Now the nice locations are hit by foreclosure!


Home crisis is hitting the nicest bed room communities i.e the so called suburbia. It is not the most vulnerable inner cities folks anymore. This crisis is hitting our middle class now who were not considered vulnerable before. Unfortunately, only window dressing has been done by Obama administration in the shape of HAMP. Truthfully, it is the band-aid treatment for this widespread crisis. We should know that unless the home crisis is not solved, no real economic changes can come. It was the TV gurus who were bombarding all of us to buy real estate, real estate, real estate and the mantra of location, location, location only. Locations my foot. All these homes good or bad locations are being drowned in this mess. Now, we all were duped, they have conveniently escaped and coming back to haunt us. The loan officers who used to make 2, 3, and four points are offering loan modification. They have changed their hats and come back to taunt us again. The lenders have given loan to everyone and never asked a single questions, now they are offering various schemes to safeguard your homes again. The cities have approved every zoning request, and given permit to every builders without any regard to zoning, demographics, density of population, needs for more water and sewage consumption. If you had gone to both city hall and Clark County zoning, and permits offices, they were busy churning out new permits and licenses non stop for new homes and constructions. They are continuously laying off people now. Could not have they realized this crisis? Shamelessly, they kept on increasing their fees, licenses, and keep on hiring more inspectors and ignored the shoddy constructions. The escrow companies provided and facilitated every home closing, and the real estate agents vouched to sell every home they can think of. Now, what? We are in a mess, and no one is helping a hand to solve this epoch crisis of Himalayan proportion:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2010/02/28/foreclosure_crisis_spreads_to_affluent_communities/

Las Vegas Home Prices Continuously Falling


There was a splash of good news about the home prices improving but we feared it would be only momentary. Unfortunately, the home prices in Las Vegas is continuously falling and the foreclosure situation is not improving. Here, is the detailed and in depth report about home prices. The prices and percentages are earmarked according to the zip codes.

http://www.lvrj.com/business/home-prices-down-in-all-zip-codes-in-2009-84895272.html

Obama Promises 100 Millions for Homeowners for Nevada;Too early to assess benefits


The good news is that President Obama visited Las Vegas recently and announced the aid of 100 million for homeowners. We are not here to judge his motives to bolster the campaign for Senator Harry Reid–it might be the motive but regardless we still welcome his noble gesture in coming to the aid of Nevada. In fact, we never questioned his motives even when he jibed with Las Vegas few times. We never understood the so-called mockery of the mayor of Las Vegas in this regard. However, this is a foreclosure and loan modification blog and we like to stay away from venturing into politics. Let us welcome this nice and big gesture of helping the homeowners in Nevada.

This is the headline of Las Vegas Review Journal recently

State awaits guidelines on foreclosure aid plan

Money ‘won’t be flowing much before June,’ official says
By LYNNETTE CURTIS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
President Barack Obama was greeted with a standing ovation during his visit to Las Vegas on Friday when he announced Nevada will receive a share of $1.5 billion in funds meant to help people in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.

But Nevada’s estimated $100 million share likely won’t “be flowing much before June,” said Lon DeWeese, chief financial officer for the Nevada Housing Division, which found out Friday morning it would be overseeing distribution of the money that comes to the state.

“The state is going to jump in fully to get these funds flowing as quickly as possible, but we’re not controlling the process,” DeWeese said.

The division must first submit a plan for the money to the U.S. Treasury, which must then approve the plan, DeWeese said. And the Treasury hasn’t yet released guidelines for what that plan should look like. The Treasury plans to provide those guidelines in the next two weeks, the White House said.

The housing division will eventually work with a network of qualified lenders, banks and housing counseling agencies that will use the funds to help people who have lost their jobs and now might lose their houses, borrowers who owe more money than their homes are now worth, and those struggling with second mortgages.

“This will be an important step toward helping to keep people in their homes and assisting those who are underwater,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

The money is part of a $1.5 billion fund for five states — Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida and Michigan — that have been hit hardest by falling housing prices with values decreasing by at least 20 percent. The funds come from those set aside for housing under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

The money will be allocated to eligible states using a formula based on home price declines and unemployment. But the funds won’t flow directly through state coffers, DeWeese said. The Housing Division will instead authorize payment to its “network of lenders” through the Treasury.

The money could be used to provide “bridge loans” that help unemployed homeowners pay their mortgages until they get a new job, Reid said. States also may choose to experiment with programs that would help borrowers negotiate with lenders to write down mortgages.

In January alone there were 11,854 foreclosed properties in Nevada, or one in every 92 units of housing. That compares to one in every 126 in Arizona, one in 185 in Florida and California, and one in 257 in Michigan, according to the real estate data firm RealtyTrac.

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure


Of course both short sale and foreclosure are not appealing to my senses and I detest equally both of them, but here my likings are not in discussion: I have to make distinction between these two often quoted and touted remedies in this national crisis. It is actually a selection between the two lesser evils.

Short-Sale versus Foreclosure. A short sale is just the opposite of a full sale. Let us say your home has an appraised value of $400,000, and you had placed your house on sale for quite some, and no offer comes, and endlessly waiting you get tired. You can tell the bank that heck with it, I want to just get out of it. The bank would plan along with your knowledgeable broker a sale which should be quick, non cumbersome and in which you would not see a penny coming to your pockets. Altogether it is called a Short Sale. It is not as damaging on your credit report as let us say a foreclosure is. Closely related to short sale, of course, a surrender of deed which I will discuss in another time. The lasting impact of a short sale would stay few years on your credit. You may have to report to IRS which is a tax question and need to be addressed to your tax consultants.

Few things you have to remember.
1. Banks would not allow a short sale if there is a second lien attached with it. A short sale is a compromise between you and the bank who is the lien holder of your first principal. A short sale would wipe out the junior interests and that means second lien holder or HELOC. They would not get anything, and they would not agree to short sale unless they get something out of it. Now there would be a fight between the first lien holder and the second lien holder. This fight of course is detrimental to your interest and can cause delay in the process. Also, there are many layers of approvals on various levels in the banks’ hierarchy and oligarchy.

2. You can compromise with the bank how it should be reported to you credit bureaus. Use it to your advantage.

3. A negotiated short sale would stop the bank for a deficiency judgement against you.

4. One problem, if there is a short sale and you declare bankruptcy right after it, it can be treated as a collusive transaction between you and the lender, and your other creditors can contest it and may invalidate it.

5. Of course the solution again lies with your knowledgeable attorney handling your issue.

6. The IRS has very complex tax consequences in a debt renegotiation, such as a short sale, or foreclosure, that are more detrimental for solvent taxpayers than those who are insolvent or bankrupt as each generates Cancellation of Debt Income.

7. A borrower who refinanced their home to take the cash out to buy another home, then let the first home go to foreclosure thinking they are getting off debt and obligation free, are living in a fool’s paradise. This practice can be stopped by the lender.

The first thing to establish is what the home’s basis is. The IRS definition for basis is your investment in the home for tax purposes. It usually starts with the cost to acquire the house. Adjusted basis is the increase or decrease in the original basis according to certain events. Increases to basis include but are not limited to improvements having a useful life of more than a year, assessments for local improvements, sales tax, the cost of extending utility lines to the home, legal fees such as the cost of defending or perfecting title, and zoning costs. Decreases to basis include but are not limited to depreciation, nontaxable corporate distributions, casualty and theft losses, easements, and rebates from the seller.

IRS Pub 551 Basis of Assets is a handy reference. Taxable gain or loss on a house is determined by the difference of the selling price/amount realized and its adjusted basis.

IRC 61(a)(12) CODI, Cancellation of Debt Income other than as a gift, creates taxable income to the debtor unless an exception applies. In a Short Sale, the lender issues a 1099-C to the IRS. In a Short Sale example of a home, whether it be primary, second home, or third home, A bought his home in Reno in November 2004 for $290,000. In November 2005, A refinanced to a new loan for $380,000. Unfortunately, today its Fair Market Value is $260,000. A can no longer make the payments due to his legal split with B, his spousal equivalent. In 2007 A sells the property through a Realtor who successfully negotiated a Short Sale of $120,000 loan reduction with A’s lender, so A walked away with no immediate out-of pocket loss. A has a $120,000 nondeductible loss (adjustment to basis) on his home. The $120,000 principal reduction is taxable income in 2007 to A. (rev. Rul. 82-202) It is reported as “Other Income” on Line 21 of the 1040. If A had bought with seller-financing, there is special rule IRC 108 (e) (5). If three conditions are met, the borrower reduces the property’s basis and does not recognize CODI.

The IRS treats a foreclosure as a sale or exchange from which the borrower may realize gain or loss. In a foreclosure, the lender issues a 1099-A to the IRS. In a recourse state such as Nevada, the lender checks Box 5 as “Yes.” The borrower is personally liable to pay any amount of the debt not covered by the property’s value. The amount realized for borrower’s Federal gain or loss on the transaction is the smaller of debt cancelled or FMV of the transferred property. The borrower’s CODI is ordinary income if the loan balance exceeds the property’s FMV. If A had gone to foreclosure, his adjusted basis is $290,000, the recourse debt cancelled is $380,000 and the FMV of the property is $260,000. Here he realizes $260,000. The cancelled debt ($380,000) up to the property’s FMV ($260,000). Compare amount ($260,000) realized with adjusted basis ($290,000). A has a $30,000 non-deductible loss. He also recognizes ordinary income equal to the CODI of $120,000 ($380,000 debt cancelled less $260,000 FMV). This $120,000 is the part of the cancelled debt not included in the amount realized.

In a short sale example of a rental house, if A had bought and used the house as a rental, if A is not insolvent or bankrupt, if A can meet the required extent of his involvement, A can elect on Form 982 to exclude from gross income any income from the discharge of QRPBD (Qualified Real Property Business Debt). IRC 108(c)(3) QRPBD includes debt 1) that was incurred or assumed in connection with real property used in trade or business and that is secured by such real property, 2) debt incurred or assumed to acquire, construct, reconstruct, or substantially improve real property used in a trade or business. IRC 108(c)(1) Income excluded for the discharge of QRPBD reduces the basis of the taxpayers depreciable real property, first to the property with the discharged debt, then to the taxpayer’s other depreciable real property proportionally, on each property’s relative adjusted basis

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure


Of course both short sale and foreclosure are not appealing to my senses and I detest equally both of them, but here my likings are not in discussion as it has no bearing on this omnipresent crisis. I have to make distinction between these two often quoted and touted remedies in this national crisis. Quite often, I get calls from brokers who like to solicit my business for short sales. Of course my clients asks me this question continuously. It is actually a selection between the two lesser evils. Short-Sale versus Foreclosure.

A short sale is just the opposite of a full sale. Let us say your home has an appraised value of $400,000, and you had placed your house on sale for quite some, and no offer comes, and endlessly waiting you get tired. You can tell the bank that heck with it, I want to just get out of it. The bank would plan along with your knowledgeable broker a sale which should be quick, non cumbersome and in which you would not see a penny coming to your pockets. Altogether it is called a Short Sale. It is not as damaging on your credit report as let us say a foreclosure is. Closely related to short sale, of course, a surrender of deed which I will discuss in another time. The lasting impact of a short sale would stay few years on your credit. You may have to report to IRS which is a tax question and need to be addressed to your tax consultants.

Few things you have to remember at this time;
1. Banks would not allow a short sale if there is a second lien attached with it. A short sale is a compromise between you and the bank who is the lien holder of your first principal. A short sale would wipe out the junior interests and that means second lien holder or HELOC. They would not get anything, and they would not agree to short sale unless they get something out of it. Now there would be a fight between the first lien holder and the second lien holder. This fight of course is detrimental to your interest and can cause delay in the process. Also, there are many layers of approvals on various levels in the banks’ hierarchy and oligarchy.
2. You can compromise with the bank how it should be reported to you credit bureaus. Use it to your advantage.
3. A negotiated short sale would stop the bank for a deficiency judgement against you.
4. One problem, if there is a short sale and you declare bankruptcy right after it, it can be treated as a collusive transaction between you and the lender, and your other creditors can contest it and may invalidate it.
5. Of course the solution again lies with your knowledgeable attorney handling your issue.
6. The IRS has very complex tax consequences in a debt renegotiation, such as a short sale, or foreclosure, that are more detrimental for solvent taxpayers than those who are insolvent or bankrupt as each generates Cancellation of Debt Income.
7. A borrower who refinanced their home to take the cash out to buy another home, then let the first home go to foreclosure thinking they are getting off debt and obligation free, are living in a fools paradise. This practice can be stopped by the lender. The first thing to establish; is what the home’s basis is. The IRS definition for basis is your investment in the home for tax purposes. It usually starts with the cost to acquire the house. Adjusted basis is the increase or decrease in the original basis according to certain events. Increases to basis include but are not limited to improvements having a useful life of more than a year, assessments for local improvements, sales tax, the cost of extending utility lines to the home, legal fees such as the cost of defending or perfecting title, and zoning costs. Decreases to basis include but are not limited to depreciation, nontaxable;corporate distributions, casualty and theft losses, easements, and rebates from the seller. IRS Pub 551 Basis of Assets is a handy reference.

Taxable gain or loss on a house is determined by the difference of the selling price/amount realized and its adjusted basis. IRC 61(a)(12) CODI, Cancellation of Debt Income other than as a gift, creates taxable income to the debtor unless an exception applies. In a Short Sale, the lender issues a 1099-C to the IRS. In a Short Sale example of a home, whether it be primary, second home, or third home, A bought his home in Reno in November 2004 for $290,000. In November 2005, A refinanced to a new loan for $380,000. Unfortunately, today its Fair Market Value is $260,000. A can no longer make the payments due to his legal split with B, his spousal equivalent. In 2007 A sells the property through a Realtor who successfully negotiated a Short Sale of $120,000 loan reduction with A’s lender, so A walked away with no immediate out-of pocket loss. A has a $120,000 nondeductible loss (adjustment to basis) on his home. The $120,000 principal reduction is taxable income in 2007 to A. (rev. Rul. 82-202) It is reported as “Other Income” on Line 21 of the 1040. If A had bought with seller-financing, there is special rule IRC 108 (e) (5).

If three conditions are met, the borrower reduces the property’s basis and does not recognize CODI. The IRS treats a foreclosure as a sale or exchange from which the borrower may realize gain or loss. In a foreclosure, the lender issues a 1099-A to the IRS. In a recourse state such as Nevada, the lender checks Box 5 as “Yes.” The borrower is personally liable to pay any amount of the debt not covered by the property’s value. The amount realized for borrower’s Federal gain or loss on the transaction is the smaller of debt cancelled or FMV of the transferred property. The borrower’s CODI is ordinary income if the loan balance exceeds the property’s FMV. If A had gone to foreclosure, his adjusted basis is $290,000, the recourse debt cancelled is $380,000 and the FMV of the property is $260,000. Here he realizes $260,000. The cancelled debt ($380,000) up to the property’s FMV ($260,000). Compare amount ($260,000) realized with adjusted basis ($290,000). A has a $30,000 non-deductible loss. He also recognizes ordinary income equal to the CODI of $120,000 ($380,000 debt cancelled less $260,000 FMV). This $120,000 is the part of the cancelled debt not included in the amount realized. In a short sale example of a rental house, if A had bought and used the house as a rental, if A is not insolvent or bankrupt, if A can meet the required extent of his involvement, A can elect on Form 982 to exclude from gross income any income from the discharge of QRPBD (Qualified Real Property Business Debt). IRC 108(c)(3) QRPBD includes debt 1) that was incurred or assumed in connection with real property used in trade or business and that is secured by such real property, 2) debt incurred or assumed to acquire, construct, reconstruct, or substantially improve real property used in a trade or business. IRC 108(c)(1) Income excluded for the discharge of QRPBD reduces the basis of the taxpayers depreciable real property, first to the property with the discharged debt, then to the taxpayer’s other depreciable real property proportionally, on each property’s relative adjusted basis

Citi To Let Stay Another 6 Months Distressed Homeowners


Finally, a good news came that City would let distressed homeowners stay for another 6 months. Though a better option would have been a permanent loan modification for these homeowners instead of letting them free stay and giving them false hope. Anyway, even at this time, any help is good.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100211/ap_on_bi_ge/us_citigroup_foreclosures

Should we walk away from our homes?


I have dwelt on this topic before and my post is still on this blog. However, this is an evolving matter and needs continuous discussion. As you know, your homes in Nevada is continuously depreciating and losing its value and it is also decreasing your emotioal attachment with this home. You have plenty of company in this matter as millions of people have lost their value in their homes. In 2009, Reecon Advisors released a national survey indicating that nearly one out of 10 homeowners, 9.2% or 7.4 million, would likely choose to default if they were in that situation. More and more people are seriously thinking of walking away from their home and they call it “strategic default” on their mortgages.

First American Logic did a recent study that suggests when a home falls below 75% of the amount owed on the mortgage, the homeowner begins to think about walking away, even if he or she can pay the mortgage.

However, a recent study just concluded by a financial survey which indicates that people generally have priority on their credit payments in some order. Mostly, people maintain car payments as their first priority credit cards as second and mortgages last. The national average for 60-day delinquent auto loans was 0.81% for the third quarter of 2009. For credit cards, the national 90-day delinquency average was just a bit higher at 1.1%. But for mortgages, the national 60-day delinquency rate was six times higher at 6.25%.

Okay, I never suggested anyone to walk away from their homes? These are my reasons not to walk away.

1. This is your contractual obligations to continue this contract. You are a signatory to this contract and this was an arm’s length transaction. Just ignore the TILA, RESPA violations for a moment.

2. You like this home along with you spouse and children.

3. You have decorated this home tastefully afterall.

4. You have many happy moments in this home.

5. Your children can walk to nearby schools.

6. You get tax break because of this home.

7. If you leave this home, you are going to stay in some home. You don’t contemplate staying on a tree upside down. What guarantee you have that the next place would be a perfect abode? Loud music of neighbors, a nasty kid destroying your peace next door, people parking cars in front of your home.

8. Why destroy credit for something unknown.

9. No one lives in their home for 30 years, and you certainly would not live 30 years so to bother thinking of principal mortgage which you never would pay anyway.

What Can Be Done When Million Underwater Homeowners?
This is the crux of the problem when so many million homes are under water. First American reports that by third-quarter 2009 an estimated 4.5 million homeowners reached that point. A rought estimate is that if prices continue to fall as they have been in the past, this number may exceed 5 millions which of course is very very high.

We had stated in our many posts that the sole panacea to handle this crisis is to reduce arbitrarily everyone’s mortgage to 2% for five years, and all documentation which is creating too much havoc with loan modification should be waived.

Who Should Be Blamed?
There is no single entity, however, it is a collaboration between banks, lenders, mortgage agencies and loan officers along with undying appetite of builders to continue construction unabated without any dire necessity.

Short Sales Not Easy
For many in the hardest hit areas, working out a short sale is frequently not an option when the home value is so low that a buyer starts considering walking away. That’s because the banks are often not willing to accept a low enough offer.

Stricter guidelines from the Treasury Department may get the banks to make a faster decision and put short sales back on the table as an option. Always check with your bank to discuss your options before thinking about a short sale or walking away.

Just a Business Decision?
While many people may think a borrower has a moral obligation to pay the mortgage even if the home is $100,000 or more underwater, but walking away is just a financial decision and not a moral decision.
People who are stuck in a home that doesn’t have a chance of regaining its value in 10, 20 or maybe more years, get guidance on how to strategically default, but the site does advise people to work with an attorney in their home state. Each state has different laws that can make strategic default easier or more difficult.

Credit Scores Can Recover
Essentially when people strategically default, they stop paying their mortgage and instead put all their cash toward paying down other debt, such as car loans and credit cards. Since in many states foreclosures take 12 to 16 months, this gives people a significant amount of cash to pay off their other debts.

Yes, it’s true the borrower’s credit score will be harmed initially but homeowners will eventually gain all those lost credit score if they continuously pay all their bills.

Oh Yes, There Are Many Risks
So what are the risks? You do face the possibility that a bank will try to collect any shortfall on the amount due on your mortgage. But if you work with an attorney, you may be able to minimize the likelihood of being chased for the money.

The big question for many will be: Can I ever buy a home again? Surprisingly, yes. Some financial institutions even specialize in “mortgage repair” loans.

Mortgage-Repair Programs
If you’ve defaulted on a loan and would like to take advantage of some great foreclosure deals out there, look for similar mortgage repair programs in your state. Also, now that millions of people have defaulted on their mortgages, it’s likely that when the economy recovers and banks are ready to start lending again, the stigma of a foreclosure stemming from the housing bubble will likely fade. But in today’s economy, most banks won’t agree to lend to someone who recently foreclosed.

While I wouldn’t advise anyone to strategically default, it is an option you may want to consider if you’re stuck in a home with a huge loss that you don’t expect to ever recover. This can be especially helpful in these tough times if you live in a area where there are no jobs and you need to relocate in order to work again.