Strategic Default Monitor – How To Strategically Default

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Latest Foreclosure News 10-16-2014

For thousands of US short-sellers, a big gift 12-26-2014
The Senate’s 11th-hour extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act ends on Dec. 31. The federal tax code treats forgiven debt as ordinary income to the borrower, taxable at regular rates. But under an exception that took effect in 2007, qualified home mortgage debt that is canceled by a lender as part of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure is treated as non-taxable... So how do you know whether your short sale, loan modification or foreclosure is covered by the extension for 2014? The key points you will need to know include: 1. The house securing the mortgage debt must be your principal residence. 2. The maximum amount of debt that qualifies for relief is $2 million ($1 million if you are married filing taxes singly.) 3. Any portion of the mortgage debt forgiven that was used for purposes other than improving or building the house will not qualify for the exclusion and may be taxable. Read More at the Real Deal

Future SHOCK for Older Homeowners: You Won’t Get a HELOC, a Second, or Refi based on your Equity 10-15-2014
The reality is that with the private RMBS securitization market still largely frozen, government lending essentially the only game in town, the prevalent and entirely reasonable fear of “buy backs” among bankers, actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Dodd-Frank’s impact, new QM rules, and whatever else you’d want to throw in under the category of new and increased pressures on lenders… it should not be a surprise that loans are harder to come by than at any time in recent history. Today, your assets don’t matter when applying for a mortgage… only the amount of income you earn is considered when assessing your ability to repay the loan. That means that today, the fact that you own a home free and clear that’s worth $1 million, by itself, is not going to get you approved for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), second mortgage or refinance... to get approved for a HELOC, or a second home, not only do you need significant equity, but you’ll also need actual income that’s deemed sufficient to repay the loan… and a glimmering FICO score… like we’re talking 760+… that sort of thing. Read More at Mandelman Matters

Americans face post-foreclosure hell as wages garnished, assets seized 10-14-2014
Many thousands of Americans who lost their homes in the housing bust, but have since begun to rebuild their finances, are suddenly facing a new foreclosure nightmare: debt collectors are chasing them down for the money they still owe by freezing their bank accounts, garnishing their wages and seizing their assets... Using a legal tool known as a "deficiency judgment," lenders can ensure that borrowers are haunted by these zombie-like debts for years, and sometimes decades, to come. Read More at Reuters

Foreclosure Dispute Pits Mortgage Lenders vs. Investors 10-14-2014
Mortgage lenders and housing investors are squaring off in Nevada over a court decision that has allowed thousands of foreclosed homes to be sold for pennies on the dollar, in a case that could have big implications on an already-tight home-loan market across the country. At issue are homeowners associations and the liens they put on properties when a homeowner stops paying dues. Homeowners associations enforce rules in a community and collect dues to maintain common areas and pay for repairs... In a court filing Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association wrote that because of the decision, “mortgage lenders stand to lose millions—perhaps even billions—of dollars in security interests.” Read More at The Wall Street Journal

Fair housing group challenges U.S. Bank over foreclosure upkeep 10-8-2014
On Wednesday, the National Fair Housing Alliance accused the Minneapolis-based bank of racial discrimination in its upkeep of foreclosed properties in Minneapolis, renewing a debate over who is responsible for maintaining foreclosed properties — and to what extent. This was the housing group’s fourth announcement of claims against U.S. Bank, and its complaint now covers neighborhoods in 19 metro areas across the country... The group has been aggressively pursuing charges of racial discrimination in foreclosure upkeep for the past few years. It has filed claims with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Read More at Star Tribune

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