Tagged: homeowner

Fewer U.S. Homes Have Underwater Mortgages

According to a recent report that was released by MSNBC earlier today there are fewer homes this quarter that are “underwater” than in previous months.  While this alone cannot be used as a sign to show that the housing market has improved dramatically it does show that the housing market has done some improving in the past couple of months.

An underwater mortgage is when a person owes more on their house than it is worth leaving many homeowners feeling stranded because in these type of situations they often are unable to refinance their homes, modify their mortgages or, are sometimes, unable to sell their homes. The fact that today less mortgages like this exist is definitely a positve sign and one step of many that need to be made in the right direction.


Staten Island Homeowners Can Appeal their Property Assesments Until March 2010

If you are one of the unhappy Staten Island homeowners who received a property assessment amount that seems like it is wrong you have the opportunity to appeal with the Tax Commission.

Property assessment amounts were already mailed out and include the approximate property value of your home.  Taken into consideration when evaluating the property value amounts is the building size, lot size, tax class, contruction year and market value.

If you own a Staten Island home that is a one, two or three family home you have until March 15, 2010 to file an appeal.  If you own a co-op or condominium you have until March 1, 2010 to file your appeal for your property assessment.

Property owners who feel the market value listed for their home on the property assessment should fill out and file a Finance Request for Review which can be found on nyc.gov’s website under the forms section for valuation/assessment.

If you would like to file an appeal the New York officials want the residents to know that they do not need to appear in court to appeal the decision but if you would like to you can.

Short Sales Should Eventually Become a Shorter Process

If you are a troubled homeowner who was at risk of having their home foreclosed on you may be considering something called a short sale and you may or may not be familiar with the process of a short sale.  If you are considering the process of a short sale for your home as an alternative to foreclosure it may be the best things for you because unlike a foreclosure the debt does not stay with you and it does not go on your credit report that you have been involved in a foreclosure (foreclosures stay on your credit report for 7 years).  But one thing that short sales are known for in the past are for not being short.

Short sales usually never take under three months to close.  As a matter of a fact, short sales on average take six months or longer.  Eventhough the process is worth the wait for the seller and most of the time, as long as the sale goes though, for the buyer and bank also.  But that is not to say that the wait is not a time that many wish would go buy faster.

According to a recent announcement made the Department of Treasury has decided to step in and do something that sellers can’t do when they are involved in a short sale and that is tell the banks to make the short sale process and loan modification process go by faster.  The main thing motivating the Department of Treasury to make the short sale process faster is that currently 80% of all short sales fall through because the process is taking too long and the buyer decides they no longer want the home.

Other people than the seller and purchaser will profit from changes being made to the short sale process in the future also.  Real estate agents have been reluctant to take on short sales because a lot of times it results in the realtor’s commission being decreased in order to allow the sale to go through when the lender says that they would like the house to be sold at a higher price than what the purchaser is willing to offer.  Often times the real estate agent decreases their fee in order to allow the sale to still go through – under the new short sale rules this will no longer be able to happen so realtors may be less reluctant to accept short sale deals.

Under the new short sale rules lending institutions will be required to approve or disapprove a short sale within 10 days and will also have to excuse the individual applying for the short sale from all debt obligations once the short sale is completed.  The Department of Treasurty has advised banks and lending institutions that they have until April 5, 2010 to put the new short sale rules into effect.


First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Bill for Service Members | Military Personnel Purchasing a Home in New York and New Jersey

Late last week the House Way and Means Committee unveiled the a bipartisan bill that is currently being taken into consideration by the House of Representitives.

The Service Members Home Ownership Act of 2009 would correct a problem that was previously occuring for military members with the First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit.  Many military members were not taking part in purchasing their first home and taking advantage of the $8,000 first time homebuyers credit because of the concern that they would have to pay back the money they receive from the tax credit if they get transferred to a different station before they have owned and resided in the home for 36 months.

The first time homebuyers tax credit has a clause in it that prevents first time homeowners from selling their house or renting out their house before the initial 36 months has passed.  If you choose to move out prior to the 36-months or are not using the home as your primary residence you must pay back any tax credit that you received from the program.  The Service Members Home Ownership Act of 2009 would change the requirements for military personnel.

The main benefits that service members will see if the bill is passed are:

  •  Certain service members would be exempt from paying taxes if they are forced to sell their home at a depressed price. Among those eligible for the tax exemption would be wounded service members and service members who had to sell their home because they were permanately assigned to a new duty station.
  • Service members and certain federal workers who buy a home before December 1, 2009 will not have to repay the $8,000 tax credit if they sell their home or stop using it as their primary residence within the first three years if they are forced to sell or rent out their house because of government orders.
  • Service members, foreign service officers and members of the intelligence community who were deployed outside of the U.S. for 90 days or more between January 1 and December 1, 2009 will have be able to close on a house after December 1, 2009 and still be able to take advantage of the first time homebuyers tax credit.

This bill  is passing throught the Senate quickly and will possibly be signed and put into place within the next two weeks.

If you are a military member purchasing a home in New York or New Jersey and need a real estate lawyer in Staten Island, New York contact Steven T. Decker at 718.979.4300.