Tag Archives: help

Are ALL Real Estate Agents Equal?

In light of the fact that there has been some shocking news regarding a certain local real estate agent from San Diego, along with his wife and staff, being accused of duping over $15 million dollars from banks, investors and homeowners, I understand that many people question whether all real estate agents are the same, in acting dishonestly.

The normal response for people who personally know an agent of integrity, whom they even refer to all their family and friends, will say this is just an individual, and is not a general reflection of the masses. Yet I read and hear on social media websites that this categorizes all real estate agents as being dishonest, even those who have toiled for years and been ethical and forthright for their entire careers being cauterized. These are the individuals who need an education because of bad experiences, and I now challenge them to a call to action, to interview an individual agent like myself, while developing a relationship with the right real estate agent at their disposal whenever the need arises. A good real estate agent will have a grasp of the law at all times in the ever-changing, complicated world and real estate market we now have, then go to people to support them in the legal arena.

Are all real estate agents equal?My philosophy has always been that if you don’t ever get to speak with and do business with the real estate agent who is representing you, BEWARE! Many agents in the housing market have large teams of individuals, while the service and experience levels are severely low, due to new and inexperienced agents who look for high-profit opportunities, because of the low pay they earn. These mistakes lead to poor service, complaints to local association boards and the DRE; but more importantly, thousands of dollars in losses from the client’s pocket book. This may well be the case with this certain individual that is now in trouble.

I have seen another certain individual always advertising on local television, as another example of this type of representation, while the results produced have been average at best, according to many people I have helped and their friends giving feedback about them. As the old saying does: Don’t be duped by the fast-talking, nice-dressed and loveable smile.

While I am not here to condemn any individual, I feel my duty is to educate the public masses in the regard of how to hire the right agent to assist you in buying or selling your home. As another cliche goes, bigger is not better, but seeing the overall picture of their track record, years in the business and levels of hands-on experience are paramount, while being able to work directly with that individual on an ongoing basis is a must.

As in all crimes committed by people in authority; such as police officers, teachers, politicians, doctors, etc–there is that huge feeling of betrayal, while the important question of how did this happen by an individual held in high esteem in many circles of the community and their peers?

I hope that the blue-collar hardworking real estate agents like me will once again shine through this mess that the small minority of high-rollers create to most importantly the benefit of you, the client.

Call me today (at 619-890-3648) for an evaluation of your property or home search, and the right direction you deserve.

Watch Out for This Law Expiring: the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act

If you know someone who is upside down or owes more on their property than it is worth of residential real estate, NOW is the time to really take a close, hard look at the law that has saved millions of homeowners over the past several years: the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act that expires on January 1, 2013. Federal and California state guidelines are listed below.

For anyone you know in a modification, I strongly suggest you have your agreement reviewed ASAP with a real estate attorney if you haven’t already.  For a referral, I can help; I keep in contact with several top-quality attorneys and accountants.  The modification agreement in place may circumvent the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act–causing liability for the difference of the home loan on your property of what it is worth, whether you let your home go to foreclosure, or sell the property as a short sale now or after this law expires this year. 

mortgage debt forgiveness relief act

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief act

Please do yourself, friends, and family a favor–YOU will always be remembered as the knight in shining armor to them if you help them out.  And I can always help to answer any questions about this Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act and the effect it will have on you and them once it expires.  Since short sales can take several months to process in some cases, immediate action is necessary, and with that a financial windfall is possible–even if there is no equity in your property.  Call me now for details–(619) 890-3648!

Below you will find some of the details pertinent to the Federal and California government laws, but there are others as well (not noted here) that will also be expiring.  I am here to help!

New law–Taxable years 2009 through 2012

California law conforms, with modifications, to federal mortgage forgiveness debt relief for discharges that occurred in the tax years of 2007 through December 31, 2012.  The amount of qualifying indebtedness is less than the federal amount, and California imposes a state-only limitation on the total amount of relief excluded from the gross income.  The following summarizes the differences between the Federal and California provisions.

Federal provision applies to discharges occurring in 2007 through the end of 2012, and:

  • Limits the amount of qualified principal residence indebtedness to $2,000,000 for taxpayers who file as married filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, and to $1,000,000 for taxpayers who file as married filing separately.
  • Does not limit the debt relief amount; it only limits the indebtedness amount used to calculate the debt relief amount.
  • See the Federal law: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation for more information.

California provision applies to discharges that occurred in 2007 through 2012, and:

Taxable years 2009 through 2012
  • Limits the amount of qualified principal residence indebtedness to $800,000 for taxpayers who file as married/registered domestic partners (RDP) filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, and to $400,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing separately.
  • Limits debt relief to $500,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, and to $250,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing separately.
Taxable years 2007 and 2008
  • Limited the amount of qualified principal residence indebtness to $800,000 for taxpayers who file as married/(RDP) filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, and to $400,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing separately.
  • Limited debt relief to $250,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, ad to $125,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing separately.

You can read more about the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act and Debt Cancellation via the IRS website

If you’re confused still about this law, or need help getting the ball rolling NOW–please give me, John A. Silva, a call.  I would love to help sort this all out for you and save you headaches in the future–call me! (619) 890-3648

Mortgage Modifications are a Mess

You have probably heard about the robo-signing fiasco and the fact that mortgage modifications are grinding to a standstill. We’re also seeing foreclosures occur after a modification has been approved–even occasionally when borrowers have the ability to make the payments. The whole process is a mess, and according to a top federal regulator, major U.S. banks are about to be penalized for “critical deficiencies” and shortcomings in their handlings of foreclosures.

One of the problems is that it is in loan servicers’ best interest to stall a foreclosure or modification.  This is because they can continue to charge fees while they’re servicing the loans. They charge fees for paying taxes, sending payments to the investors after receipt from borrower, maintaining records, etc.–and those “nickels and dimes” add up.

Having gone through the modification process firsthand, I can confirm that the process is daunting at best. The most painful part was when I had to pay 11% interest on my $400,000-first mortgage when the loan was adjusting at one point; only to have the bank tell me (on multiple occasions over a three-year period) that I either made too much money…or not enough. I went to court to stop a threatened foreclosure, but I still had to pay the ridiculous interest until my modification was approved.

While I won the victory of a modification, every situation is different. Like probably many of you, I’m still upside-down on the property, but at least I’ve lowered my payments while I await the market’s recovery.

In the interim, the Controller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has put sanctions on the banks, as I mentioned above, but the sanctions barely amount to a slap on the wrist. The reality is that the regulating agencies have a history of negatively impacting borrower’s rights rather than protecting them. So where does this leave you if you are fighting to keep your homes?

My personal experience has inspired me to grow my expertise in this area so that I can help others. No American should be subject to the whims of the system, and no American family should lose their home because of the negligent practices of a third party. If you need help fighting through the process, give me a call. I’ll stand by your side.

John A Silva