LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label Short Sale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Short Sale. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus & Foreclosure: It's about to get real



With quarantine, foreclosures are next.

We are heading for a recession and possibly a depression the likes of which we haven't seen before.

Jobs are going to be lost, tenants aren't going to pay rent, mortgage payments are going to be missed and banks will have no choice but to start to pursue foreclosure.

If you are currently in a foreclosure proceeding, you should know that the courts have just rescheduled (adjourned) all foreclosure settlement conferences (CPLR 3408) for at least 45 days while they work on new orders and directives for the process.

This is going to be a mess.

If you are concerned about your mortgage, you need to act immediately and negotiate a forbearance (i.e., banks often agree to refrain from pursuing a foreclosure for a period of time for no or reduced payments) with a lender before going into default.

Get ready - the next foreclosure crisis is here.


Friday, January 10, 2020

New Law: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Extended to 1/1/2021

On December 20, 2019, Public Law No: 116-94 extended 26 USC 108(a)(1)(E) to 1/1/2021. 

According to the IRS, this law "allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualify for this relief."

Short sales, modifications with debt forgiveness, and deeds in lieu of foreclosure are now viable options for many more distressed homeowners for the remainder of 2020.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Attention Brokers - What should you do if your prospective seller has a Lis Pendens on their property with public records?

Most importantly, a Lis Pendens does not necessarily mean that there is a foreclosure on the property. Instead, a Lis Pendens simply means that a lawsuit has been filed against the property. This lawsuit could be a foreclosure, but it could also be a lawsuit for partition, adverse possession, prescriptive easement, constructive trust, specific performance, as well as many other topics.

So, first and foremost don't assume that there is a foreclosure on the property, but instead make inquiry as to the Lis Pendens.

  • Step 1 - Ask the homeowner the nature of the lawsuit on the property.
  • Step 2 - Inquire if you can talk to the homeowner's attorney to learn whether the lawsuit will be an impediment to selling the property (e.g., a specific performance lawsuit by a prior purchaser can make it impossible to sell the house whereas a foreclosure lawsuit with a house with equity remains a viable sale and a foreclosure lawsuit with a house without equity can be sold as a short sale).
  • Step 3 - Assuming the lawsuit is a foreclosure, determine when the lawsuit was filed with the county clerk because if it was years ago its going to be very hard to sell the house before the auction (i.e., you can sell up until the auction as long as the seller can payoff the loan or if the lender takes a short payoff) and the homeowner likely defaulted on the lawsuit (i.e., they lost for inaction).
  • Step 4 - If it is a foreclosure, help the homeowner to order payoff letters from their lenders in order to ascertain the precise amount owed (i.e., its not just the loan, but also the penalties, interest and attorneys' fees that are owed when the property is in foreclosure).  
  • Step 5 - Workup a brokers' price opinion for the house as a distressed sale.
  • Step 6 - Calculate closing costs for your seller.
  • Step 7 - Determine if the seller has enough equity to close without dipping into their own pocketbook (i.e., compare the BPO with the payoffs and the closing costs). 
  • Step 8 - If there is enough equity, list the house fast; if not, advise the seller that you can only list the property as a short sale (i.e., subject to bank approval with a short payoff).
REMEMBER - the bank doesn't stop the foreclosure process when a short sale is being sought, so you must insist that your listing is subject to the seller fighting the foreclosure with a competent foreclosure defense attorney - otherwise you will likely waste your time / money on this listing.

The advantage of a short sale over a foreclosure is #1 avoiding a deficiency judgment (i.e., judgment that can be enforced for 20 years for the amount the property is underwater). 

To learn about foreclosure / short sales / Lis Pendens and more - take our CE course, Foreclosure & Short Sales ONLINE.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Income Tax Relief after a Short Sale for 2015 & 2016

The President has extended the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through the end of 2016 by signing Congress’ Spending Bill into law. As a result, the amount of money from a mortgage loan that is forgiven incident to a short sale, foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure will not be taxable as income.

In the last week of 2014, the extension was passed and then applied to all transactions that occurred in 2014, retroactively. Homeowners closed transactions assuming that they were paying income tax on the forgiven debt. As a result, homeowners elected not to pursue a short sale or deed-in-lieu when it turned out to be their best strategic option.

Now that the law proactively extends throughout 2016, homeowners in financial distress can list their homes for short sale, or work out a deed-in-lieu with their lender, without the fear of being hit with a severe income tax bill.

Another important provision of the Spending Bill, beyond the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act extension, concerns mortgage insurance premiums, which are required for mortgage loans that exceed 80% of the purchase price of a home (and is required to be paid until the loan balance goes below 80% of the purchase price). Pursuant to the new law, premium payments can now be deducted from borrower’s income tax, in the same manner as mortgage interest, through 2016. This will continue to encourage homeowners who may not have the funds for a 20% deposit to still be able to purchase a home. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) has been formally extended 1 year

The Making Home Affordable Program (MHA), has been formally extended 1 year, through December 31, 2016, by Supplemental Directive 15-04. The program has been widely successful in providing affordable alternatives to foreclosure for millions of homeowners nationwide, and the extension through 2016 will provide relief to the millions more who will be in danger of falling behind on their mortgages in the next year.

This extension applies only to mortgages that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and for applications that are submitted to the Lender on or before December 31, 2016. Though it is not necessary to have a decision on the application for a loan modification, short sale, or deed-in-lieu by the end of 2016 to be eligible under the MHA program, the transaction must close on or before September 30, 2017 if the borrower would like to receive incentive compensation, such as relocation assistance, payments for successfully completing a short sale or deed-in-lieu, or payments for making timely loan modification payments. Since the amount of relocation assistance that Lenders must offer has increased from $3,000 to $10,000 for all HAFA (short sales & deeds-in-lieu) transactions closing on or after February 1, 2015, borrowers must be mindful of the deadlines so that they may be eligible to receive this increased amount to assist them in moving costs.

This Directive also amends the MHA guidebook to allow servicers to establish a cap on the amount that they will pay to release the second mortgage liens, as long as the cap is not less than $12,000. It establishes a floor amount that borrowers may receive from their primary mortgage lenders to assist them in closing on their short sales or deeds-in-lieu.


These amendments ensure that borrowers will continue to have access to adequate relief through the MHA program.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good Faith Decisions on Short Sales - Updates Coming 12/1/2014

Effective December 1, 2014, the Courts of the State of New York will oversee negotiations between lenders and borrowers to achieve a short sale or deed-in-lieu within foreclosure settlement conferences. The Courts are empowered to sanction parties who negotiate in bad faith.

Previously, borrowers were only allowed to attend the conferences to discuss workout options, such as loan modifications and payment plans, which would allow borrowers to keep their homes. If borrowers were denied loan modifications, their cases would be released from the settlement conference part, and they would be forced to do short sales or deeds-in-lieu on their own without court intervention or oversight. Oftentimes, these exit strategies took a very long time because many borrowers with second mortgages had difficulties settling their second mortgages or were unable to keep up with the lender’s numerous and complicated document requests. Many borrowers simply gave up and allowed their properties to go to foreclosure rather than spend thousands of dollars on legal fees for help with a short sale that was never going to be approved.

Now, with court oversight, it is anticipated that lenders will now be making quicker decisions on short sale and deed-in-lieu applications within the State of New York, and there should be fewer foreclosures overall. The court referees will set deadlines for the submission and review of short sale and deed-in-lieu applications and will ensure that the borrower is complying with the lender’s document requests and that the lender is properly reviewing the applications.

Despite this new rule, it is likely that short sales will continue to decline because the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expired at the end of 2013. Under this Act, borrowers were not required to pay income tax on cancelled mortgage debt as a result of loan modifications, short sales, or deeds-in-lieu. Now that it has expired, borrowers who choose to do short sales may be hit with large tax bills after they sell their properties for less than what is owed on the mortgage. Therefore, even though the short sale and deed-in-lieu application process will be quicker with court oversight, borrowers may still choose to not move forward with these exit strategies because they cannot afford the taxes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Foreclosure Activity is Down Nationwide

Nationwide foreclosure activity is at its lowest point since 2007. The amount of auctions, defaults, and repossessions have substantially decreased across the country. Only 17% of all mortgaged homes are seriously underwater as opposed to 29% in 2012, and negative equity is down overall.

It is anticipated that we will also start to see a decline in short sales in 2014 due to two major reasons:

a. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act has not been passed for 2014. This means that borrowers are liable for the income tax on the forgiven debt in a short sale. In many cases, this kind of tax bill is too high and the borrower must default on his or her tax bill. The IRS can subsequently garnish wages, freeze bank accounts, and place liens on assets without having to first obtain a judgment. Many borrowers are unwilling to put themselves in such a position and would rather let the property go to foreclosure than to have the IRS go after them for money they do not have.

b. Lenders are less likely to approve short sales today because they know they can successfully sell the properties at auction or as an REO (bank-owned property) at a higher price because fair market value for real estate is on the increase.


Please note that the total amount of foreclosures (percentage of units by area) in Suffolk County is higher than the national average and the New York State average, and the amount of Suffolk County homes in pre-foreclosure is on the rise. Overall, however, foreclosure auctions are down in Suffolk County just as the rest of the nation. Keep this in mind, brokers, as you navigate the real estate in Suffolk County.