New Year New Home

A new year is almost here and the housing market seems to be
stabilizing finally, rates are low and I just know it’s going to be an
awesome time to buy!
We here at M.J & Associates are ready to help
you find that dream home.
Don’t wait give us a call or send us an
email today!

First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Ends December 1st!

Despite the doors it can open for first-time buyers, many consumers still don’t know about the $8,000 tax credit. The first-time home buyer tax credit, which Congress in February increased to $8,000 from $7,500 and eliminated the repayment requirement, is an incentive you’d expect consumers to be clamoring about. But many buyers who are prime candidates for the credit aren’t even aware of it! A tax credit of up to $8,000 is available for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. Frequently Asked Questions About the Home Buyer Tax Credit are at the following link;

$8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The tax credit is for first-time home buyers only.
For the tax credit program, the IRS defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a
maximum of $8,000.
The credit is available for homes purchased on or
after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and
married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.
More Information:
First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Expanded Tax Break Available for 2009 First-Time Homebuyers

Helping Hand or Crazy?

Well, we spent last week not only trying to keep a deal together on a short sale but also actually getting dirty and sweaty moving a sellers belongings out of her house and into her storage units. Sometimes I think I am losing my mind! It’s one thing to go above and beyond the job description but to not even be appreciated for doing it, never mind compensated, but then also have the deal fall apart because the buyer just decides to walk away for no reasonable reason, she has obviously changed her mind and found another house she must like better, is just crazy! Of course the good thing is that the buyer is now out and settled into her new place and would not have been so if we did not move her and thank god for a father and son team that helped us, without them we would have never made our deadline! There are such good people around us and then there are the ones who are either crazy or just have no regard for anyone but themselves and we can only decide which one we want to be known as and run with it. In the end you might still be talked about and someone else may look at the situation a different way than you see it, but inside you know who you are and why you did what you did and if you are true to yourself and have compassion for others you wont have anything to worry about. I would rather do what I feel is right in my heart than do nothing. I just really dont like working for free!

Show Me the NOTE…….

Homeowners’ rallying cry: Produce the note
By MITCH STACY – 19 hours ago
ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) — Kathy Lovelace lost her job and was about to lose her house, too. But then she made a seemingly simple request of the bank: Show me the original mortgage paperwork.
And just like that, the foreclosure proceedings came to a standstill.
Lovelace and other homeowners around the country are managing to stave off foreclosure by employing a strategy that goes to the heart of the whole nationwide mess.
During the real estate frenzy of the past decade, mortgages were sold and resold, bundled into securities and peddled to investors. In many cases, the original note signed by the homeowner was lost, stored away in a distant warehouse or destroyed.
Persuading a judge to compel production of hard-to-find or nonexistent documents can, at the very least, delay foreclosure, buying the homeowner some time and turning up the pressure on the lender to renegotiate the mortgage.
“I’m going to hang on for dear life until they can prove to me it belongs to them,” said Lovelace, a 50-year-old divorced mother who owns a $200,000 home in Zephyrhills, near Tampa. “I’ll try everything I can because it’s all I have left.”
In interviews with The Associated Press, lawyers, homeowners and advocates outlined the produce-the-note strategy. Exactly how many homeowners have employed it is unknown. Nor is it clear how successful it has been; some judges are more sympathetic than others.
More than 2.3 million homeowners faced foreclosure proceedings last year and millions more are in danger of losing their homes. On Wednesday, President Obama will unveil a plan to spend at least $50 billion to help homeowners fend off foreclosure.
Chris Hoyer, a Tampa lawyer whose Consumer Warning Network Web site offers the free court documents Lovelace used to file her request, has played a major role in promoting the produce-the-note strategy.
“We knew early on that the only relief that would ever come to people would be to the people who were in their houses,” Hoyer said. “Nobody was going to fashion any relief for people who have already lost their houses. So your only hope was to hang on any way you could.”
Tom Deutsch, deputy executive director of the American Securitization Forum, a group that represents banks, law firms and investors, dismissed the strategy as merely a stalling tactic, saying homeowners are “making lawyers jump through procedural hoops to delay what’s likely to be inevitable.”
Deutsch said the original note is almost always electronically retained and can eventually be found.
Judges are often willing to accept electronic documentation. And lenders are sometimes allowed to produce other paperwork to establish they are the holder of a loan. Still, assembling such documents to a judge’s satisfaction takes time, which to homeowners is the point.
Lovelace filed her produce-the-note demand last fall after the bank acknowledged that her original mortgage document had been lost or destroyed. Since then, there has been no activity on the foreclosure — no letters from the lender, no court filings.
The law firm handling the foreclosure for the lender refused to comment.
A University of Iowa study last year suggested that companies servicing mortgages are often negligent when it comes to producing the documentation to support foreclosure. In the study of more than 1,700 bankruptcy cases stemming from home foreclosures, the original note was missing more than 40 percent of the time, and other pieces of required documentation also were routinely left out.
The first big success of the produce-the-note movement came in 2007 when a federal judge in Cleveland threw out 14 foreclosures by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. because the bank failed to produce the original notes.
Michael Silver, a lawyer for two of the families in that case, said at least one eventually lost their home. Still, he considers that a success.
“From the perspective of the person who’s in the home, you may have kept them in the house another 10 or 12 months,” he said. “If I can get a result with economic benefits to a client, then I think I won.”
Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio endorsed the strategy in a fiery speech on the House floor during debate on the federal bank bailout last month.
“Don’t leave your home,” she said. “Because you know what? When those companies say they have your mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his or her finger on that mortgage, you don’t have that mortgage, and you are going to find they can’t find the paper up there on Wall Street.”
April Charney, head of foreclosure defense for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in Florida, said the strategy has been so successful for her that she now travels around the country to train other lawyers in how to use it. She said she has gotten cases delayed for years by demanding that lenders produce paperwork they cannot find.
“This is an army of lawyers getting out there to stop foreclosures so we can get to the serious business of creating solutions,” Charney said. “Nothing good is going to happen as long as we continue to bleed homeowners.”
On the Net:
Consumer Warning Network:
American Securitization Forum:
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Commission Thieves Strike Again!!!

Commission Thieves strike again!!
I guess “Setting a Standard” can mean many different things,
but integrity, honesty and ethic business practice are not the words that come to mind when I think of the real estae office who uses “Setting a Standard” as their motto!
Just a word of caution to local fellow realestate brokers,
even if you think you are friends with the co-broke office, and even if your purchase & sales agreement states the commission split.
This suggestion could save you thousands!
Some people might say they have “Standards” when they are just looking for the next scam to pull so they can steal someone elses hard earned money.
I am sure their Mother’s would be proud!
I guess they need the money more than I do!

Homestead filings on rise – Homestead act protects homes from creditors

By Alice C. Elwell
Posted Oct 27, 2008 @ 04:00 AM
The Plymouth county registrar of deeds says he’s been getting a lot more calls lately from people who want to protect their homes in case of a lawsuit or credit problems.
Last year, well over 1,000 people filed with the Plymouth county under the state’s homestead act, said John R. Buckley, Jr., the Plymouth County registrar of deeds.
Buckley said the homestead is a barrier against creditors forcing people out of their homes.
“We always tell people it’s one part of your estate planning.”
For $35, you can protect up to $500,000 in home equity, which would stave off unsecured creditors. The protection doesn’t extend to taxes, child support, prior judgments or mortgages, but a declaration of estate of homestead could keep the wolf at bay if you’ve overextended yourself on credit cards or fear a lawsuit.
“I did it,” said Jamie C. Stewart, a self-employed accountant who owns her own condominium in Halifax. “For short money, the homestead protects you from a lot of exposure.”
“You protect yourself from unfortunate circumstances if someone sued you,” Stewart said. She filed her own homestead years ago when the filing fee was only $10.
As a self-employed professional, Stewart wanted to protect herself from risk, and now she recommends it to everyone.
“I tell all my clients,” she said.
Pending legislation in the statehouse could give new homeowners an automatic $125,000 in homestead protection, according to William O’Donnell, Norfolk County registrar of deeds. But for now, it’s strictly voluntary.
The issue in filing a homestead is choosing whose name it will be recorded under, as the declaration can only be in one name. So when it comes to situations where there are more than one owner on the deed, Robert R. Pellegrini, Jr., a real estate attorney practicing in Bridgewater, advises his clients to weigh the risks of who is most likely to attract creditor’s attention.
“I use the rule whoever might have more to lose,” a call which he said couples usually can answer right away.
Pellegrini said those more at risk include business owners, someone who travels a great deal, someone with a “wacky sibling,” or a spouse who is significantly older than the other.
A person not listed on the homestead could potentially be attached, but Pellegrini said, “Practically speaking I don’t see that frequently.”
Buckley advises the homestead be filed under the name of the person most likely to be sued.
“The filing protects both parties, but only one name is allowed,” Buckley said. So it doesn’t make much difference who’s name is on the homestead, once a homestead is filed it also protects the spouse and any minor children that live in the home, Buckley said.
“A homestead allows people to continue to live in their homes, despite creditors trying to get access to it, but it doesn’t protect against foreclosure,” Buckley said.
In the case of a death or a divorce, homesteads are grandfathered until the property is sold, but Buckley advises the homeowner to file a new one to be on the safe side.
When it comes to refinancing, Buckley said it’s very complicated. Frequently there is language in a refinancing agreement that eliminates the previous homestead. “Look at the language and make sure it doesn’t take away the homestead right,” Buckley said, because some refinancing can remove the validity of a homestead.
With a homestead in place, Buckley said unsecured creditors can place a lien, but not force the sale of the home. Buckley said a lien expires after seven-years.
Also, if you sell your home, the equity is protected for up to a year until you put it toward a new home.
Mobile homes can also be protected with a homestead, but filing is a bit different. The protections is the same, but a different form is required, usually available at the local town clerk’s office. The homestead is filed with the town clerk, rather than the registry of deeds. In Middleboro Town Clerk Eileen S. Gates said she’s recorded about 300 homesteads on mobile homes, the bulk in Oak Point.
An added bonus for homes owned by couples comes with retirement. Both owners can file a homestead when they reach 65 years of age, and the protection increases to $1 million.


Now this sounds like something the government should make other banks do, work with their troubled loans to keep these people in their homes & stop all this craziness that the banks created!

Daily Real Estate News October 6, 2008
Bank of America Will Modify Troubled Loans
Bank of America on Monday said it is launching a “home retention program” on Dec. 1 to modify troubled mortgages for nearly 400,000 customers of Countrywide Financial Corp. Bank of America acquired Countrywide on July 1. The program, which can reduce up to $8.4 billion in interest payments and principal, was developed in partnership with state Attorneys General to help borrowers that financed their homes with subprime loans or adjustable rate mortgages. The goal is to “help as many Countrywide customers as possible stay in their homes,” says Barbara Desoer, president, Bank of America Mortgage, Home Equity and Insurance Services.The centerpiece of the program is a proactive loan modification process to provide relief to borrowers who are seriously delinquent or are likely to become seriously delinquent as a result of rate resets or payment recasts. For more information, visit Bank of America’s Web site. Source: Bank of America

Prices are probably as LOW as they are going to go

Daily Real Estate News September 9, 2008

Why This Autumn is a Great Time to Buy

This fall could be a particularly great time for first-time or buyers
long out of the market to jump in, say a variety of real estate professionals.

Here are the reasons why:

Prices are probably as low as they are going to go as the market stabilizes,
thanks to the government takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Interest rates are likely to decline as Freddie and Fannie get government help.
The Federal Housing Administration recently boosted its loan
limits to $729,750 in expensive areas. It’s going to take some of that back
come Jan. 1, when the loan limit will shrink to $625,500.
The FHA allows down payments of as little as 3 percent, but that
will rise to 3.5 percent as of Oct. 1.
People scraping dollars together for a down payment should try to
set their closing for the end of this month.
The tax credit will shave $7,500 off a first-time buyer’s federal tax
bill due April 15. Buyers who don’t owe tax, will get the money
as a refund.The government’s definition of a first-time buyer
is anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years.

Source: The Washington Post, Elizabeth Razzi (09/07/08)