If you are financially distressed in the state of California and can no longer afford your home and are pursuing a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure, you may be eligible for financial help with your relocation to alternative housing. The funds come from the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), part of the Keep Your Home California Program.
The state of California is providing up to $5,000 in transition assistance to qualified homeowners who can no longer afford to stay in their homes. You must:
• Maintain your property until your house is sold or returned to the lender via a negotiated deed in lieu of foreclosure.
For qualified homeowners, these state funds may be used in addition to any other transition assistance that you may receive by participating in the Federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program or in any other pre-offer short sale program.
To learn more about the Transition Assistance Program’s guidelines, and how you may qualify, please visit the website at http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org. Or call 1.888.954.5337 if you are a Bank of America customer.
Short sales have become a part of the normal fabric of real estate business. At a minimum, most people now understand the term “short sale” doesn’t mean the sale will be short, will take less time, or that the price the home will sell for will be much less than market value.
Surprisingly though, there is still a large segment of the population unaware of what may probably be three of the most important benefits to completing a short sale. With that being said, you too may be surprised to learn that, if you complete a short sale there may be:
1. No cost to you, the seller
That’s right. For the majority of sellers, to complete a short sale is totally free. The proceeds from the sale cover the costs associated with the sale, and your lender approves all fees. For example: title and escrow fees, state mandated items (NHD reports), broker fees for service (commissions), and most lenders even pay outstanding property tax liens!
You should never be asked to pay a fee to complete your short sale. If an agent asks you to pay a fee as a requirement to start or complete your short sale, find another agent.
2. Zero Tax Liability, Zero Deficiency Liability Tax Liability – In the past, when you completed a short sale, your lender would send you a 1099 and view the forgiven difference as taxable income for the year. This gets filed with your next tax return and, unless you have an exemption, you must pay taxes on the forgiven income. This would, of course, push most people into a new tax bracket requiring you to pay taxes on that forgiven difference.
Loan Amount Owed $300,000
-Short Sale Price $160,000 Difference $140,000
However, for owner occupied residences, the Debt Forgiveness Act allows tax liability protection on the difference up to $250,000 if you are single, and $500,000 if you are married. President Obama recently extended the act until December 31, 2013. So let’s apply this law to our example above:
Loan Amount Owed $300,000
-Short Sale Price $160,000 Difference $140,000 = FORGIVEN!!
Up to $250,000 (single); $500,000 (married)
In addition, there are numerous exemptions that apply which can enable you to avoid this tax even if it is not your primary residence.
Deficiency (In the state of California) – The California 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.
They later 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.
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.
How’s that for protection? So, to recap – you get to complete a short sale at no cost to you, your debt and deficiency are also forgiven, and the lender cannot ask you to come in with any additional funds above the amount they agree to accept. What more could you ask for? How about cash back?
3. Cash Back to You
Lenders learned rather quickly the magnitude of the financial responsibilities which came with foreclosed properties; tax liens, outstanding utility bills, property damage, vandalism, etc – all at a very large price tag and not including their standard attorney fees. So not only did it make sense to pay the seller an incentive to remain in the home and keep the home in good condition until close of escrow, but it also helped the seller with moving expenses as well. This turned out to be a win-win situation for everyone. Thus, relocation assistance was born and adopted.
How much assistance you will receive and specific assistance guidelines will vary. For example, if you short sale under HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative), you could receive $3000. However, many lenders now have their own in-house incentive programs which offer relocation assistance anywhere from $3000 to as much as $30,000 or more.
So if you are facing foreclosure, contact Mathews & Co Realty Group with Century 21 Landmark Networ at (916) 678-1803 or me, Keisha Mathews, (team short sale specialist) via direct email at SacramentoShortSaleLady@gmail.com. I would be happy to meet with you to go over your options helping you avoid foreclosure, and explain how you could reap the many benefits as well.
The information contained above is not to be construed as legal or tax advice. Each individual’s personal situation may vary. We at Mathews & Co Realty Group are not tax professionals or attorneys. Please consult a real estate attorney or tax advisor to determine whether the information above is applicable to your individual situation.
Some buyers in hot markets with a low inventory of homes for sale are losing out over and over in multiple-offer competitions. You can improve your chances of having an offer accepted by clearing up any issues that might cause a seller to look askance at your offer when compared to one from another buyer.
If your purchase offer is littered with contingencies that protect you, the sellers are more likely to see the contract as risky, especially if they are looking at other offers that contain fewer contingencies.
A clean contract is free of contingencies, which can give buyers a competitive advantage, especially if they are offering less than full price or are in competition with other buyers.
Timing is everything in the home sale business. Buyers often lose out on the opportunity to make an offer on a listing because they are traveling for business or vacation. One partner may see the home of their dreams, but the other won’t be back in town to take a look for days or weeks.
Making an offer contingent on the absentee buyer’s approval of a property is risky from the seller’s standpoint. If the seller accepts the offer, he takes his home off the market not knowing if the absentee buyer will like the house enough to buy it.
It would be very difficult to get such an offer accepted if there are multiple offers from buyers who have all seen the property. The Internet can give a great introduction to a listing, but it usually doesn’t include photos of items that might cause you to pass on the property, like a neighbor’s home that is in poor repair or a location close to a noisy freeway.
Some buyers buy property without having seen it. To get an offer accepted, these offers usually have a generous price, and close quickly. The buyers may later find problems that they could have discovered had they seen the property before making an offer. It’s better for both buyers and sellers if all potential buyers have seen the property before an offer is made.
HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Try to anticipate if there is any condition of your home purchase that would cause the sellers to shy away from accepting or countering your offer. If such conditions exist, try to address them before you make an offer.
For example, let’s say your parents are willing to give you a large amount of cash for a down payment to make your offer more competitive. Make sure this will be acceptable to your mortgage lender.
Find out what verification the lender will require from your parents. If the lender needs a gift letter that stipulates you don’t need to repay the money, have your parents write this letter and include a copy with your offer.
Sellers are always concerned about the buyer’s financial capability to close the transaction. Your offer should include a letter from your lender stating that you are preapproved for the financing that you need. The letter should stipulate that the lender has verified the cash you need for the down payment and closing costs.
If the verification of funds needed to close is not included in the preapproval letter, make a copy of a bank or brokerage statement that verifies the amount you need. Black out the account number and include a copy of this with your offer.
In some areas, buyers are making offers without any contingencies. That is as clean as it gets. However, there can be problems with contingency-free offers. Buyers can feel pressured into waiving an inspection contingency because they’re sure they can’t compete unless they do. The sellers could end up in a legal hassle with the buyers after closing if problems arise that weren’t disclosed to them.
THE CLOSING: Buyers should ask the sellers for permission to preinspect the property before they make an offer without an inspection contingency.
In the news, there is talk of a housing recovery. Experts feel more optimistic about the state of housing industry in America. However, if you or someone you know is one of the millions of homeowners who is stuck with a home on which you owe more than the property is worth, the feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Many people don’t realize that just because they are in danger of losing their home to foreclosure doesn’t mean they have to wait around for it to happen. With help, they can take matters into their own hands.
CLAIM YOUR TICKET TO FREEDOM!
As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), I make it my business to know all of the ins-and-outs of the options that are available for people who are in danger of losing their homes and help the challenges head-on.