3 Things You Didn’t Know About Short Sales

You'll be surprised to learn this about short sales.

You’ll be surprised to learn this about short sales. Elk Grove & Sacramento Short Sales.

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.

For example:
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.

Who’s Market Is It Anyway – Buyer Beware

Elk Grove Short Sales

Sellers Market

What once was a predictable pattern, real estate market conditions now seem to change about as often as Daylight Savings Time and are about as unpredictable as the Spring to Summer weather transition – hot one day, rainfall the next.

Add to this mix, low inventory, a surplus of buyers, slowly increasing interest rates, and frantic “buy now”, “sell now” mixed messages from the media and we will work ourselves right up to a quiet storm where the people do nothing. No buying, no selling, just waiting, watching, and analyzing. Over analysis paralysis will soon be the “weather” of the day if we don’t use good old common sense.

In this article, I’d like to address the buyer. A few tips to help you come out of analysis paralysis and be able to take advantage of today’s market, now:

1. Save up at least 5% of the purchase price to be competitive in this current market. Down Payment Assistant programs are great, but they work even better if you come in with some skin in the game. 100% financing programs don’t work very well in this market.

2. If you qualify at $200K, look for homes at $150K. Why, so that you can have somewhere to go if you get into a multiple counter situation (which will most likely occur). You can then be a true contender and increase your offer when needed.

3. Understand the order of preferred financing in this current market – This is a seller’s market so VA loans are “low man on the totem pole”, next FHA, then Conventional, and finally Cash is King! The more “risk” you have (cash), the better your ability to negotiate an acceptable offer.

4. A hard working, full-time agent who is proactive and follows up on every offer made, asks why yours did not get accepted, and what could you have done to be an offer which gets accepted.

5. Be committed to that agent. Need I say more?

Advice to the seller, coming next.

My best to all of you soon to be homeowners out there and to the agents making it happen for you!

Free, Non-Governmental Foreclosure Relief

Dear Home Owner,

Keisha Mathews & Co Realty Group has partnered with National Mortgage Forgiveness Plan (NMFP) to assist homeowners who are experiencing a hardship and can no longer continue to pay their mortgage. There are still homeowners who have fallen on hard times. There is help available and now incentives for homeowners to short sale rather than just walk away or do nothing.

Our goal is to find out what’s most important to you and help you acheive that goal. There are many options for someone in this position and we would like to help you find the right one for you that fits your circumstances. Please click on our website below. There is great information to assist you. If you are already behind on your payments, dont wait. Call today. It doesn’t cost you anything for a consultation, Neither does it cost you anything for a short sale if we decide that is your best option.


Check Your Mail – Payments to 4.2 Million “Distressed” Borrowers Happening Now

Actual check received in the amount of $2000 by one of my past clients in her mail today; she had completed a short sale. Envelope reads "Important Payment Agreement Informaton Enclosed" from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Actual check received today by one of my past clients who completed a short sale. Envelope reads “Important Payment Agreement Informaton Enclosed” from the Office of the Compftroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

If you have been foreclosed on or have completed a short sale, don’t be so quick to throw away mail from your past lender. Payments to 4.2 million borrowers will be distributed to those whose homes were in any stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 and whose mortgages were serviced by one of the following companies, their affiliates, or subsidiaries: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.

In most cases, eligible borrowers will receive a letter with an enclosed check sent by the Paying Agent–Rust Consulting, Inc. Some borrowers may receive letters from Rust requesting additional information needed to process their payments. Rust is sending all payments and correspondence regarding the foreclosure agreement at the direction of the OCC and the Federal Reserve.

Borrowers can call Rust at 1-888-952-9105 to update their contact information or to verify that they are covered by the agreement. Information provided to Rust will only be used for purposes related to the agreement.

Watch out for scams. Beware of anyone who asks you to call a different phone number than the number above or to pay a fee to receive a payment under the agreement.

The Federal Reserve Board issued enforcement actions against four large mortgage servicers
–GMAC Mortgage, HSBC Finance Corporation, SunTrust Mortgage, and EMC Mortgage Corporation–in April 2011. Under those actions, the four servicers were required to retain independent consultants to review foreclosures that were initiated, pending, or completed during 2009 or 2010. The review was intended to determine if borrowers suffered financial harm directly resulting from errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies that may have occurred during the foreclosure process.

A number of servicers supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) were also required to conduct independent reviews.

The deadline to request an independent review was December 31, 2012.

Improve Your Chances in Multiple Offer Situations

multiple-offers, Sacramento Listing Agent, Elk Grove Listing Agent

multiple-offers, Sacramento Listing Agent, Elk Grove Listing Agent

(Guest article, Dian Hymer – Client Direct)

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.

Real Homeowner Stories: A Miracle in the Form of a Red Envelope

Elk Grove Short Sale Agent, CDPE

Elk Grove Short Sale Agent, CDPE

For homeowners who are in danger of losing their home to foreclosure, it is common to feel like you are alone and that there is no one to help. This simply isn’t true. There are real people who have been in the same situation who have found solutions. Take, for example, Punipuao W. of Hawaii.

Punipuao found herself struggling to keep her home after her husband passed away. “With only my income, I was no longer able to make my monthly mortgage payment,” she said. Faced with the prospect of losing the home she and her husband had bought together, she began looking for alternatives to help her keep the home.

She pleaded with the bank for relief, “but their responses gave me little information and even less hope.”

The prospect of losing the home she and her husband had shared for over 20 years was difficult. “I was so distraught,” she said. “I did not know where to turn.

“Then, one day, my miracle came through a red envelope in the mail.”

In the envelope was a note from a local real estate agent with the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation (or CDPE). This designation meant that the agent was trained specifically to help people like Punipuao. She called the agent.

“About four hours after I made the call, he was at my door offering help. I told him my story.” In merely two days, she received a call from the bank saying that the president of the bank was reviewing her file. “That was a good sign,” she said.

A few days after that, Punipuao had been approved for a trial loan modification. “There were many tears of gratitude at the miracle that came to me in the form of my agent. I thank god for sending me that miracle.”

Punipuao’s story is just one of many. I have a report entitled “From Foreclosure to Freedom” which tells other stories of real homeowners who faced foreclosure and found relief. Download the report, read the stories, and then contact me for a free, confidential consultation.

Don’t lower your standards just because homes are scarce

Elk Grove, Sacramento, Short Sales, SOLD

Elk Grove, Sacramento, Short Sales, SOLD

(Guest article, Dian Hymer – Client Direct)

In low-inventory markets that are now common in many areas of the country, buyers might be prone to jump at a listing they wouldn’t even consider if there were a lot of homes for sale.

This desperate approach to homebuying could cause you problems down the line when you need to sell and you realize you paid too much, overlooked property problems, or bought in the wrong location.

A listing that has been on the market for a long time could indicate a problem. Is the listing not selling because it’s priced too high and the seller is stuck unreasonably at a high price?

Does the property have problems that can’t be remedied for a reasonable price? Or is the deferred maintenance so widespread that buyers are turned off, particularly if the listing is priced too high for the market and the amount of work that’s required?

In some areas, it could be none of the above. The reason the listing hasn’t sold could have to do with a slow market where it takes a long time for listings to sell, particularly if they are at the high end of the market.

HOUSE HUNTING TIPS: Before taking the leap and writing an offer on a listing that has been on the market awhile, find out why it hasn’t been selling. Ask the listing agent if the seller has received offers and why they didn’t end in a ratified contract.

The seller’s agent may be reluctant to have this discussion. In that case, let your agent know what price you’d be willing to offer. Ask your agent to find out if the seller’s agent thinks it’s worthwhile to make an offer.

Listing agents usually want to take a low offer to the seller in writing. So you may have to go through this process to even find out if there’s a chance of buying the listing for a reasonable price.

The seller could flatly turn the offer down. But if the listing doesn’t sell for several more months, the seller might soften her stance.

A listing that is difficult to get in to see is another red flag. Does the seller really want to sell? If not, you could waste a lot of time trying to buy a home you’d love to own, but end up with nothing but frustration.

Another type of listing to be wary of is one that is on and off the market repeatedly. This is typical behavior of a seller who wants to sell only for a certain price that is too high for the market. It is also characteristic of homeowners who want to sell only if they have a place to move to and they can’t afford to buy another home until they’ve sold their current home.

These are maybe sellers who can also waste a lot of your time and emotional energy. Some sellers try to sell contingent on finding a replacement home. If you go into contract to buy a home with this contingency, you should also have a contingency in the contract that lets you out of the contract if you find another home to buy before the sellers find a replacement home. You should also get a break on the price to compensate for the uncertainty.

A listing that has been back on the market (BOM) over and over could signify a problem. Find out the reason why the deals didn’t stay together. Was the seller unrealistic about negotiating on defects discovered during inspections? Was there a problem with the buyer’s financing? Did the appraisal come in low? Or was it just the seller’s bad luck.

THE CLOSING: For peace of mind, investigate carefully before you buy.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.