Tuesday, April 28, 2009

U.S. to Offer Incentives to Modify Seconds

The Obama administration is announcing incentives today for mortgages servicers to modify home equity loans and other second mortgages.

Servicers must agree to modify second mortgages when the first mortgage has been modified. They must extend the term of the second mortgage and match the rate of the first mortgage. Then the government will share the cost with the servicer of cutting the rate to 1 percent for amortizing loans and 2 percent for interest-only loans.

Under the program, the government will pay mortgage servicers $500 upfront and $250 a year for three years for the modifications. Borrowers will receive payments of up to $250 a year for five years if they stay current on the modified loan.

There will also be a schedule of incentives for holders of second liens to drop their claims altogether.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Treasury will make the announcement jointly.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase have already agreed to participate in the program.

A separate announcement will include changes to the Hope for Homeowners program, which helps homeowners refinance into more affordable government-backed loans. To get this program moving, the administration is announcing a $2,500 upfront payment to servicers. Lenders will receive $1,000 a year for three years if the loan stays current.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Holzer (04/28/2009)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is NACA Right For You?

NACA, or the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, is a non-profit community activist organization dedicated to helping people buy and keep their homes. Everyone who participates gets the same loan which includes:

no down payment;
no closing costs;
no fees;
no requirement for perfect credit; and
a below-market interest rate.

This is a terrific deal, but it comes with some very long strings.

First, be aware that the approval process can take many months. So if you need to purchase your home now, this may not be the program for you. Second, in order to get the loan, you must attend a workshop as well as meet with a NACA counselor.

But perhaps the most important condition to consider is that you are not just getting a loan from NACA, you are becoming a member of their organization. And as such, you must agree to do volunteer work for them. They take this participation very seriously, so if you are not prepared to make the commitment, you may not wish to consider this loan.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Are You Eligible For Loan Help?

Here is another website designed to help homeowners determine if they're eligible for loan modifications or loan refinancings under the Obama administration's Making Home Affordable program.

Mortgage Relief Online

Banks Sign On To Obama Housing Plan

Six of the nations largest banks have agreed to participate in the Obama administration's plan to try and keep homeowners in their homes. These are JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, GMAC Mortgage, Saxon Mortgage Services, and Select Portfolio Servicing.

The plan is designed to provide incentives to the lenders and loan servicers to modify loans that are more affordable. It also provides incentives to the homeowners to continue to make their payments, For program details, look at Understanding the New Housing Plan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Relief for Home Buyers

Here are the highlights of the Federal Tax Credit for home buyers:

Amount of Tax Credit - 10% of purchase price not to exceed $8,000.

Principal Residence - Property purchased must be the taxpayer’s principal residence which is generally the home the taxpayer lives in most of the time (26 U.S.C. § 121).

Type of Property - House, condominium, townhome, manufactured home, apartment cooperative, houseboat, housetrailer, or other type of property located in the U.S.

First-time Homebuyer - The buyer (and buyer’s spouse if any) must not have owned a principal residence during the three-year period before date of purchase.

Unoccupied Property - Property may have been previously occupied or not.

Minimum Occupancy Requirement - Must be the buyer’s principal residence for 36 months after purchase, otherwise credit must be repaid.

Income Restriction - Tax credit begins to phase out if modified adjusted gross income is over $75,000 (or $150,000 for joint filers). No tax credit at all if modified adjusted gross income is over $95,000 (or $170,000 for joint filers).

Date of Purchase - January 1, 2009 to November 30, 2009, inclusive. (Note: A repayable $7,500 tax credit is available for purchases from April 9, 2008 to December 31, 2008.)

Refundable - Any amount of the tax credit not used to reduce the tax owed may be added to the taxpayer’s tax refund check.

Repayment - The buyer need not repay the tax credit if the buyer owns and occupies the property for at least 36 months after the purchase.

Multiple Buyers (not married to each other) - The $8,000 tax credit may be allocated between eligible taxpayers in any reasonable manner.

When to Claim - Full tax credit may be claimed on 2008 or 2009 tax returns.

How to File - (IRS Form 5405) to be filed with 2008 or 2009 tax returns

When to File Form - Form 5405 must be filed with 2008 or 2009 tax returns.

Exceptions - Acquisitions by gift or inheritance, acquisitions from related persons as defined, and buyers who are nonresident aliens.

For more information go to IRS website

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HOPE NOW Trying To Offer More Hope

HOPE NOW, the government organization designed to offer homeowners foreclosure prevention assistance, has been up and running for about six months. But there have been growing pains. Many complained that the organization was not prepared to handle the number of requests for assistance, and hope turned to frustration for many seeking help.

But now their newly designed website is much more efficient. Troubled borrowers now can apply online for help, and a confirmation that the application process has been started is promised within five to seven business days of submission. Borrower may also call the HOPE NOW hot line, (888) 995-4673.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Foreclosure Help Coming to a Theater Near You!

The Federal Reserve will start showing ads at movie theaters in 14 cities with high foreclosure rates. The ads are meant to try and warn people about foreclosure scam artists.

The 30 second ads open by asking “Are you facing foreclosure?". It stresses that “it shouldn’t hurt to get help!” and ends with foreclosure tips.

"Everyone goes to the movies at some point," says Sandra Braunstein, director of the Fed's Division of Consumer and Community Affairs "The more attention we can put on this, the more consumers can protect themselves from scam artists."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Homeowners Should Be Aware of Asbestos Hazards

Submitted by www.mesothelioma.com

As a new homeowner or potential seller, it is not likely that you are acquainted with the inner materials of a home. However, most buyers seek an updated home inspection before closing on a new property. It is important to reassure buyers that the home is safe and does not contain any potential health hazards. These inspections are critical to clearing hurdles down the road that may slow the sale of property.

One of the most common surprises new homeowners and sellers confront is asbestos in older structures. Indeed, asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are now banned for use in the United States but many older buildings still contain these products, which are generally safe, but homeowners should be aware of where they are and when they become hazardous.

Asbestos was included in thousands of construction products and still exists in nearly 80% of homes built prior to 1978. Common asbestos materials include attic insulation, ceiling tiles, and pipe lining. Asbestos was particularly adept at insulation and prevention of temperature transfer and was used extensively until adverse health effects began to manifest in those who worked with the material frequently.

It is only when asbestos containing materials are compromised or very old that they become hazardous. Asbestos products under these conditions are rendered “friable.” Home inspection companies should be able to identify these circumstances and advise you on a course of action. When asbestos material is friable, asbestos fibers can be released into the air, potentially endangering those in the area.

Inhaled asbestos fibers lodge in the body’s inner tissue and have been conclusively linked to the rare cancer, mesothelioma, commonly referred to as asbestos cancer, in addition to many other respiratory disorders. There are few options for mesothelioma treatment or curative therapies for other conditions caused by sustained asbestos exposures. Homeowners need to be aware of potential hazards that may exist so they may be able to avoid potentially harmful effects of hazardous asbestos.

Again, most asbestos containing materials will not pose an immediate hazard and an informed buyer will not be turned off by their presence if they’re reassured of their safety by a professional opinion. These simple precautions can be taken to assure that both sides know that they and their families will be happy and healthy in their new home.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Free Mortgage Insurance from Ca Assoc of Realtors!

LOS ANGELES (April 2) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) today launched the C.A.R. Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program (C.A.R.H.A.F. MPP) for first-time home buyers.

Through the Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program, first-time home buyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per month, for six months, to help make their mortgage payments. A qualified co-buyer also can participate in the program, and receive a monthly benefit of $750 per month for up to six months. Program benefits also include coverage for accidental disability and a $10,000 death benefit.

C.A.R.’s Housing Affordability Fund is dedicating $1 million toward its Mortgage Protection Program, and estimates that as many as 3,000 families will benefit from the program this year.

“The Mortgage Protection Program was developed to help ease the anxiety of consumers who are concerned about potential job loss and its impact on their ability to pay their mortgage should they purchase a home,” said C.A.R. President James Liptak. “It also provides peace of mind to those buyers who are actively searching for a home.”

To qualify for the Mortgage Protection Program, applicants must:

Be a first-time home buyer – someone who has not owned a home in three or more years.

Open escrow April 2, 2009, or later, and close on or before Dec. 31, 2009.

Use a California REALTOR® in the transaction.

Purchase the property in California.

Be a W-2 employee (cannot be self-employed)

To apply for the program, home buyers must request an application for the H.A.F. Mortgage Protection Program from their REALTOR®.

Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly 180,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Housing Affordability Fund (H.A.F.) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to addressing California’s housing crisis . It receives donations primarily from REALTOR® members and REALTOR® associations committed to addressing the housing problem in California. H.A.F. raises and distributes funds and partners with other groups to promote housing and homeownership and address housing opportunities locally and statewide.