgage Settlement (In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers), and the Independent Foreclosure Review (Ten mortgage servicing companies subject to enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing reached an agreement in principle with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Board to pay more than $8.5 billion in cash payments and other assistance to help borrowers).

Today I received an e-newsletter from BPE Law Group which summarizes the most recent happenings with both lawsuits settlements. I thought it was very well put together and so I’m sharing it with you below. I highly recommend BPE Law Group (info at the end of this post) should you have any further questions regarding these legal matters, and how they might affect you.

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If your loan was owned or serviced by any of the settling banks – BofA, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi, or Ally – and your home was foreclosed upon between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, you may be eligible to receive a cash payment as part of the settlement. A settlement administrator has been appointed to accept claims and to oversee the distribution of settlement payments.

Claim forms must be submitted by no later than January 18, 2013.

The easiest and fastest way to submit your claim is online.
Go to: https://nationalmortgagesettlementclaim.com/ and follow the instructions.

Information about the settlement administrator is also available at: http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. The e-mail address for the administrator is administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com The administrator can also be called toll-free at 1-866-430-8358.

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In addition, a separate Program had been lauched previously creating a Independent Foreclosure Review for those who may have been foreclosed between 2009-2010. However, the processing has been a nightmare. Last week, a Settlement was reached whereby the settling lenders agreed to pay $8.5 Billion to a fund and the Foreclosure Review was shut down. Within the next few weeks, a process will be set-up to submit claims. Watch your mail box for more. You can learn more at: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20130107a.htm

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None of the above Settlement programs bars a foreclosed party from asserting separate damage claims against their lender, assuming they have the financial capacity to do so. A few Class Action lawsuits have been set up around the country although they, like individual lawsuits, appear to be bogged down in the Courts.

If you have questions concerning your rights and possible recovery against your lender, you may want to have a follow-up consultation with us.

This home loans crisis is destroying hopes and dreams and families across our nation. If you know anyone struggling with these problems, please do them a favor and pass this newsletter along to them. We have a flat fee $200 consultation that guides you in identifying the problems and risks and creates a strategy to deal with them. A similar program is being set-up for Commercial Property Owner Consultations.

Steve Beede, Founder and Managing Partner
BPE Law Group, Inc.
Main: 11140 Fair Oaks Blvd., Suite 300, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Satellite: 9245 Laguna Springs Dr., Suite 200, Elk Grove, CA 95758
(Appointment Only)
(916) 966-2260
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Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get your financial house in order.

I Don’t Need An Agent, I Can Do This On My Own and Save Some Money

Elk Grove Real Estate Short Sale Agent – How to Really Save Money

It’s the age old adage, “they just want your money”. And so, time and time again, many people spend countless hours plotting and scheming to try to avoid calling a professional to handle whatever ails them in an effort to save some money. But more often than not, whether it’s the plumber, mechanic, or real estate agent, the sad irony is, eventually the call will need to be made.

Here is the reality, you can’t do it all. And you should not have a problem throwing some money at someone who can do it for you — and do it well.

Are there dishonest people out there who have no intention of providing you great service or have no desire to help you fix your problem? The answer is a resounding yes. However, there are also a number of honest professionals with great integrity who are gifted at what they do and earnestly desire to help provide a solution to your problem.

As it pertains to real estate, adding insult to injury, I have seen, and been a party to, agents who minimize their services and reduce their commission or value just to get a deal done or a listing in hand.

However, any real estate agent worth their weight will, again, have their full fee thrown at them in an instant if they are providing the client with what they deserve — efficiency, great communication, good customer service, and a deep understanding and knowledge of what needs to occur in the transaction. If an agent is all those things, as my grandma used to say “baby, you can write your own ticket”.

Case in point, I recently was involved in a transaction where the seller, before she hired me, tried for years to sell the home on her own because she wanted to “save some money”. In the process of saving some money, she intentionally neglected to pay the property taxes so that she was not paying out more money on the property than the other owners who would also get a piece of the pie when the home sold. However, she failed to consider the penalties and interest that would continue to accrue over the years. In addition, now the county was ready to foreclose on her home due to unpaid property taxes. How’s that for saving some money?

There was no magic bullet when I listed the home and it sold in a matter of days to a cash buyer thousands above list price. The market is hot, and I’m diligent…that’s the magic.

Here’s another example of “savings”:

A Seller’s Internet Inquiry (Q): My husband and I have been purchasing a house from private seller (lease to buy) and it is coming very close to the end of the contract what is involved in transferring the property to our daughters name. Are there taxes or county fees we must pay?

My Response (A): I won’t wallow in what you should have done. The details of your transaction really don’t matter at this point.

Truth is, I cannot advise you. As a REALTOR, I abide by the State of CA DRE laws and regs and am bound contractually to the terms and conditions which were created and ascribed according to the California Association of REALTORs and can be backed up by a slew of real estate attorneys on their payroll. If you had a question which fell under any of those terms, a REALTOR could advise you all day. And as an extra bonus, we would also have the legal power behind us to back you up.

When people opt to go outside of a traditional real estate transaction, ungoverned and unpoliced, they are taking a risk.

Your lease to buy agreement, if you have questions, should probably be reviewed with a real estate attorney, a title company, and a full-time real estate agent. It may not be too late to get the right entities involved.

It’s not worth it in the long run to try to save a little money. If you end up in court, you’ll end up paying way more than you tried to save.”

That’s really all there is to it. You don’t have to try to be captain-save-a-dollar when your real goal should be to have it done right. Let someone help you who knows what they are doing so that you can really save some money.

Hope that helps.

Watchout Landlords & Property Managers: Legal Updates for 2013

(Legal update information from Christopher Hanson, Real Estate Broker/Attorney, Hanson Law Firm, SAR Legal forum 1/9/2013)

New Real Estate Laws take effect January 1, 2013 and July 1, 2013
The Legislature has been active again in the real estate area, Several of these new laws will impact landlord-tenant matters, whether self-managed or professional property managers, We will look at them In the order in which they would be encountered in the normal landlord-tenant transaction.

Senate Bill 1191 provides that a landlord that has an outstanding Notice of Default (NOD) on the property must notify a prospective tenant of the NOD prior to entering into a lease for a property subject to the Notice. The required language of the disclosure notice to the tenant is spelled out in California Civil Code Section 2924.85(d). If the landlord fails to give the required notice in violation of this requirement the tenant may elect to terminate the lease and recover from the landlord all prepaid rent plus one month’s rent or twice the actual damages, whichever is greater. Or the tenant may elect to remain in the property and deduct one month’s rent from future rental obligations prior to the foreclosure sale. Property Managers (PM) are exempt unless the landlord has instructed them to provide notice to the tenant. If the landlord instructs the PM and the PM fails to deliver the notice the PM becomes liable for the above damages. This requirement becomes effective 1/1/2013 and shall remain In effect until 1/1/2018.

Assembly Bill 2610 modifies existing state law which was to expire 1/1/2013. Existing law requires a tenant of a property posted with a Notice of Sale (NOS) to be given a notice that the new owner after the foreclosure sale date may enter into a new lease or rental agreement or must be given a minimum 60 day notice to terminate. Effective 3/13/2013, the new owner is required to give a tenant in a foreclosed property a minimum 90 day notice after the sale to terminate. The effective date of the new law may need to be extended as it cannot be earlier than 60 days after the California Department of Consumer Affairs posts the notice requirements on their website. The 90 day notice requirement is consistent with the existing federal law which is scheduled to expire 12 /31/2014. This new law shall remain in effect until 12/31/2019.

Assembly Bill 2510 modifies existing law regarding notice to prior tenants about personal property left on the premises. Existing law specifies the notice provided allowed expedited disposal by providing a notice that in part provides “Because this property is believed to be worth less than $300 it may be kept, sold, or destroyed without further notice if you fail to reclaim it within the time indicated above.” The new law increases the value of the property subject to summary disposal to property worth less than $700. The new law allows the notice to also be delivered by email if the tenant has provided their email address. This new law becomes effective 1/1/2013.

More New Laws for 2013

Now we will look at the remaining new CA laws related to real estate.

Assembly Bill 1599 requires that, for any Notice of Default or Notice of Sale recorded after April 1, 2013 against a one-to-four unit residential property, the borrower must receive a separate notice attached to the NOD or NOS providing a summary of the provisions of the NOD or NOS. The summary must be in English and five additional languages. If the summary notice is not published by the Department of Corporations prior to January 1, 2013 then the effective date shall not be operative until 90 days after the form is released by DOC.

Senate Bill 978 establishes new requirements for brokers engaged in the sale of notes secured by real property effective January 1, 2013. These requirements include loan-to-value and appraisal requirements contained elsewhere In the law. They also require the four year retention of statements related to the purchaser’s qualifications of income or net worth. The broker must also make reasonable efforts to determine the note is a suitable investment for the purchaser.

Assembly Bill 2150 establishes new requirements for notices to be given to personal property mobile home owners effective January 1, 2013. The notice must advise of the mobile home owner’s right to a 90 day notice of rent increase, the right to just cause termination, the right to sell the home in place, the right not to sell to the park, the right not to pay any transfer or selling fee, the right to use a broker of the owner’s choosing and the right not to waive any rights on a rental or sales agreement.

Assembly Bill 2570 becomes effective January 1, 2013 and provides that a licensee registered with the Department of Consumer Affairs cannot include” or permit the inclusion of any provision in a civil settlement agreement that would prohibit a party from filing a complaint with the DCA or require the withdrawal of a complaint already filed. It would also prohibit a provision that would preclude the party from cooperating with DCA in any investigation. A licensee violating any of these provisions would be subject to disciplinary action. Real estate licensees shall be regulated by DCA as of July 1, 2013.

Assembly Bill 1838 requires that as of January 1, 2013 the cover sheet itemizing homeowner association documents must be in at least 10 point font. CAR form HOA complies with this requirement. This Bill also prohibits HOAs from charging a cancellation fee if the request for documents is cancelled in writing before the work is performed.

Senate Bill 1964 and Assembly Bill 2386 modifies the California Fair Employment and Housing Act effective January 1, 2013 to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious grooming or dress. FEHA has also been expanded by declaration to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding.

Senate Bill 1394 modifies smoke detector requirements in buildings for human occupancy. An owner is responsible for maintaining and testing smoke detectors in multi-family units as of January 1, 2013 and in single family residences as of January 1, 2014. As of January 1, 2016 owners will be responsible for installing additional smoke detectors to bring them up to current building standards.

Assembly Bill 805 makes significant revisions to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act as of January 1, 2014. It is primarily a reorganization of the Act but does add a few new provisions. The most significant is probably the requirement that the HOA release a lien recorded in error within 21 days.

See all 2013 Real Estate Law (as of January 1, 2013) here.

Underwater Homeowners Breathe a Sigh of Relief as Congress Renews Mortgage Debt Relief Act!

On January 1, 2013, Congress passed an extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. This extension of this act, which has saved homeowners more than $1 billion dollars in taxes, is great news for struggling homeowners nationwide.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was originally passed in 2007 to aid the millions of homeowners who suddenly found themselves in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure following the housing market crash.

Under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, any debt forgiven in a short sale, foreclosure, or loan modification, is exempt from federal taxes on primary residences. For homeowners facing foreclosure, this exemption saves them from paying thousands, or even tens of thousands, in taxes on top of losing their homes. Typically, in a short sale, the difference of your sale can be taxed by the IRS as income earned for the year in which your home was sold. However, under the Debt Relief Act, if you file single, you are covered up to $250,000 of the difference in the sale of your home. If you file married, you are covered up to $500,000.

Now for another year, homeowners can take advantage of this exemption and avoid foreclosure without the fear of an impossible tax liability.

As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) agent, I am specially trained to help homeowners escape the threat of foreclosure. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact me for a private consultation. I can help find a solution.

Real Estate Provisions in “Fiscal Cliff” Bill

On Jan. 1 both the Senate and House passed H.R. 8 legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff.” The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 2.

Below is a summary of real estate related provisions in the bill:

Real Estate Tax Extenders
•Mortgage Cancellation Relief is extended for one year to Jan. 1, 2014
•Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums for filers making below $110,000 is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
•15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
•10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012

Permanent Repeal of Pease Limitations for 99% of Taxpayers
Under the agreement 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. These thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation and will rise over time. Under the formula, the amount of adjusted gross income above the threshold is multiplied by three percent. That amount is then used to reduce the total value of the filer’s itemized deductions. The total amount of reduction cannot exceed 80 percent of the filer’s itemized deductions.

These limits were first enacted in 1990 (named for the Ohio Congressman Don Pease who came up with the idea) and continued throughout the Clinton years. They were gradually phased out as a result of the 2001 tax cuts and were completely eliminated in 2010-2012. Had we gone over the fiscal cliff, Pease limitations would have been reinstituted on all filers starting at $174,450 of adjusted gross income.

Capital Gains
Capital Gains rate stays at 15 percent for those in the top rate of $400,000 (individual) and $450,000 (joint) return. After that, any gains above those amounts will be taxed at 20 percent. The $250,000/$500,000 exclusion for sale of principal residence remains in place.

Estate Tax
The first $5 million dollars in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax. After that the rate will be 40 percent, up from 35 percent. The exemption amounts are indexed for inflation.

(Repost from National Association of REALTORS, http://www.realtor.org, 1/3/12)