Offer Subject to Inspection – What Does That Mean?

As a Realtor I have a whole dictionary for just real estate jargon.  One of the most confusing terms, and often buyers will get the wrong idea about their agent, is “offer subject to inspection.”  So allow me a moment to explain what on earth this means.

“Offer subject to inspection” is a typical hurdle for buyers to overcome when shopping for homes that are tenant occupied.  The term means – the buyer can physically go in and SEE the home AFTER an offer is accepted.  Sounds a little backwards right?

And no – your agent is NOT trying to strong arm you and force you to buy a home without evening seeing it!

Generally this clause is for homes which are tenant occupied.  In order to preserve the rights of the tenant to have the quite enjoyment of their home – the tenant has the right to refuse prospective buyers to come in and see the home.  That is – until an offer is accepted by the seller, then the buyers has the right to inspect the home.

How does this work you ask?  The buyer must write a REAL offer since the terms are binding once accepted.  When the seller accepts the offer, the buyer will have a certain amount of days which is written into the contract to actually go in and see the home for the first time.  If the home is to their liking and the buyer wants to proceed with the contract – they do.  If the home is NOT to the buyers liking – for just about any reason – during the agreed upon days – the buyer will have the right to cancel the deal and walk away without any harm to both buyer and seller.

So you found a home you like – how do you write an offer?  If there are inspections available before hand – it makes our job of writing the offer a bit easier since we have a good idea of what the condition is.  If there are no inspections, and we haven’t seen the home, we drive by and gather as much info as we can with our eyes from the safety of the car.  We write the offer as best we can with the information provided and once the buyer has seen the home and had inspections we proceed with the new information – either by moving forward or discussing the new information with all parties and find a common and suitable outcome for all parties.

As strange as it seems – it happens more than you know.  For some buyers, they cannot imagine writing an offer for a home without ever seeing the home.  For investment buyers, this very typical and generally have no issues writing up a fair offer to get in.  Of course, what happens after a buyer gets to see the home is a far different story.  I have experienced both follow throughs on the contract and recessions – so truly we cross that bridge together when we get to it.

Which is truly at the root of what us Realtors do.  We are the buyers and sellers guides through Real Estate – what can The Caton Team do for you?

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at:

Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

Came across this great article I had to share…

 

10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

Over the past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales. It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10 things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt forgiveness:

1. Normally, when a lender forgives a debt — that is, relieves the borrower from having to pay it back — the amount of the debt is taxable income to the borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don’t have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence — that is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement — for example, to pay off credit card debt — do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness , and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the debt was forgiven.

8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax-relief provisions — such as bankruptcy — may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

The IRS has created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. You can get it from the IRS website atirs.gov.

Real Estate Tax Talk

By Stephen Fishman

 

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Steps To Buying a Home

The Caton Team believes that buying a home is a journey.  We are happy to meet with buyers at any leg of their trek, whether it be a few years out, or we’re ready to buy now – Susan & Sabrina are happy to create a home buying plan with you and your family.  We believe communication is essential and understanding your goals as a home-buyer is they key to success.

Steps to Buying a Home

1.     Our Initial Interview

  • Determine needs, wants & desires for your new home
  • Discuss parameters
  • Discuss financial qualifications

2. Get Pre-Approved for your Home Loan

  • Contact your Financial Institution (Bank, Credit Union, etc) for a pre-approval of a Home Loan
  • Obtain a Pre-Approval letter once you have provided them with all necessary documentation (income verification, taxes, debt)
  • Once you know your purchase power we can help you shop your loan if necessary to find the best loan for your price range with the best interest rate & terms
  • Remember to make sure you have funds saved for your closing costs.*
  • REMEMBER – DO NOT OPEN ANY NEW LINES OF CREDIT OR MAKE LARGE PURCHASES – it will affect your credit score and purchase power!

3. Property Tours

  • We will preview many homes in your criteria
  • We will show you available properties that match your needs & wants
  • Listen carefully to fine-tune your ideal home
  • Provide information about the current market and reliable resources regarding cities, schools to help you with your decision

4. Write an Offer on the Home that fits your needs & wants

  • When possible – we get the Sellers Disclosure package beforehand so you can review the disclosures before we write an offer
  • Writing an offer will take between 1 to 3 hours
  • Complete the purchase agreement contract & review all the necessary disclosures with you
  • Buyer provides the earnest money deposit (this can be in the form of a personal check & will be held until an accepted contract is created – generally 1% – 3% of the purchase price)

5. The Caton Team Presents Your Offer

  • Prepare a presentation by highlighting the strengths of the offer & your strengths as the buyer
  • Present the offer to  the Sellers’ Real Estate Professional & when possible the Sellers
  • The Seller with either accept your offer, counter it, or reject it
Of course, our objective, if it is your objective – is to get your offer accepted on the first try.  If your offer is not accepted or rejected right off the bat – you begin the counter offer process.

6. Counter-Offer

  • Discuss the counter-offer with you and how it relates to your goals and prepare a response
  • Negotiate the counter-offer in your best interest while keeping the Seller happy as well

7.          Escrow

  • When the offer has been accepted & signed by all parties, escrow is opened
  • Earnest money (good faith deposit) will be deposited AND CASHED by the escrow company and held in escrow
  • The Escrow Officer will order the Preliminary Title Report & send copies to the Lender & us – your Realtors

8. Contingency Period

  • Buyers approval of Seller’s Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
  • Buyers approval of the Preliminary Title Report
  • Buyers approval of any disclosures not provided prior to writing the offer
  • Conduct all desired Physical & Pest Inspections
  • Verify that the Property Appraisal & Loan have been approved & secured
  • Once the buyer is fully satisfied with the home, the buyer, in writing, will remove all their contingencies and is not locked into contract

9. Homeowners’ Insurance Coverage

  • Select an insurance company and discuss coverage (it is best to start with your car insurance company – they often offer umbrella discounts)
  • Give insurance agent escrow information.  They will need to order a copy of the policy for the new Lender prior to escrow closing

10. Signing Documents at the Title Company

  • Lender will send the loan documents directly to the title company several days before close of escrow
  • Buyer will receive copies of the title documents and the Lender documents (Take the time to review your loan documents prior to our signing appointment to make sure all the terms & conditions are what you agreed to – changes to the loan documents must be made before you sign so escrow will close on time)
  • Buyer will need current photo identification

11. Down Payment and Closing Cost Funds

  • You may bring a cashier’s check to the Title Company several days prior to closing or have funds wired directly from you bank
  • The Escrow Officer will provide a Buyer’s Estimated Closing Statement, which will itemize costs and credits, estimating the total money due at closing and also provide wiring instructions if you are doing a wire transfer of your down payment

12. Funding

  • Lenders will send funds directly to escrow the day before closing

13. Close of Escrow

  • The deed will be recorded at the County Recorder’s office by the Title Company (Buyer will receive the original back from the County Recorder in approximately 6 weeks)
  • Real Estate Professional will coordinate the transfer of the house keys after the transfer of sale is on record.

14. Move In!

  •  Get those boxes in the car, pop the bubbly – the house is yours!  Congrats
Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to answer them – email us at info@thecatonteam.com or visit our website at http://thecatonteam.com/
Visit my personal journey through homeownership at http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/

Senate Bill 458 – Help for Short Sale Sellers

A new California law will further protect homeowners pursuing short sales by barring first and secondary lienholders from going after sellers for money owed after the short sales close.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 458, authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro,) into law on Friday.

A short sale is a transaction in which the homeowner owes more on the loan than the property is worth. To sell the home, the lien holder or lien holders must approve the sale because the amount owed to the lien holder will be “short” of what is currently owed by the borrower.

Real estate tracker DataQuick said short sales made up 17.7 percent of Southern California home resales in June.

The new law builds on the protections offered by a previous law, SB 931, which required the first lien holder in a short sale to accept an agreed-upon payment as the full payment for the outstanding loan balance. The previous law did not address junior lien holders.

The new law, which became effective immediately, now prohibits secondary lien holders from pursuing deficiencies after a short sale closes.

“As the economic recession continues to impact Californians, SB 458 will allow homeowners forced to sell at a loss to have closure at the end of the process,” said Corbett, in a statement to the Union-Tribune. “By extending anti-deficiency protection to all loans on a home when a short sale occurs, a homeowner can use a short sale as an alternative to foreclosure or bankruptcy.”

The California Association of Realtors call the bill’s signing a “victory for California homeowners.”

“SB 458 brings closure and certainty to the short sale process and ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short sale payment on a property, all lien holders – those in first position and in junior positions – will consider the outstanding balance as paid in full and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property,” said Beth L. Peerce, president of the Realtors group, in a statement.

For more information please visit: http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/sb458/

 

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at http://thecatonteam.com/

 

 

Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/