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Archive for the ‘Helpful Real Estate Articles’ Category

Simultaneous closingCustomer Don P. wrote to us recently about a predicament he was in.  Don was in the not uncommon position of having scheduled the closings for the sale of his current home and the purchase of his new home on the same day.  Sounds scary, right?  Don needed the funds from his sale to use toward his purchase; and since the closings were scheduled on the same day, he was rightfully concerned about how to get his cash from us to the company handling the purchase.  Here’s what we did for Don and some advice for those of you who may be faced with the same issue.

In Don’s case, we did the following to ensure that his funds could make it to the other title company:

  • Yelped!  We always yelp a little when we receive contracts that refer to another contract that’s closing on the same day.  Can you blame us?
  • Prayed for a cash buyer for Don’s property.  Having a cash buyer significantly reduces the stress related to waiting for loan documents, the lender’s wire and their funding authorization.
  • Scheduled Don’s closing as early as possible.
  • Secured wiring instructions for the other title company.
  • Got Don’s signed authorization for us to send a portion of his proceeds to the other title company.
  • Requested and received a final HUD-1 settlement statement from the other title company so that we could send the exact amount required for Don’s purchase.
  • Called the other title company to confirm that we had sent Don’s funds to them via wire transfer.

Don’s deals luckily went like clockwork.  Unfortunately, they don’t always work out like that.  Here are a few pointers if you are stuck having to close a sale and a purchase on the same day:

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Mortgage Debt Relief Act Expiration

Posted by Chris On January 2

What About the Tax Break for Short Sellers?

Mortgage Debt forgivenessIn a clear indication of where our market is today compared to where it has been over the last few years, there has been an eerie quietude regarding the expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act.  Indeed, neither NAR’s nor Florida REALTORS® sites are treating this as front page news.

With short sales comprising a much smaller portion of our market, this treatment is somewhat understandable.  But you ought to be aware of what is happening in Congress and how it may affect your clients’ interest in short selling their property.

You will recall that the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 exempted from taxation certain types of cancelled debt.  Ordinarily, cancelled debt is treated as income by the federal tax code.  Under the Act someone who closed a short sale in 2013, for example, and whose lender cancelled the deficiency balance (i.e., the difference between the total owed and what the lender netted from the sale), might have been able to avoid having to pay income tax on that deficiency balance.

The Act was a boon to many who have successfully closed short sales or who have received principal reductions over the last handful of years; and the Act provided a much needed boost to the real estate industry by smoothing the way for more of those deals to close.

The Act officially expired yesterday, January 1, 2014, after which short sellers must carefully consider the tax implications of their potential cancelled debt.  There are efforts afoot in Congress to extend the Act and to do so retroactively.  According to a HousingWire.com article, “the extension has strong bipartisan support”, which is not surprising and which should breed some hope in the minds of distressed homeowners.

Unfortunately, though, there is no guarantee that the provision will be extended retroactively.

So what do we do in the meantime?

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I caught a local realtor’s Facebook post a week ago and it reminded me of what we find is one of the major issues with joint ventures (JVs) and affiliated business arrangements (AfBAs) in the title and real estate industry.

Here is the post in question.

The problem with Affiliated business arrangements and Joint Ventures in Real Estate

Chris asks the right question and the answer is simple.  The only plausible way that this abysmal quality may exist is within a JV or AfBA.  Let’s look at why.

Affiliated business arrangements don’t have to compete

In the title industry, JVs/AfBAs are typically companies owned by developers, builders, real estate brokers or lenders.  JVs allow those parties to capture another stream of revenue related to their primary businesses.

With the proper disclosures and as long as they meet certain requirements, JVs operate legally under federal and state laws.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that because of the nature of how JVs/AfBAs get their business, they are not products of the open market and do not have to operate as such.

Most JVs don’t have to compete for their business.  In Chris’ example, the builder/developer likely owns the title company and incentivizes the use of that company for each new construction sale.

It gets business whether it has earned it or competed for it or not.  Because a JV isn’t forced to compete for its business, it is not likely to have the qualities of a company that has been borne from competition.

The JV will not have had to innovate; invest in technology; invest in its staff, whether through hiring experienced professionals or through training and improvement; maintain distinctively extraordinary levels of service; nor create exceptional experiences for the real estate professionals and consumers it serves.

It will, as Chris related in her post, not have to care that their “closer” can’t explain the settlement statement.  The title company is still going to get the business!

I don’t begrudge the attempt to capture additional streams of revenue.  But I absolutely begrudge the attempt if it negatively affects the experiences which real estate professionals and consumers deserve.  So what can we do?

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Your Loan was transferred from Bank of America…Now what?

Posted by Jillian Dohack On August 14

Bank of America (Photo Courtesy of Flickr User MoneyBlogNewz)

It is very common that a servicing transfer may occur at any time during the short sale process, especially with many Bank of America loans. Bank of America services mortgage loans for hundreds of investors.

As a part of normal servicing, investors may decide to release or transfer servicing from Bank of America to another company. The transfer of loan servicing is a common practice across the industry, and occurs for a variety of reasons.

At certain times investors choose to partner with other servicing companies to help meet the needs of the investor. Servicing may be transferred on first, second or stand-alone liens. You should contact the new servicer to determine what steps need to be taken to continue with the short sale.

Some key activities that may occur during servicing transfer:

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Point Click and Sell by Bridget McCrea

Photo courtesy of FloridaRealtors.org. All Rights Reserved

As an agent you know the importance of good quality pictures of the homes you are trying to sell. However, every once in a while you are out and about and see a home that would be perfect for a client of yours, but you realize you do not have your camera with you.

No worries! As long as you have your phone you can still snap some great photos to share.  Being armed with just your smartphone actually gives you the ability to quickly show case a listing or highlight a special property for a client.

July’s Florida Realtor Magazine has an article on Smartphones and Tablet Pictures that was written by Bridget McCrea. The article: Point, Click & Sell was all about creating a great visual presentation for your clients with smartphones.

Lani Rosales, chief operating officer and editor in chief at AGBeat and one of the Inman News’ 100 Most influential Real Estate Leaders in 2013 states

“The Evolution of the Web has morphed from the importance of text to the importance of visual storytelling. Because consumers are ingesting materials via visual means, being able to tell a story of a home through pictures is crucial.”

After reading this article I have listed a few of my favorite tips for taking better pictures with your smartphone that I think could be beneficial to all Real Estate Agents as it can save you time and money.

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10 Magic Marketing Moves

Posted by Jillian Dohack On July 3
10 Magic Marketing Moves

Photo property of Florida Realtor Magazine. All rights Reserved.

In a recent blog post I shared my excitement with the June addition of Florida Realtor Magazine. There were so many articles that gave me so many Ah Ha moments and ideas that I wanted to share with you.

The article was called “10 Magic Marketing Moves”.  Zan Monroe who is a motivational speaker, author and real estate professional in North Carolina, shares his 10 action steps for successful personal marketing.

For those of you who are attending the 2013 Florida Realtor Convention and Trade Expo in August in Orlando, Zan will be presenting at three educational sessions. Winged Foot Title will have a booth again this year and Chris Black, attorney and owner will be speaking as well.

Here are Zan Monroe’s 10 action Steps for successful personal marketing:

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NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This information is not to be construed as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is up-to-date as of the date of publication. It is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area. This information is not intended as legal advice and may not be used as legal advice. It should not be used to replace the advice of your own legal counsel.

Winged Foot Tite, LLC is not associated with the government, and our [short sale orchestration] service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.