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It s Mine! It s All mine!


Typically, the day escrow closes on your new home, you will be able to take possession of the property. Congratulations! Here are a few hints on closing day to keep in mind:

Check to see when you will actually take possession of the house. Often, a transaction has to be recorded at the City or County Recorder s office for it to be official.

Resist the urge to do any work to the house before escrow closes. If the deal falls through, you are out time and money.

Be sure to do a walk-through of the house before you sign final papers and move in. Is the house in the same condition as it was when you agreed to buy

Fannie Mae to offer 3.5 percent buyer assistance

Fannie Mae recently announced that people purchasing a Fannie Mae-owned HomePath property will receive up to 3.5 percent in closing cost assistance. The initial offer must be submitted on or after April 11, 2011; and the sale must close on or before June 30, 2011, to be eligible for the incentive. Additionally, buyers must reside in the home as their primary residence (sales to investors are excluded).

All Fannie Mae-owned HomePath properties are listed on and most listings include detailed property descriptions, photographs, community and school information, and more. In addition, many Fannie Mae-owned properties are eligible for special HomePath Mortgage and HomePath Renovation Mortgage financing, which offers home buyers an opportunity to purchase with as little as 3 percent down.

How to Structure the Deal to Share the Profit Fairly

This is one of the most difficult places where syndicators get burned. Many syndicators, that I see, structure their deal with a 50/50 back-end. That means that the syndicator does all the work, the investor puts up all the money, and when the property sells several years into the future, they split whatever the upside is 50/50.

Some syndicators take tiny fees along the way; but for the most part, a structure where you’re taking a large back-end but no money upfront, or little money upfront, is destined to disaster, because it’s very common that the syndicator will have a hard time getting into the long run. If the syndication that one does is just for a few friends to do a deal, then there is no harm and no foul in structuring this type of relationship. However, if the syndicator wants to get into the long run and wants to be in the business for an extended period of time, then the syndicator needs to realize cash flow throughout the life of the property. Imagine if you had one deal that was a 50/50 back-end split, but no money upfront and along the way.

That wouldn’t be so bad. However, would you be able to do the same deal for 20 properties? Certainly, you would not. Twenty Deals would require the implementation of a sophisticated property management operation, a maintenance operation, a mortgage operation, and a real estate brokerage operation.

The successful long-run syndicator will establish these programs and these business entities, and will charge the syndication for it. The syndication business is a great business, but it has to be run like a business. Therefore, all of the deals that I teach individuals how to structure have a front-end, an ongoing operations component, and a back-end participation. I always encourage the smaller back-end in exchange for more money in the front and in the middle.

Joel began his career as a CPA with the prestigious firm of Price Waterhouse. where he immersed himself in the real estate syndication business. After reviewing hundreds of partnership agreements and preparing as many tax returns, he left Price Waterhouse in 1986 to start his own syndication firm, raising several million dollars in three short years. By 1990, Joel had built a property management firm of more than 40 employees with a portfolio exceeding $100 million. Joel continues to syndicate real estate and other assets, as well as counseling other promoters on successful syndication strategies. He is also involved in film financing and invests in early stage companies and other deals. For more information about Joel Block and his upcoming seminar, visit his site at

Author: Joel G. Block
Article Source:

Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has in place several programs to help homebuyers and homeowners with homeownership issues. The site is divided in six broad categories: HUD News, HUD Homes, HUD Communities, Working with HUD, Resources, and Tools. From all of these sections and its links, there are some very useful for the homebuyer or the real estate professional.
Useful information for homebuyers

HUD Homes Section

  • Buying: Homebuyer rights, how much mortgage can you afford, home wish list, finding a real estate broker, mortgages, local homebuyer programs, and shopping for a home.
  • Owning: Maintaining and improving your home, energy and home environment, paying the mortgage, refinancing, reverse mortgages, manufactured homes, disaster relief and homeownership government links.
  • Selling: Advice about selling a home, tips on interviewing brokers, getting your house ready to sell, selling your home, settlement costs.
  • Renting: Renters kit, housing counseling, federal financial assistance, apartment shopping, renters insurance, programs/services in federal rental housing, rent your home.
  • Homeless: Information for homeless people, assistance providers, advocates, and other resources.
  • Home improvements: Federal repair and rehabilitation programs
  • HUD homes: How to buy HUD s homes.
  • Fair housing: Fair Housing Policy and Research Forum, news, Housing Discrimination Complaint Form, and other miscellaneous information.
  • FHA refunds: For homeowners who had a HUD/FHA insured mortgage previous to Sept. 1983.
  • Foreclosure: How to avoid foreclosure questions and answers.
  • Consumer info: Protecting consumers rights links, i.e. lead hazard control or land sales complaints.

Working with HUD Section
HUD does not offer direct grants or loans to individuals; it works through local governments and non-profit organizations to make financial assistance and counseling available. These are the main resources available for homebuyers:

  • Housing Counseling: List of HUD approved agencies.
  • The American Dream Downpayment Act: Program created to assist low-income first-time homebuyers in purchasing single-family homes by providing funds for downpayment, closing costs, and rehabilitation carried out in conjunction with the assisted home purchase.
  • Low Downpayment Information: This homepage will facilitate approval of downpayment assistance through secondary financing programs
  • Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8): Allow very low-income families to choose and lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing.

HUD Homes – When someone with a HUD insured mortgage is unable to meet the payments, the lender forecloses on the home; HUD pays the lender what is owed; and HUD takes ownership of the home. Then HUD sells it at market value as quickly as possible using a bid system.

From those properties, HUD sets apart some for HUD approved non-profits and/or for officer/teacher purchase only. The general public can buy the rest. These properties are commonly known as HUD homes and are sold in a  as is condition. If the HUD home, once active in the bid system is not sold within a six-month period, then a local government can buy it for $1. These Dollar HUD Homes for local governments can then be fixed, and put back in the market at considerable savings. The fixing of the property is done either by the government itself or in a joint partnership with local non-profit homeownership organizations or by taping into existing local programs to resell the homes to low- and moderate-income residents of the community.

Homes located in revitaltion areas have an additional discount.

In general, the dollar HUD homes, the set-aside properties for non-profits, officers and teachers and the HUD homes for the general public allow for the revitalization of neighborhoods and help maintain the affordable housing stock.

To buy a HUD home, it is necessary to use a real estate broker who will submit the buyers bid. The bids are submitted at 100% of the listed price value, which equals the appraised value. Properties sold through this system have clear deadlines and are also available for the officers and teachers program. They can purchase a property off the General List and still receive a 50% discount if:

(a) the property is located in a HUD-designated revitalization area; and

(b) no other acceptable offers have been received. In the case that multiple offers are entered into the bidding system, a lottery process will decide the bid winner. Officers or teachers must submit a contract bid at 100% of the “Listed Price”. When bids are submitted by officers and teachers on properties in the General Property List that are above or below 100% of the list price, they will be treated as standard “owner/occupant” bids and will not be eligible for the 50% Officer Next Door/ Teacher Next Door (OND/TND) discount.

The 50% discount, applicable to the OND/TND program will be applied at closing.

Other HUD Homes links of interest:

  • General Information about HUD homes
  • Selling HUD homes
  • Frequently asked questions about Marketing and Management program
  • HUD homes for sale
  • About Communities

This HUD section provides links to maps and statistics about virtually any locality in the United States. Searches can be performed either by name place or by zip code. The information helps REALTORS answer accurately general questions about the location of educational facilities, environmental conditions, and demographic data of any given home.

  • Community maps: Maps provide information from HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), i.e. community development projects and toxic release sources.
  • Facts about your community from the Census: Statistical information about the population that inhabits a place, i.e. age, education, income, race, home values, homeownership, mortgage and housing starts.
  • Facts about the environment from EPA: For those who want to know more about radiation, superfunds, watersheds and other highly technical environmental questions.

Look for schools, colleges, and libraries Information on local public and private schools, colleges and libraries. If you are looking for the school performance index (ranking), log into the California Department of Education s web page Academic Performance Index.
Look for child care Find the closest child care facility to any given location.

Other Important HUD pages

  • Descriptions of Single Family Housing Programs
  • Approved Appraisers List
  • HUD Approved Lenders
  • Maximum Mortgage Limits

Revitalization Homes’ area locator: It allows you to find out if a single family property is located within a Revitalization Area. This online tool can help verify if a particular location is eligible for the discount sale programs offered in revitalization areas.


7 Homeowner Tax Advantages

By: G. M. Filisko

When you’re evaluating how much home you can afford, make sure you factor in the tax advantages of homeownership.

Owning your home not only allows you to build wealth through appreciation, but it can also reduce the amount of income tax you pay every year.

Here are seven tax benefits for homeowners.

1. Homebuyer tax credits
If you purchase your first home before April 30, 2010, you’re entitled to a tax credit of up to $8,000. If you currently own a home, but sell it to purchase another home before April 30, 2010, you’re eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $6,500.

2. Deductions for loan fees
Typically, you can deduct the “prepaid interest” you paid when you got your mortgage loan. That includes points, loan origination fees, and loan discount fees listed on your settlement statement, even if the seller paid those fees for you. Each time you refinance your home, you can deduct prepaid interest fees.

However, you must meet certain requirements to take the prepaid interest deductions when you purchase or refinance your home. Check with your accountant to be sure you’re following the rules.

3. Property tax deductions
In the year you purchase your home, you’re entitled to deduct the real estate taxes you paid at the closing table. You can continue to deduct the property taxes you pay each year.

4. The mortgage interest deduction
Every year, you can deduct the amount of interest and late charges you pay on your mortgage and home equity loans, though there are limitations. If you’re required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) because you made a downpayment of less than 20% on your home, you can also deduct those premiums as mortgage interest expenses.

5. Home office expenses
If you have a home office you use only for business, you may be eligible to deduct the prorated costs of your mortgage, insurance, and other expenses related to that space. The government scrutinizes home-office deductions closely. Be sure you’re entitled to the deductions before claiming them.

6. The costs of selling your home
In the year you sell your home, you can deduct the costs of selling it, including real estate commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising, administrative costs, and inspection fees. You can also deduct decorating or repair costs you incur in the 90 days before you sell your home.

7. The gain on your home
If you lived in your home for at least two of the previous five years before you sell it, the government lets you to take up to $250,000 of profit on the sale of your home tax free. That amount is doubled for married couples. This deduction isn’t available on rental or second homes.

The government also allows you to subtract from your home sale profit any amounts you spend on improvements, such as window replacement, siding, or a kitchen remodel. Those deductions are in addition to the tax credits you can receive in 2010 for making energy-saving upgrades. Money invested for routine maintenance and repairs doesn’t count.

This article includes general information about tax laws and consequences, but is not intended to be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws vary by jurisdiction.

More from HouseLogic
More on the mortgage interest deduction
Claiming your homebuyer tax credit (

Tips to use when preparing your return (

Other web resources
More information on homeownership deductions (

IRS information on the mortgage interest deduction (
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who’s enjoyed the tax advantages of homeownership for more than 20 years. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Real Estate Talking Points

  • When it comes to assessing a home’s value, homeowners tend to be overly optimistic.  However, appraisers are much more cautious, as they have to predict a realistic value for the home that the bank can use to extend credit to a buyer.
  • There are five areas where homeowners often misjudge the worth of their abode: The outside, basic systems, the basement, the market, and a remodel.
  • On the outside, if an appraiser sees overgrown bushes and chipped paint, he is likely to slice as much as 3 percent off the value of an average-size home.  According to one appraisal firm, that’s because curb appeal is important, and an unkempt yard is a sign that there may be other issues.
  • A brand-new roof generally does not affect the value an appraiser assigns a house; however, if a roof is in disrepair, a homeowner should replace it to increase the chances of a buyer making an offer.
  • A recently finished basement with a half bath can add as much as 2 percent to the value of a home, but homeowners shouldn’t expect the value to increase as much as it would with the addition of first-floor space, which can increase value by as much as 20 percent.
  • Although similar homes in the area may have recently gone into contract for more than the asking price, this will have little to no effect on the value an appraiser assigns a house.  Appraisers are bound by the data of recent comparable sales, meaning he must abide by the actual sale prices of homes in the area.
  • An expensive, custom-made, built-in entertainment center may be perfect for the current homeowners, but it could lead the appraiser to make a negative adjustment to the valuation because cost doesn’t equal value.  Renovations that are trendy will be assessed at the cost of ripping them out.  Timeless improvements, however, such as deep sinks or new wooden cabinets will add value.


Eased Mortgage-Risk Rule to Be Proposed by U.S. Agencies

As a way to simplify the mortgage market, six federal agencies have proposed revised regulations that oversee how banks finance mortgages. By easing requirements on lenders under the softened qualified residential mortgage rule, banks won’t have to retain a stake in mortgages with down payments of less than 20 percent when they bundle mortgages into securities. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are the regulators behind the proposal.

Making sense of the story

  • The first draft of the qualified residential mortgage rule faced opposition from housing industry participants and consumer groups. The rule was intended to prevent the type of risky loans that contributed to the subprime credit crisis, but opponents said it would impede home lending.
  • Under the new draft, the qualified residential mortgage rule would be aligned with the qualified mortgage, or QM, rule. The QM stems from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and contains no down payment requirement. Such alignment provides a clearer roadmap to banks.
  • Before regulators vote to finalize the rule, they are requesting public feedback on the full proposal by Oct. 30. Feedback is also encouraged for an alternative arrangement that would require lenders to keep a stake in any loan with a down payment of less than 30 percent.
  • Commenting on the revision, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President Gary Thomas stated the following: “The new standards, which align with those applied to Qualified Mortgages, are stringent enough to protect consumers from unscrupulous lending practices while also creating new opportunities for private capital to reestablish itself as part of a robust and competitive mortgage market.”
  • Under the revisions, borrowers who spend less than 43 percent of their income on debts will have an easier time getting a loan.

Source: Bloomberg

Read the full story

Higher home prices reduce California housing affordability in second quarter 2012

Higher home prices offset record-low interest rates and lowered housing affordability in California in the second quarter of 2012, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) recently reported.

Making sense of the story

  • The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California fell to 51 percent in the second quarter of 2012, down from 56 percent in first-quarter 2012, but matched the 51 percent recorded in second quarter 2011, according to C.A.R.’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI).
  • C.A.R.’s HAI measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California.  C.A.R. also reports affordability indices for regions and select counties within the state.  The Index is considered the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for home buyers in the state.
  • Home buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $62,390 to qualify for the purchase of a $316,230 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the second quarter of 2012. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $1,560, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 3.92 percent.  The effective composite interest rate in first-quarter 2012 was 4.16 percent and 4.85 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
  • The San Francisco Bay Area experienced the largest quarterly declines in housing affordability, resulting from double-digit price increases with little movement in the interest rate.  However, when compared with the previous year, changes to the affordability index were minimal, thanks to a near-one percent drop in the effective composite interest rate.
  • At an index of 78 percent, San Bernardino County was the most affordable county of the state. At the other end, San Mateo County edged out San Francisco County (24 percent) to be the least affordable, with only 23 percent of households able to purchase the county’s median-priced home.

Read the full story

5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.

2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.

4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.

5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured Is the address clearly visible Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program2 (NSP2) was established to stabilize neighborhoods whose viability has been and continues to be damaged by the economic effects of properties that have been foreclosed upon and abandoned. NSP2, a term that references the NSP funds authorized by Title XII of Division A of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, (the Recovery Act) provides grants to states, local governments, nonprofits and a consortium of public and or private nonprofit entities on a competitive basis.

NSP Resource Exchange

NSP Resource Exchange is a one-stop shop for the information and resources needed by NSP grantees, subrecipients and developers to purchase, rehabilitate, and resell foreclosed properties. There are three primary components to the Resource Exchange site including:

  • Find a Resource – a database of policy guidance, practitioner support tools and training materials developed by HUD and technical assistance providers who specialize in NSP-related activities. It can be browsed by topic, audience, or type of information.
  • Ask a Question a feature that can be used to direct users to previously asked questions based on the user’s questions. It also provides users with a question form that can be submitted electronically for those questions and answers that are not listed on the website.
  • Request TA a mechanism by which users can communicate with technical assistance providers and request support in implementing NSP activities

The NSP Resource Exchange can also be used to learn about upcoming events related to NSP and coming soon the site will feature tool kits for designing programs and implementing activities. Selection of NSP2 Grantees

On January 14, 2010, HUD awarded a combined total $1.93 billion in NSP 2 grants to 56 grantees nationwide. This includes 33 consortiums at a regional level and four national consortiums carrying out activities in target areas throughout the country. These grantees were selected on the basis of foreclosure needs in their selected target areas, recent past experience, program design and compliance with NSP2 rules.


A request for debriefing must be made in writing or by email by the authorized official whose signature appears on the SF-424 or by his or her successor, and be submitted to the NSP Team. Information provided during a debriefing will include, at a minimum, the final score the applicant received for each rating factor, final evaluator comments for each rating factor, and the final assessment indicating the basis on which assistance was provided or denied.

Learn More about NSP2 Grantees 

The 56 NSP2 grantees selected have taken different approaches to designing their programs. Here aresummaries of each program based on the applications submitted to HUD. For more information on program design and implementation please contact the NSP2 grantees directly.

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