Does the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act apply to all debts?

Congress passed a bill including, The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (Sec. 202) which extends the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through December 31, 2013. This legislation extends dozens of other tax cuts that have expired or are set to expire at the end of the year, including one that extends homeowners’ ability to deduct the cost of mortgage insurance on a qualified personal residence.

Under the federal tax code, all types of forgiven debt are treated as income, subject to regular taxes. Because of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, homeowners who get their mortgage debt forgiven through either a short sale or loan modification won’t be taxed on the amount forgiven up to $2 million. This law was set to expire December 31, 2012. If it hadn’t been extended, any forgiven amount of debt would be considered taxable income, which would be devastating for homeowners who are already experiencing financial hardship. If you're in search of mortgage relief, a short sale is still a better option than foreclosure. 

The recommmendatiion to all my investors selling in a short sale, make sure you have a very sharp CPA! If you are in search of mortgage relief contact me at kgblady@cfl.rr.com. My team and I helped so many investors relieve mortgage distress in 2012, please reach out and let us help you!

Renting a Home After Short Sale or Foreclosure

With all of the short sales and foreclosures taking place borrowers are wondering how to rent with bad credit. Prospective Tenants have their credit pulled as part of the application process. Prior to the real estate anomaly, a low credit score would result in being declined, however, with the over whelming number of people losing their homes in short sales and foreclosures, owners and property managers find themselves making concessions.

In a post How to Rent a Home if You Have Bed Credit, Tamara Holmes reported, “According to a recent survey by Rent.com, 81 percent of property managers have seen a decline in the credit worthiness or credit score of prospective renters, and due to the shift, 43 three percent of landlords reduced their credit policy standards in order to fill vacancies.”

I realize many of the people who have lost their homes are good people who just hit hard times. If a prospective tenant just has a blip on their credit report associated to a distressed sale situation and no derogatory or criminal issues, I go to bat for them with our owners. What prospective tenants need to understand is, owners are the ones that approve or decline. I have to say, most of the people who I have rented to that have come from a distressed sale have turned out to be some of my best tenants.

Prospective tenants should have a letter prepared explaining their situation and expect to pay first and last month’s rent, along with a security deposit, along with having, references you can provide.

We do our very best to help folks coming out of mortgage misery. You can search for rental properties at Rent With Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEEKABO APPLICANTS

There are five tenants applying for your home that you placed on the market (meaning, you put a craigslist ad in your area).  Four of them look ok, steady jobs, good and stable rental history for the past few years and they all have verifiable jobs.  The last applicant doesn’t list the previous landlord’s physical address, phone number or email address, nor do they list employers, stating ‘self-employment’. 

     What do you do?  Your suspicions raise red flags so you fire up your trusty desktop computer, head to some online background verification websites and plug in that last applicant’s name and social security number.  You want to find out if there is any criminal background activity or if they are house jumping to avoid paying deposits or rent and the big one, were they foreclosed on?  But, is what you’re doing ethical and/or legal?

     Well, the problem is that unless you check the public records of every applicant in a given similar situation, you may run afoul of fair housing laws, as you may not be treating all the applicants equally. You need to create a written plan and a policy which will determine under what circumstances you will check the public records and how far you will go with this. As part of this decision and plan, you will need to determine what counties you will check, and understand that in some counties, the information is not readily available and would require written requests or payment for information.

     In the event of foreclosure, there are two story versions. The first version is where the applicant tells you that she was living in a home, and the owner of the home got foreclosed on, forcing her to move. The other story is the applicant was the actual owner of a single family home, was foreclosed on and had to move.  If the applicant was the tenant who “supposedly” had to move, you need to verify this. You MUST verify the story, and all you need to do is look at the public records, put in the owner’s name in the civil court records to find the foreclosure, or put in the property address in the tax appraiser’s records and begin to dig. If the owner was truly foreclosed upon, you will find that information in the court records.