Monday, June 4, 2012

Time to get involve.

This message is from Laurus Title

It's only June, but it is an election year. There are a number of issues outstanding that will require some input from you, the voters. NOW is the time to start being more politically active if you want to achieve your goals in the future.

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 is set to expire at the end of the year. To help assure that it is extended and homeowners get continued relief from the burden of taxes on the forgiven debt amount, reach out to your representatives and let them know that it is important that this vital act be extended.

Send a letter, email, telegram or call their local offices and let them know that the extension of The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 is important to you and to them, if they are seeking reelection!

Be involved!


Short Sale Tax Savings

An increasing number of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage are selling their homes by short sale, and that could become an even more popular option during the rest of the year.

That's partly because of a law set to expire at the end of 2012
that offers tax relief for homeowners who sold their home in a
short sale or have had some other sort of mortgage debt forgiven
or canceled, such as in a foreclosure or modification that
included principal reduction.

While there are efforts in Washington to extend these tax benefits,

it's hard to guess whether they'll be renewed. The current savings for

taxpayers is significant.

Say a homeowner took out a $200,000 mortgage on a
home, and subsequently became underwater by about 20%, or
$40,000, during the housing downturn. Without the current tax
law, if the bank forgives that amount the borrower is
underwater, such as through a short sale, they'd be subject to
pay taxes on that forgiven amount, since the Internal Revenue
Service regards it as income. So for someone in the 25% tax
bracket, forgiveness of $40,000 would mean a $10,000 tax bill at
the end of the year, says Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax
analyst for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business and a provider of
tax, accounting and audit information, software and services.

To help taxpayers during the housing bust, Congress passed the
Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, removing that tax burden. For
taxpayers, up to $2 million of forgiven debt (or $1 million for
those married filing separately) is eligible for the exclusion,
according to

The law has been renewed once already, Trade groups such as the

National Association of Realtors are currently lobbying for the relief

to be extended once more. But eventually this law is expected to expire.

It's just a matter of when: "This one is probably going to sunset at
some point. It's a question of whether Congress thinks this is
the right time or not," Luscombe said.

It's also worth pointing out that taxpayers in so-called "non-recourse"

states may be protected from having to pay these taxes even when the law
expires, he pointed out.

Homeowners would be best served by seeking out the advice of a tax specialist

for help in their local area.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

According to RealtyTrac

Homes in some stage of foreclosure accounted for more than one in four home sales during the first three months of the year, according to a report released Thursday.

Distressed properties that were either in default, scheduled for auction or bank-owned accounted for 26% of all residential sales during the first quarter, up from 22% in the previous quarter and 25% a year earlier, RealtyTrac said.

Altogether, 233,299 distressed properties were purchased during the quarter, an 8% increase from the previous quarter. Those homes sold for an average of $161,214, 27% below the average price of a home not in foreclosure.

"Foreclosure-related sales picked up in the first quarter, particularly pre-foreclosure sales where a distressed homeowner is selling to avoid foreclosure -- typically via a short sale," Brandon Moore, chief executive of RealtyTrac said in a statement.

The rich walk away: Million-dollar foreclosures

Pre-foreclosure sales, which are often sold as short sales, hit a three-year high during the quarter "even as the average pre-foreclosure sales price dropped to a record low," Moore said.

There were nearly 110,000 short sales in the quarter, up 25% from a year earlier and comprising 12% of all homes sold during the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

In short sales, borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, agree with their bank to sell their homes at the lower market value. In return, the bank agrees to absorb the loss.

During the quarter, homes sold in short sales went for an average price of $175,461, the lowest level since RealtyTrac began tracking foreclosures in 2005.

Short sales are becoming the preferred method for banks to unload properties in default.

Banks typically get about 20% more for a short sale than they would for a foreclosed home. In addition, short sale deals get done much more quickly than foreclosures, which can take years to unload, during which expenses, like property taxes and insurance, mount up.

During the first quarter, it took an average of 306 days to complete a short sale, compared to 370 days for a foreclosure.

"Lenders are approving more aggressively priced short sales, which in turn is resulting in more successful short sale transactions," Moore said.

Meanwhile, sales of properties repossessed by the banks, called REOs, fell 15% year-over-year to 123,778, comprising 14% of all sales during the quarter.

Nevada, where housing bubbled during the boom and sank during the bust, had more distressed property sales than any other state, followed by California and Georgia, RealtyTrac said.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Current Opportunities In Real Estate

Real Estate Matters
Interinvestments Realty® bi-weekly newsletter
Newsletter dated: 5/24/12.
Editor: Melly Guasch

Current Opportunities in Real Estate: All economic indicators are showing that now is the best time to buy a real estate property.

Let’s review the facts: The lowest home prices recorded in the last 12 years, interest rates near an all-time low, and inventory starting to deplete, the moment to buy is now. Yet with all these encouraging signs, why are so many buyers sitting on the sidelines? What are they waiting for? Why aren’t they acting swiftly? Procrastination is usually the culprit. Procrastination is “the opportunity assassin.” “Someday,” actually is not a day of the week… we all have procrastinated and have paid dearly for our lack of action.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you don’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”-Mark Twain.

Smart Choices:

Real estate transactions can become real winners or real losers. It can be a smart move, but only when you make the right choices.

1.Use an attorney. No matter what type of investment you buy, always use an attorney when purchasing a property. Attorneys will investigate liens, title, back taxes and other encumbrances that could jeopardize the future value of your investments, and will indicate you how are the best way to take title.

2.Run the numbers. Don’t assume that the property will always have a tenant. Investigate the vacancy rate in the area and apply it accordingly. Don’t assume either that your tenant will pay rent timely; consider loss of money for eventualities. If you don’t have sufficient reserves to cover the mortgage payment for a 3-4 month period, you might be stretching yourself too thin. Always consult your C.P.A. regarding the property’s revenue projections and tax implications.

3.Consider the neighborhood. Location is the most important factor when investing in real estate. If the neighborhood has been changing for the better, investing can be a smart move; but if the neighborhood is in decline, the potential for appreciation is very slim.

4.Select a real estate company/agent that specializes in your area and the type of property that you’re buying. Ask your agent to provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the subject property. If the property is an investment property your agent should provide you with the property’s analysis and you should review the different rates of return, before determining your offering price.

5.Always secure the services of an inspection company and conduct all the necessary inspections to assure that your purchase is worthy.

6.If you’re buying a condo or a property within a homeowner association, familiarize yourself with the association documentation and regulations. Read the documents within the due diligence time allowed by the contract.

7.Shop-around in order to select the best lender, but always comply timely with the contract deadlines.

8.When buying new construction, select a Realtor® that specializes in this sector, like Interinvestments Realty®. We will guide you to the most reputable Builders and best current deals. Always investigate the Builder, visiting their previous developments and asking previous homeowners.

9.Write the contract subject to appraisal, especially if it’s a cash-deal.

10.If you are not familiar with the area where the property is located, you must investigate further. SMSA (Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area) data will give you, area population trends, housing market information, income levels of area residents, traffic counts on major highways, location and size of shopping centers, etc. You can also get this information from the local zoning board and/or Chamber of Commerce.

(Editor’s note: Any type of real estate can be considered an investment property, including residential homes. What determines that a property be considered an investment is the final use that the owner gives to the real property).


Fannie Mae’s latest Quarterly National Survey focused on the homeownership aspirations of Americans. Despite the housing crisis, most Americans continue to believe that homeownership is better than renting. Fannie Mae’s data indicates that financial and employment concerns may keep potential homeowners on the sidelines, but that can change if employment picks-up and the economy grows stronger. Stabilizing home prices may entice Americans to buy a home in the coming years.

Other survey findings:
•70% of renters think owning a home makes more sense.
•Across of all education levels and across all demographic groups, Americans say owning makes more sense than renting.
•Non-financial factors, such as safety and quality of local schools are top reasons for buying a home.
•African-Americans and Hispanics cite the benefit of homeownership as a way to build wealth, and a symbol of success.
•Groups with higher levels of education and higher incomes are more likely to think that buying a home is a safe investment.

The Florida Association of Realtors® reported on April 4, 2012:

Will housing prices soar by 2014?

Real estate economists and analysts are increasingly optimistic that the housing market will have a dramatic recovery in the next two years. According to results of a new semi-annual survey of 38 real estate economists and analysts conducted by the Urban Land Institute Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate.

The economists predict that the national average for home prices will stop falling by this year and a consequent turnaround will occur. By the next year, they projected that homes prices will begin to rise by 2%, and then get a larger boost of 3.5% by 2014. The economists also predict that housing starts will nearly double by next year. They also foresee rental prices continuing to increase for all property types, ranging from 0.8% to 5%.

The economists’ predictions were based on the assumption that the economy would continue to strengthen including a larger drop in unemployment. “While geopolitical and global economic events could change the forecast going forward, what we see in this survey is confidence that the U.S. real estate economy has weathered the brunt of the recent financial storm and is poised for a significant improvement over the next three years,” says Patrick L Phillips, ULI chief executive officer. “These results hold much promise for the real estate industry.”

Realtors® Corner:

The Miami Association of Realtors® reported on March 28, 2012:

The total number of residential listings in Miami-Dade County that pended in February rose 29% compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors®. There were 3,685 listings that pended last month. “Despite the significant decline of housing inventory in the Miami real estate market, we continue to see rising demand,” said Martha Pomares 2012 Chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors®. “Rising pending sales point to increased future demand locally, as Miami continues to attract U.S. migration, in addition to substantial international buyers and investors and second and vacation homebuyers.” The February totals represented an increase of 14% compared to January 2012.

(Editor’s note: Pending sales are properties that are under contract, but haven’t close yet).

Recent sales- How does your home compare?

Balmoral at Doral

11268 NW 43rd Terrace, Miami, FL 33178
4 bed 3 bath, 2,500 sqft
Sold $450,000 Closed in May 2012
Selling agent: Helen Cecol, Interinvestments Realty

Vizcayne – Downtown Miami
253 NE 2nd Avenue #334, Miami, FL 33132

Studio 563 sqft

Sold $219,900 Closed in May 2012

Selling agent: Melanie Rutkin, Interinvestments Realty

1111 SW 1st Avenue #1025 N, Miami, FL 33130

2/2 Condo, City view, 1,174 sqft
Sold $307,000 Closed in May 2012
Selling agent: Alicia Ramirez / Cecilia Zurraco, Interinvestments Realty

Interinvestments Realty® Headquarters:

730 NW 107th Ave., Suite #120

Miami, Fl., 33172

Broward Branch:

2806 Weston Road

Weston, Fl. 33301.

Telephone: (954) 330-9786

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From The Desk Of Bob Mittleman



There is going to be confusion about what this actually says and what people think it says, and it does say a few different things!

This is not a blanket program that will pay a relocation benefit to every seller. The final determinations have not yet been made. This program is based upon the recent AG Settlement with Lenders and only covers Loans that OWNED and SERVICED by BoA.

GSE (Fannie and Freddie) and other securitized Loans that are serviced by BoA do NOT qualify for this incentive.

As presented here, this program is aimed at Pre-Approved Short Sales, (also know as conditional short sales) which means that there is no contract submitted with the Short Sale Package. Notice that there is a phase that says in process Short Sales MAY also qualify. Operative word here is MAY.

Ergo, the potential for confusion not only exists, but is highly likely.

Be advised that the history of pre approved short sales has been less than satisfactory so far by most accounts and many Realtors have been dissatisfied with the values assigned to the properties as well as the inability to bring in purchase contracts at those price points. Not to say this program isn't going to be beneficial, but you need to have clarity on what it really is and if it applies to a particular transaction before sellers develop expectations that MAY not exist in their situation.

Check out this link to for some interesting information on this topic, in general. they are an excellent source.

BofA to pay homeowners more for short sales

Bank of America launched a new short sale program that could pay distressed homeowners between $2,500 and $30,000 in relocation assistance.

Over the last two years, the bank completed roughly 200,000 short sales. For the first three months of this year, it completed 30,000. As new servicing requirements and corrections lengthened the foreclosure process over the last two years, short sales have taken a greater share of the market. In some areas, short sales have surpassed REO transactions as a percentage of the market.

The new program with BofA requires a borrower to work with the bank to obtain a preapproved sales price before submitting a purchase offer. To qualify for the program, a short sale offer must be submitted by the end of 2012 and close by Sept. 26, 2013.

BofA said short sales already started may be eligible.

"This program can help customers make a planned transition from ownership when home retention options have been exhausted or they have made a decision not to keep the home," said Bob Hora, executive of home transition services for BofA.

The program will be offered for mortgages owned and serviced by the bank. The amount of relocation assistance provided will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The program will be offered for mortgages owned and serviced by the bank. The amount of relocation assistance provided will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Short Sale Processing

Transactional Funding

Mentoring / Education / Consulting

Transactional Analytics / Transaction Management

Providing Title, Escrow and Settlement Services Nation Wide

Let Laurus Title be your 'One Stop Shop' for Short Sale Transactions

Call 330-468-0050 for the details of how

OUR services can improve YOUR business!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

For Active Home Hunters and Sellers

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Life is all about choices, and making the best choices often means soliciting the assistance of a professional who can educate and guide us down the right path.

This is particularly true when it comes to real estate transactions, which have become much more complicated than in years past when a handshake and a gentlemen's agreement were enough to make a sale.

My five years of experience as a professional REALTOR® who is dedicated to producing the best results for my clients makes me the perfect choice to be your Realtor®. Selecting me to represent you means that you will receive a level of service and dedication that far exceeds your expectations.

As your REALTOR® you have my guarantee that I:

Will go the extra mile to help you reach your objectives

Will be uncompromising in pursuing your best options

Will be available through the entire process and beyond

Will produce results in a timely, organized, efficient manner

Will keep you advised at every turn

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