Posts Tagged ‘real estate taxes’

Qualified Home Owners – Save in Taxes on Next Home Purchase

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

People are always asking me how they can save money on home purchases and sales, and legislation under California Propositions 60 and 90 is one of the best ways to do just that. BUT, you have to meet certain qualifications.

Proposition 60 and 90 help home sellers transfer their current residential tax base to the purchase of a new home, saving potentially thousands of dollars in taxes. Proposition 60 is for intra-county transfers (between the counties of San Diego, Orange Los Angeles, Riverside, Alameda, El Dorado, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Tuolumne and Ventura. Proposition 90 allows for the same advantage with inter-county transfers.

This all sounds great, right? Here is the fine print…in order to qualify:

1. The home owner (only one of them) must be at least 55 years of age. Co-owners cannot both qualify.

2. The home being sold must be a principal residence

3. The present home must be sold and the new home must be equal or lesser market value to the original property

4. If the property is held in a trust the seller will need to be the beneficial owner of the trust, not merely the trustee

5. The replacement property must be purchased or built within 2 years (before or after) of the sale of the current property.

6. “Your original property must have been eligible for the homeowners’ or disabled veterans’ exemption either at the time it was sold or within two years of the purchase or construction of the replacement property.”

As an example let’s say you purchased your home many years ago for $400,000 and it’s current market value is $800,000. If you sell this home and purchase a home that is $800,000 or less, should you qualify under Proposition 60 or 90 you will be able to take your current tax basis (tax on the $400,000 home plus the increases that have accrued over the years) to a replacement home that is purchased for $800,000 or less. This is a huge savings because most counties tax about 1-1.25% on real estate purchases.

For more details on eligibility requirements to take advantage of Prop 60 or 90, click here.

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Will the Short Sale Tax Break Be Extended?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

It is almost here: the dreaded end of the federal short sale tax breaks, also known as the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Come December 31, sellers who have not yet closed escrow on their short sales will no longer escape the capital gains tax on the difference between the sales price (of their home via a short sale) and the amount owed on their mortgage…UNLESS the tax breaks are extended. Will this  happen, and if not, what will happen to short sales?

First of all, I have to say that I think the tax will be extended. It simply does not make sense at this critical economic time to not extend the tax break. Doing so wreaks all kind of havoc, including surges in foreclosures and bankruptcy filings, which neither the government nor the banks want to see.

Failure to extend the act would undermine everything that is improving in the real estate market and cause us to jump many steps backwards. The fact that an extension has not yet been announced makes people nervous, but due to the Presidential election and other important issues on the proverbial table, I think it has been put on the backburner for a short time.

Lets take a look at the main arguments for not extending the tax break:

1.  Too costly. There are some who believe that the law will not be extended, as they feel the alleged $2.7 billion it will cost to do so is not justified due to the deficit. To this I would say it will be a lot more costly if millions of homes go into foreclosure again, as people find they have no other solution and cannot afford to stay in their homes. The lenders will be stuck with tons of inventory that they have to sell, many that will be trashed, and the market will drop again, creating another real estate nightmare. Just when we are coming out of the bad market is not a good time to cause it to dive again.

2.  Easy escape for homeowners – ? Another argument in favor of not renewing the tax savings is that doing so encourages people to default on their loans. In other words, if people know they can short sale their homes and walk away without financial ramifications, it makes it easier than staying in a home they cannot afford and trying to make it work. I do not agree with this argument, as I think the stress would just lead to more bankruptcy filings and foreclosures, which in the end is even worse for the lending institutions (not to mention for millions of families).

It remains to be seen what will happen come the end of the year. The bottom line is this: if you are contemplating a short sale and your house is not yet listed on the market, or if your home is listed but you have not yet sent any offers over to your short sale lender, it is a good time to discuss your options with both your agent and a financial adviser, CPA and/or attorney. You must understand your options and what could happen if the law is not extended, because it could effect your decision whether to close your short sale.

If you are in the middle of a short sale and you have obtained or are soon to obtain lender approval, you need to make sure that the lender(s) release you in writing from any financial liability once escrow closes, if it is to close after December 31.

[Note that regardless of when your short sale is closing, you should ALWAYS make sure the lender approval letter has language to this effect…most lenders automatically state such in the approval letters, but if not you need to have your agent or negotiator ask that it be included]. You also need to check your state laws to determine state tax liability with short sales, as laws do vary. For more information about short sales you can visit my website.

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Real Estate News REcap for January 12, 2012

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

There is a lot of news out there in the real estate market, and much of it is very positive in pointing toward a market recovery. I am not putting a spin on things – this is what is going on now and the news looks good.

Mortgage Delinquencies Down. The number of mortgage delinquencies is lower than it was back in January of 2010 – 25% lower, according to LPS (Lender Processing Services). What does this mean? Many say this means the market is starting to recover, and they are predicting a decent year for housing. With less delinquencies there will be fewer foreclosures. The states with the highest percentage of non-current loans are Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. Those with the lowest percentage of non-current loans are North Dakota, Arkansas, Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana. You can read the entire report here.

Mortgage Applications Rise 4.5%. Continuing on with the premise that the market is recovering, mortgage applications are on the rise, according the the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing also rose, and with low interest rates continuing it could be a boom to the Spring home buying season. Click here to read the entire story posted by Housing Wire.

Lowest Reported Lender Owned Inventory Since 2007. Lender owned inventory, or REO properties, has dropped 34% since 2010, and is at the lowest rate since 2007, according to a year-end report by Realty Trac. 804,423 homes were repossessed by lenders in 2011.

Fannie Mae Extends Mortgage Forbearance Program for Unemployed Borrowers. Fannie Mae just released new guidelines to help unemployed borrowers. The servicer will reduce or suspend mortgage payments to those who qualify, for a specified period of up to 6 months if requirements are met. At the end of the period the servicer will evaluate to see if the borrower is eligible for up to another 6 month extension. No foreclosures will be filed during these forbearance periods. The program is slated to begin March 1, but servicers are being encouraged to begin helping borrowers right away.

And some California real estate news…

Keep Your Home California Program Adds More Lenders. Keep Your Home California, the program dedicated to helping borrowers avoid foreclosure, has added more lenders to the program roster, bringing the total to 55 servicers who have pledged to assist struggling homeowners. According to a Union Tribune article, the servicers are amongst the biggest names in the mortgage industry, holding 90% of all California home loans. For more information on the program you can visit the website.

Mello Roos Taxes No Longer Deductible. A new tax law will create more tax liability for homeowners with mello roos taxes. Until now, a homeowner was able to deduct his entire property tax bill, including mello roos assessments, from his state income tax. Starting with the 2012 tax bill, the Franchise Tax Board will require property tax bills to be divided into deductible and non-deductible portions. Mello roos taxes will be non-deductible. Since the 2012 taxes are not due for over a year there are groups that will be fighting this tax increase, citing a bad move on behalf of the state in difficult financial times. If the law sticks it could create problems in selling homes with mello roos taxes, leading to losses in property values. We will have to wait and see if the FTB reverses this one.

 

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