Nevada City Virtual Tour

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nevada City and Grass Valley Rental Home Web Site Searches Up

Real Estate Web Site Traffic Jumps But.....


The Web sites boasting the largest year-over-year increases in traffic were devoted to rental or rent-to-own listings, says Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise.

Traffic to real estate Web sites increased 27 percent in February--the highest level since the first half of 2009. A bigger appetite for rentals has mostly driven the increase in real estate site traffic, according to a webinar by Experian Hitwise, in which it released its search tracking data. 



Also, traffic coming from social networks to real estate sites increased 61 percent year-over-year in February. Traffic to real estate sites from Facebook increasing 42 percent alone. Social networks now account for 4 percent of the overall traffic to real estate Web sites, Dougherty notes. The largest year-over-year increases in social media traffic last month were Yahoo! Real Estate, Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com.

The following are the 10 most popular search terms on real estate sites in the last year, according to Hitwise:

1. "rent to own homes"
2. "rent to own"
3. "foreclosure"
4. "for rent by owner"
5. "puerto rico real estate"
6. "houses for rent in orlando"
7. "apartments for rent in michigan"
8. "low income apartments"
9. "houses for rent by owner"
10. "reverse mortgage"

Source: “Rental Interest Drives Real Estate Search Traffic,” I n m a n  N e w s (March 25, 2011)




http://www.callgarytoday.com
Don't rent if can possibly not go that route. It's seems cheaper usually over time to buy if you look at how rents go up over time but your mortgage payment does not.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cash Is King in Nevada County Homes for Sale

Cash Is King in Today's Distressed Marketplace

- D S  N E W S



A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that all-cash sales were a record 33 percent in February. By comparison, they were 27 percent in February 2010, according to NAR’s historical data.

The HousingPulse report notes that the increase in cash purchases last month paralleled a rise in activity among investors, who for the most part have their sights set on distressed properties that can be scooped up at a discount.

Investors bought 23.5 percent of the homes sold in February, up from 19.9 percent just two months earlier, according to the industry survey. Real estate agents participating in the HousingPulse survey of February transactions confirmed the surge in investors.

“We are seeing investors come back into the market. One investor told me that one house he wanted came on Wednesday p.m and had nine offers by Thursday a.m.,” stated an agent in New Jersey.


“There are a number of investors and businesses buying up the short sale and REO properties and renovating them and then selling them as traditional sales,” reported an agent from Arizona.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nevada County Shadow Inventory Levels?

Shadow Inventory May Deplete Quicker In Hardest Hit States

-D S  N E W S

A recent report by the National Association of Realtors(NAR) reveals interesting information regarding the shadow inventory of the hardest hit states.
It is pretty well known that Arizona, Nevada, California, and Florida have been most affected by the foreclosure crisis. Together the four states make up 42 percent of the foreclosure volume in the United States.
But the situation is improving somewhat. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that in the last quarter of 2010, 90-plus day delinquencies fell in these four hard-hit states. At the same time, total non-current loans have dropped 38 percent nationally.
Florida has the largest shadow inventory, with more than 441,000 properties.
“The issue in Florida largely stems from inflated foreclosure inventory, which takes a very long time to clear,” said the report. The average number of days loans are delinquent in Florida is 638 days. The report also notes that California and Florida have seen the length of their foreclosure processes rise more than 150 percent since 2008.


But Arizona and Nevada, while still ranking in the top 25 states with the largest shadow inventory, are “fairing much better in terms of the shadow inventory.”

“This is largely due to their shadow inventory moving somewhat faster through the pipe lines and comprising large share of existing sales,” the report continued.

Distressed sales make up 55 percent of existing sales in Arizona and nearly 70 percent in Nevada. The report calculates the number of months it would take each state to clear its shadow inventory, by dividing the shadow inventory by the monthly number of distressed sales.

Using this formula, NAR found it would take 51 months to clear the shadow inventory in New Jersey, where only about 20 percent of existing home sales are distressed sales.

By contrast, Nevada’s distressed sales make up 70 percent of existing home sales, and by NAR’s calculations, the states shadow inventory could be cleared in as little as 7 months.

NAR calculated it would take 21 to 30 months to clear the shadow inventory in several states, including Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Washington.


Like Nevada, Arizona fell into the 7-10 month range.

The majority of the states fell within the 11 to 20 month range, including California and Texas.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How to buy a house like Warren Buffett

Here are 3 basic steps Buffett urges every American who owns a home - or wants to - to include in their approach to home ownership. 
1.  Ditch your "dream home" for a practical pad. When it comes to homes and mortgages, bigger is not always better.  What is better is to buy a home that makes sense for your family's future and its finances. In Buffettt's own words, "a house can be a nightmare if the buyer’s eyes are bigger than his wallet and if a lender . . . facilitates his fantasy."  Instead of buying dream homes, Buffett went on, the goal should be to buy a home you can afford.

2.  When you buy, plan to hold. Warren Buffett is worth $50 billion, and he still lives in the home he bought 52 years ago - for $31,500. Many Americans got caught in the housing crash when they took on mortgages they could only sustain for a short period of time, then weren't able to refinance as expected. Buffett's stock investing advice has long been to avoid making investments you can't hold for at least 10 years. Likewise, buying a home should be done with a long-term plan to avoid catastrophe when home values fluctuate in the short term.

3.  Mortgages should have fixed, affordable payments. In his shareholder letter, Buffett points out that a housing company he holds has done vastly better than other real estate and mortgage industry players and attributes their success to the fact that "our approach was simply to get a meaningful down-payment and gear fixed monthly payments to a sensible percentage of income."  Buffett believes these two mortgage musts are the key to avoiding foreclosure, opining that "[i]f home buyers throughout the country had behaved like our buyers, America would not have had the crisis that it did. . ..  This policy kept [the company] solvent and also kept buyers in their homes."  


Part of article from T r u l i a . c o m


Makes sense to me. Need to downsize? I can help. Want truthful advise on how to stay in your home? I can help or know someone who can help. Need info on getting your mortgage fixed up? I can help you find the right mortgage officer who will take the time. Give me call.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Double-digit rent rise is coming to the housing market

Double-digit rent rise is coming to the housing market. - money.cnn.com
Renters are coming back to the housing market, and they'll force rents much higher. Supply and demand after all...

So, it will likely end up for you, a lower monthly mortage rate many times by buying a home instead of renting.
PLUS PLUS your monthly mortgage payment (using a standard fixed rate loan) remains the same for all those years while rent always go up. PLUS PLUS PLUS you get to keep the home in the end.

So, give me call at 1-877-311-GARY or visit my site at http://www.callgarytoday.com for more help deciding.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home Affordable Refinance Program HARP Extension to June 30, 2012

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Extension to June 30, 2012

If you are current on your mortgage and have been unable to obtain a traditional refinance because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through HARP. HARP is designed to help you refinance into a new affordable, more stable mortgage. The HARP loan is a new loan and will require a loan application and underwriting process. Loan refinance fees will apply.
Eligibility

*You may be eligible to apply if you meet all of the following:
•You have a mortgage owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
•You do not have an FHA, VA or USDA loan.
•You are current on your mortgage payments and have not been more than 30 days late making a payment over the last year.
•You owe more than the home is worth, but your mortgage does not exceed 125 percent of the current market value of your home.
•The refinance will improve the long-term affordability or stability of your mortgage.
•You have the ability to make the new payments.
*Eligibility criteria are for guidance only.


Steps to HARP Refinance
•Determine whether your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by visiting their respective Loan Lookup tools.
•Contact your current mortgage servicer or another that is approved by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to inquire about HARP.
•Compare rates and costs with additional mortgage companies to ensure best refinance terms.

Call me to find out if this program is right for you and if your home is currently listed for sale and have decided to take it off the market, this program may work for you as well.

Source: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mortgage and Foreclosure Myths

Mortgage and Foreclosure Myths

In a mortgage market that changes as quickly as this one, today’s fact is tomorrow’s fiction.  For buyers, misinformation can be the difference between qualifying for a home loan or not. Sellers and owners, knowledge is foreclosure-preventing, smart decision-making power! Without further ado, let’s correct some common mortgage misconceptions.

1.       Myth: Buyers with bad credit can’t qualify for home loans. Obviously, mortgage guidelines have tightened up, big time, since the housing bubble burst, and they seem likely to tighten even further over the long-term. But just this moment, they have relaxed a bit.  In the last couple of weeks, two of the nation’s largest lenders of FHA loans announced that they’ve dropped the minimum FICO score guideline from 620 (which allows for some credit imperfections) to 580, which is actually a fairly low score. 

At a FICO score of 620, buyers can qualify for FHA loans at many lenders with only 3.5 percent down. With a score of 580, the lenders are looking for more like 5 to 10 percent down – they want to see you put more of your own skin in the game, and the higher down payment lowers the risk that you’ll default.  However, if your credit has taken a recessionary hit, like that of so many Americans, this might create a glimmer of hope that you’ll be able to take advantage of low prices and interest rates without needing years of credit repair.

2.     Myth: The Mortgage Interest Deduction isn’t long for this world.  Homeowners saved over $85 billion in 2008 by deducting their mortgage interest on their income tax returns. A few months ago, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform caused a massive wave of fear to ripple throughout the world of real estate consumers and professionals when they recommended Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) reform, which would dramatically reduce the size of the deduction.

Fact is, the Commission made a sweeping set of deficit-busting recommendations to Congress, a few of which are likely to be adopted.  Fortunately for buyers and sellers, MID reform is not one of them.  Very powerful industry groups and economists have been working with Congress to plead the case that MID reform any time in the near future would only handicap the housing recovery.  Congress-folk aren’t interested in stopping the stabilization of the real estate market.  As such, the MID is nearly universally thought of as safe – even by those who disagree that it should be.

3.       Myth:  It’s just a matter of time before loan guidelines loosen up. 
 The US Treasury Department recently recommended the elimination of mortgage industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I won’t get into the eye-glazing details of it here, but the long and the short is that (a) this is highly likely to happen, and (b) it will make mortgage loans much harder and costlier to get, for both buyers and homeowners.   It’s possible that loans are as easy to get as they’re going to get.  So don’t expect that if you hold out, zero-down mortgages will come back into vogue anytime soon. Fortunately, Fannie and Freddie aren't likely to disappear for another 5-7 years, so you have a little time to pull your down payment and credit together. If you want to get into the market, the time to get yourself ready is now!

4.       Myth: If you don’t have equity, you can’t refi. Much ado is being made about how stuck so many people are in their bad loans, because they don’t have the equity to refinance their way out of them.  If you’re severely upside down (meaning you own much, much more than your home is worth), stuck may be the situation. But there are actually a couple of ways homeowners can refi their underwater home loans.  If your loan is held by Fannie or Freddie (which you can find out, here), they will actually refinance it up to 125% of its current value, assuming you otherwise qualify for the loan.  That means, if your home is worth $100,000, you could refinance a loan up to $125,000, despite the fact that your home can’t secure the full amount of the loan.

If your loan is not owned by Fannie or Freddie, you might be a candidate for the FHA “Short Refi” program. While most mortgage workout plans are only available to people who are behind on their loans, the Short Refi program is only available to homeowners who are current on their mortgages and need to refinance up to 115 percent of their homes’ value.  So, if you owe $250,000 on your home, you can refinance via an FHA Short Refi even if your home’s value is as low as $217,000. If you think you’re a good candidate for a short refi, contact your mortgage broker, stat – there are some in Congress who think that this program is so underutilized (only 245 applications have been submitted since it rolled out in September – no typo!) that its funding should be diverted to other needy programs.

5.       Myth: 
 If you’ve lost your job and can’t make your mortgage payment, you might as well mail your keys in.  Until recently, this was essentially true – virtually every loan modification and refinancing opportunity required that your economic hardship be over before you could qualify. And documenting income has always been high on the requirements checklist. But there are some new funds available in the states with the hardest hit housing and job markets, which have been designated specifically for out-of-work homeowners.


For more info please visit my Mortgage and Foreclosure page




Article courtesy of T r u l i a . c o m

Thursday, March 17, 2011

BofA Launches Loan Modifications for Military Homeowners

Bank of America Launches Loan Modifications for Military Homeowners


 R I S M E D I A ,  March 14, 2011—(MCT)—Bank of America Corp. recently announced a mortgage modification program for military customers, including principal forgiveness for some struggling borrowers. The Charlotte bank said the program assists military members who are leaving active duty and having trouble making their mortgage payments.



The announcement comes as big banks are in settlement discussions with banking regulators and state attorneys general over their handling of foreclosures and modifications. The banks may face a requirement that they reduce principal for borrowers, a measure they’re resisting.
To make payments affordable, Bank of America’s new program will first reduce the amount owed on a borrower’s mortgage to as low as 100% of the home’s current market value. After that, the bank can also reduce the interest rate on the loan, as needed.
Starting April 1, Bank of America said, it also will offer a 4% interest rate on mortgages for active duty military members while they are under the protection of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, lower than the 6% that is required.
The bank said the modification program and the lower interest rates will initially be offered to customers with loans owned and serviced by the bank. It said it’s in discussions with investors in other mortgages that it services.
“Military men and women face extraordinary circumstances, and they make unique sacrifices for all of us,” said Laughlin in a statement. “For these reasons, we want this combination of tools to address their needs and help them when they need it most.”
(c) 2011, The C h a r l o t t e  O b s e r v e r (Charlotte, N.C.).
Distributed by M c C l a t c h y - T r i b u n e  I n f o r m a t i o n Services.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Banks drag feet on short sales


The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR® (C.A.R.) published its findings of a survey this week, which show that tedious lender requirements and poor communication STILL hamper short sales. 


MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
  • Fewer than three of five short sales close in California, illustrating the complexity and difficulty of navigating lenders’ and servicers’ short sale procedures, according to C.A.R.’s survey, which gauged REALTORS®’ experience in working with short sale transactions – transactions in which the lender or lenders agree to accept less than the mortgage amount owed by the current homeowner.
  • Although not every homeowner or mortgage is eligible for a short sale, those who are able to finalize a short sale avoid a foreclosure on their credit record and can move on with their lives.
  • Banks are taking much longer to respond to short sale offers than those specified in government guidelines for banks.  Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said banks took longer than 60 days to respond to short sale offers.  

YES THIS IS WILD AFTER ALL THIS TIME AND SUPPOSED MANDATES! 
Be sure to use an agent who has been trained and certified to reduce headaches.
Gary Tippner
SFR Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certified
 http://www.callgarytoday.com



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Zero Down Loans USDA more fees coming

USDA Loans Will Have Monthly Mortgage Insurance as of October 1, 2011


What Does This Mean To You?

USDA and its loan program was designed to help improve the economy and quality of life throughout rural America. The program continues to remain a wonderful option for qualifying homebuyers, with zero down payment required.

But a change is coming!

Beginning October 1, for the first time in the history of USDA, the Single Housing Guaranteed Loan Program will have an annual fee. This fee will be calculated based on the guaranteed loan amount and based on the average annual scheduled unpaid principal balance for the life of the loan.

If you're thinking of purchasing a home and you're wondering if you may qualify for a USDA loan, give me a call right away. Home loan rates are still very attractive. Let's see if this program is right for you...before the October 1 fee begins.



Monday, March 14, 2011

Bankruptcy may save your home?

Filing for bankruptcy could save your home? - msnbc.msn.com

By the time the foreclosure notice arrives, most struggling homeowners figure they are out of options. But there is one more step, often overlooked but sometimes effective: bankruptcy.

Please visit your lawyer and tax professional as soon as possible when in trouble!
 If they advise a short sale in Grass Valley or Nevada City areas, then maybe I can help. Visit my site for more info on short sales.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grass Valley Foreclosures Plunge?

Foreclosure filings in the U.S. plunge 27% compared to last February - Mar. 10, 2011 - money.cnn.com

The good news: Foreclosures are down. The bad? They may go up.

See Grass Valley Real Estate Market Trends

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nevada City and Grass Valley homes are undervalued?

Research Firm Says U.S. Housing Has Never Been This Undervalued - dsnews.com

The continuing depreciation of residential property values at the end of last year has made housing look more undervalued relative to income than ever before, according to analysts at the research firm Capital Economics.

Please visit http://www.callgarytoday.com/

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is Renting Better than Buying a Home?

Is Renting Better than Buying a Home?

Scared by the housing market still, more would-be home buyers are opting for rentals – driving rents up along the way. But it's not just rising rents that new renters have to worry about. A handful of new costs could make renting less than the bargain it appears.



The average national vacancy rate for rentals fell 17% last year to 6.6%, according to Reis, Inc., which tracks rental performance data. And as renting has gotten more popular, prices have jumped. The average monthly rent, including studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments is now $986, based on Reis data. Before the recession, the average was just $930. And in some markets, it's far worse: In New York, rents are up 9% on average in the last five years; in San Jose, they're up 8%.

The market is only likely to get tighter. For the first time in memory, the federal government is actively encouraging people to rent, rather than buy. The Obama administration's recent housing proposal calls for a larger rental market and limits home ownership . Not that renting needed the endorsement: It's already attractive to anyone hesitant to commit to a home in an uncertain job market, those who can't qualify for a mortgage, and people waiting for a more stable housing market before buying. And some people just don't have a choice. Skyrocketing foreclosures have left thousands of former homeowners with no option but to rent, says Frank Nitschke, principal at Prudential Real Estate Investors Research. And with another five million homes expected to go into foreclosure over the next two years, according to RealtyTrac.com, that means more renters will soon enter the market and could drive rentals up even more.

The rise in demand almost certainly means higher rents, which are projected to rise by 3.4% by the end of the year, according to Reis, and fewer of the perks that became popular during the recession, like two or three months' free rent for anyone willing to sign a one-year lease. While shopping around, new renters should look for landlords who are still willing to provide free months of rent – a trend that has been declining during the past year, but is still more widely available than it was pre recession, says Ryan Severino, a senior economist at Reis. Existing renters might save money by renewing their lease sooner than later when rents are likely to be even higher, he says. Before signing a contract, look for wording that promises not to raise rents during the lease period. By end of year, rents could rise even further should inflation pick up.

But there are other costs, too, that can take a bigger bite than many renters expect: Insurance, storage fees and, in cities where housing costs have plummeted, opportunity costs. Suddenly, home-ownership doesn't quite sound so bad.


Storage costs

For former homeowners, renting often means living in a smaller space – which means taking the 8-foot dining room table or the piano to storage. At Public Storage, among the largest U.S. storage companies, the popular 100-square foot unit – about half the size of a one-car garage -- can cost up to $270 per month, depending on location. (The average price is around $150.) There's also a one-time fee of around $20 to sign up. The company's U.S. same-store revenues were up modestly in the third quarter compared to a year ago, and "there's no doubt, foreclosures have helped the industry," says Clemente Teng, the company's vice president of investor relations. To lock in the most affordable rental, look online: Companies often offer lower prices online than they will over the phone. And since prices can vary by location, check out the options a town or two over. Consumers shopping for a space now might want to consider locking in the price – when home sales and moves pick up in the summer, storage prices tend to rise.


Insurance fees

There's no reliable data, but anecdotal evidence suggests that more landlords are requiring tenants to sign up for renter's insurance, says Loretta Worters, a vice president at the Insurance Information Institute. They're concerned about getting sued if someone gets hurt on their property, and while the extra cost may seem unnecessary at first, it makes sense: A typical policy covers a tenant's possessions and pays for hotel stays and additional living expenses in the event a rental is destroyed or seriously damaged. Premiums usually range between $100 and $300 per year, according to State Farm, and vary based on location and amount of coverage. Some renters may want additional coverage, because most policies place a limit of up to $2,500 – total –on jewelry, fur, silverware, gold, art and rugs, whether they're destroyed or stolen. A supplemental policy, called a floater, costs on average $7.50 per $1,000 worth of jewelry, says Scott Simmonds, a Saco, Maine-based insurance consultant.


Missed opportunity

In some cities, the housing market has fallen so far, and the rental market has gotten so tight, that rent could cost significantly more than a mortgage on a comparable place. In Miami's Dade County, for example, a two-bedroom apartment costs $1,206 on average in rent; monthly mortgage and property tax payments on the same property, based at the median list price of $209,000, would cost $774, according to Movoto.com, which tracks sales and rental prices. Over five years, that's a savings of almost $26,000 – not even including the tax break for mortgage interest. In Fairfax County, Va., the markets, and savings, could be similar. To determine whether owning is cheaper than renting in a specific neighborhood pull up equivalent for-sale listings online or speak with a realtor and use a rent-or-buy calculator to compare the monthly cost of renting and owning. And if the monthly savings are significant, there are other compelling reasons to buy, says John Mulville, a senior vice president at Real Estate Economics, which tracks residential real estate data: prices are low, as are mortgage rates.

Is Renting Better Than Buying? Article Courtesy of  S m a r t M o n e y . c o m

If you are still looking for homes for rent and rentals in Nevada County Grass Valley Nevada City
If you changed your mind and would like to see Nevada County Grass Valley Nevada City homes under $300000

Tax Deductions for Owning a Home

Tax Deductions for Owning a Home


Ask a roomful of homeowners what's so great about owning versus
renting, and you'll hear them holler in unison: "the tax deductions!"
And it's true – homeowners who itemize their taxes are able to deduct
100% of their mortgage interest and property taxes from their income
tax returns.

That means that if you're in a 28% tax bracket, Uncle Sam effectively
subsidizes about a third of your borrowing costs or more, making your
home more affordable or allowing you to buy a larger home than you
could have otherwise. Also, big chunks of your closing costs are tax
deductible, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of any profit (or
capital gains) that you realize when you sell your home are exempt
from income taxes.

At tax time, it's critical to know what you're entitled to, so you can
claim it. So, here are five essential need-to-knows about home-related
income tax tips to help you get the most tax-reducing bang out of your
home-owning buck – and to avoid hefty home ownership-related tax
traps.

1. You Have to Itemize Your Return to Claim Your Deductions

During the recent debate on Capitol Hill about whether the mortgage
interest deduction should be eliminated (it won't be, not anytime
soon), it came out that nearly 40% of homeowners lose out on their
major tax advantages every year when they fail to itemize their income
taxes. If you own a home and otherwise have a fairly simple return, it
might be tempting just to take the standard deduction – and if your
mortgage, property taxes and income are low enough, the standard
deduction might outweigh your homeowners' deductions. But you'll never
know if you're losing out on the tax advantages of itemizing unless
you try; before you grab a pen and start filling in that 1040-EZ grab
those forms from your mortgage company and answer the questions on tax
software like TurboTax, which will automatically do the math on
whether itemizing or taking the standard deduction will result in the
lowest tax bill – or the highest tax refund – for you.

2. Plan Ahead and Be Strategic When Taking a Home Office Deduction

According to the Small Business Administration, the average home
office deduction is $3,686 – multiply that by your tax bracket – 15%,
20%, 30% or whatever it is, and that's what you'll save on your taxes
by writing off your home office. Know, though, that the space you
designate as your home office cannot be exempted from capital gains
tax when you sell your home later. The $250,000 (single)/ $500,000
(married filing jointly) income tax exemption for capital gains is
only good on your personal residence, after all – not including any
space in your home you've claimed as your tax-advantaged office. If
you foresee selling your home for much more than you bought it in the
future, near or far, discuss this with your tax preparer to see if the
few hundred bucks you save is worth the capital gains complication
later.

3. Tax Relief for Loan Modifications, Short Sales and Foreclosures Is
Only Around Through 2012

While the long-term housing outlook is beginning to look up, 2011 is
projected to be the peak year for foreclosures during this market
cycle. Distressed homeowners who are on the brink of a short sale,
loan modification or foreclosure should be aware that normally, any
mortgage balance that is wiped out by one of these outcomes is taxed
as what the IRS calls Cancellation of Debt Income, or CODI.

Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007, the IRS is
currently not charging income taxes on CODI incurred through a loan
mod, short sale or foreclosure on most primary residences through
2012. But right now, banks are taking many months, or even years, to
work out mortgages in all of these ways; the average foreclosure in
New York state right now occurs only after 22 months of missed
mortgage payments. If you foresee any of these outcomes in your
future, don't put things off. Do what you can to get to closure on
your distressed home and loan, ASAP, while you won't have income taxes
to add as the insult on top of your significant housing injury.

4. Project the Income Tax Consequences of a Refinance or Property Tax Appeal

Homeowners everywhere are working on applying for a lower property tax
bill on the basis of the last few years' decline in their home's
value. Those who have equity have flocked en masse to refinance their
7% home loans into the 4% to 5% rates of the last few months. These
strategies offer some of the heftiest household savings out there for
the corresponding investment in time and money they take. But here's a
caveat for savvy homeowners who slash these costs: remember that
property taxes and mortgage interest, the very costs you're
minimizing, are also the basis for the major tax benefits of being a
homeowner. So plan ahead for your income tax deductions to go down
along with your taxes and interest.

5. Don't Forget Those Closing Costs

If you bought or refinanced your home in 2010, you may be so focused
on your mortgage interest and property tax deductions that you forget
all about your closing costs. Any origination fees or discount points
that were paid to your mortgage lender at closing are tax deductible
on your 2010 return, get this – even if the seller paid your closing
costs. If you can't figure out exactly what you paid, look for your
HUD-1 settlement statement, that legal sized paper full of line item
credits and debits that you should have received from your escrow
provider or title attorney at, or just after, closing. Can't find it?
Drop your real estate agent or mortgage broker an email; they can
usually get a copy to you quickly.

Article courtesy of T r u l i a
Please consult a tax advisor.

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