Tag Archives: real estate attorney

Real Estate Scams; Buyer & Seller Agent Info

It is still, and most likely always, a fact that scams will be out there in real estate – just as in other areas of life.

The basic contexts of scams still remain the same, and the recommendations to figure out if they are or not scams are basically the same as well. A great real estate resource is available here: prevent loan scams link.

More resources:

scamA basic step-by-step guide for investigating a possible scam on your own is by contacting a:

1) Real estate professional you know or myself, two opinions are better than one and mine is FREE.
2) Real estate attorney: They traditionally give you a free ½ hour consultation. I recommend this after your interviews with an active licensed Realtor. (Definition of a Realtor below).
3) Real estate accountant that is well-versed in laws of tax liability, as well as mortgage laws.

These are the 3 main points to consider when considering a sale, whether traditional or a short sale.

The definition of Realtor is as follows: they have a designated membership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and their own state association (In California it’s the California Association of Realtors – CAR), in addition to having a valid Salesperson or Broker license.

It is my opinion that the best person to represent you may not be a Broker after all, because their way of doing business (or amount of business they do) may not be what is best for the client that is choosing due to circumstances of sale, experience, and amount of successful business closed in related situations. There are new ways to make even more money for a seller that most agents do not know about.

Then for buyers, the full-time experienced agents who work mostly with buyers are better to look for, however they are not necessarily the better agent to use. As with the criteria sellers should look for, a buyer will want to make sure the agent they choose is very experienced and the lender they choose has the experience to match the agent, otherwise the buyer will most likely be in for a wildly fascinating ride. Being familiar with areas is also key, including demographics relating to school rankings and crime.

These are some of the major points to look at when choosing an agent.

Your comments or questions are always welcome…

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