Archive for the ‘New laws’ Category

Final Tax Bill Passes: Effects on Home Ownership

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The new tax bill finally passed both house and senate. Here are the ways it will effect homeowners and those planning to purchase homes in the near future:

1. Property tax deductions: If you live in a state with high property taxes, like California, you may be in for a higher tax bill. The deductions for state and local income, sales and property taxes will now be limited to $10,000. If your state, like California, allows advanced payment of property taxes, you may want to consider paying the second installment now before the end of the year in order to deduct them on your 2017 taxes – ask you accountant.

2. Mortgage interest deduction: This could be lost if you live in a state with high real estate values: Yes, California is one of those states. The current cap for mortgage interest deductions is limited to mortgages valued up to $1.1 million, but the new bill caps out at $750,000.

3. Home equity deduction changes. The deduction for home equity loans will be limited to $100,000.

4. Capital gain exclusion: Thankfully this has been left as is, which is a big boost for homeowners wishing to sell. The law remains that if you have lived in your home 2 of 5 years prior to the sale date, you WILL be able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the sale (see below). The capital gain is the difference between what you paid for your home and what you sold it for. For example, if you paid $300k and sold it for $400k, the capital gain is $100k. If you lived in your home at least 2 years you will be able to avoid paying tax on up to $500k of the gain – which will be considered as income – ($250k for married couples filing separately).

5. Second home mortgage interest deductions: You will still be able to deduct interest on mortgage debt for both your primary and second homes, but the interest deduction has been reduced from $1M to $750k ($375k if married and filing separately).

6. Moving expense deduction: Under current law these are allowed for some moving expenses, if you are moving for job purposes. But the new law will allow ONLY active duty military members to use this deduction.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new tax laws, please contact your tax professional. Make sure you understand how you will be affected prior to purchasing or selling real estate.

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Homeowners: New CA Law to Protect Your Property From Probate

Monday, December 14th, 2015

California Assembly Bill AB-139 will take effect January 1, 2016. It will allow homeowners to avoid probate and designate one or more beneficiaries to inherit their properties upon their death, without the creation of a trust. Upon the death of the homeowner, ownership would pass immediately to the beneficiary, without having to go through probate proceedings. dreamstime_5338072

Designation of a beneficiary in the deed does not take away any rights of the property owner during her/his lifetime. She/he retains 100% control over the property during lifetime, and can still sell, place liens on the property, or borrow against the property with no need to inform the beneficiary named in the deed. The homeowner is also free to revoke the designation at any time during his or her life.

This low cost alternative is a great way to protect your property from probate. If you would like to discuss taking advantage of this new law, contact my highly recommended colleagues at In a Pinch Business Services at 760-536-3637, or visit The fee for creation of this document is $95. You can also contact your attorney.

For more information on the new bill please Click here



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New Supreme Court Ruling May Impact Short Sales

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The latest case on the Supreme Court docket could affect the number and difficulty of future short sales, so if you are short selling, purchasing/planning to purchase a short sale, or if you are an agent who may be selling one, please read on. dreamstime_6795077

In Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court will soon rule as to whether a borrower has the right to void a second lien through bankruptcy when his home is not worth the value of the first mortgage. In simpler terms, if you have two loans and file bankruptcy, and your home is not worth the amount of the first mortgage (say you owe $500,000 on the first loan and $100,000 on a second loan, and your home is worth $450,000), filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy would allow you to void the second loan. The home could then be sold via short sale and the second lienholder would get nothing and have no rights to intervene.

Back during the short sale wave of 2008-2011 many second lienholders were successfully able to block negotiated bankruptcy settlements that benefitted the borrowers and first mortgage holders; thus many short sales fell through, and those homes eventually ended up going into foreclosure. When the economy worsened many of these foreclosure proceedings got pushed to the back burner and homeowners stayed in their homes for long periods of time, even years, without paying anything. This led to damaged and neglected homes, and in some parts of the U.S. entire neighborhoods deteriorated. This of course resulted in cost increases for taxpayers and the bank bailout.

Not long after this all started many first lienholders began to offer small sums to the second lienholders (usually about $10,000) in exchange for their blessing on the short sales, and this became standard practice. But not all second lienholders acquiesce. If they are now given the legal right to block these agreements in bankruptcy it could create problems that would be passed along to taxpayers.

Two of the Justices – Kennedy and Sotomayor – have indicated that they do not think it fair that a second lienholder would be able to hold hostage a bankruptcy settlement reached by the borrower and first lienholder.

Keep an eye on this case and the outcome, which should be decided in June, especially if you are a homeowner in this situation, a short sale buyer or an agent who sells short sales. The decision could affect short sales as we know them…stay tuned.

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New California Law That Will Affect Investor-Owners, Renters

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

California’s new law, AB 1513, will make it a felony to unlawfully possess the property of another, including refusal to leave another’s property after being requested to do so. This law should make it easier for landlords to evict tenants – after proper notification of course – and will also keep tenants on their toes when served with a notice of eviction.dreamstime_5338072

The legal term for failure to vacate the premises is unlawful detainer. The language of the new law states the following:

160.5 A person who does either of the following is guilty of a felony punishable pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code:

(a) Knowingly holds and occupies any residential property, owned or managed by another, by force or threats of violence.

(b) Knowingly enters residential property without the property owner’s express written permission and refuses or fails to leave the residential property after being requested to leave by the property owner or agent of the owner.

For more information on the bill you can click here. To learn more about the eviction process in California click here. Most importantly, if you are a tenant facing the possibility of an unlawful detainer action, I highly advise you to seek the advice of an attorney as early as possible.

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