Improper debt-collecting practices for real estate – housing and the election and more – The Duncan Duo Radio Show

    [background music intro]

    The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show. Now, your host: Andrew Duncan.

    [background music intro]

    Andrew Duncan:              Good morning, Tampa Bay. We’re here with you for another week, talking about the local real estate market here, on the Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970WFLA, with Vince LoBue from Boss, Arrighi and Hoag today to talk about some legal matters affecting the real estate market, as well as to answer your questions. If you have questions about real estate law, foreclosures, short sales, anything related to the real estate: buying a home, selling a home, foreclosures – whatever it is. If it’s real estate-related, we’d love the opportunity to talk to you. You can call us in Hillsborough: 990-9352; in Pinellas: 461-9352 and the toll-free 1-800-969-9352 – all of our phone numbers end in ‘9352’ or ‘WFLA’ if you’re dialing by letter. So, again: in Hillsborough 990-9352 and in Pinellas 461-9352.

    So, we’re here today with Vince LoBue from Boss, Arrighi and Hoag. Let’s talk a little bit today – obviously a lot of consumers impacted by the real estate market in short sales and foreclosures and there’s a lot of the improper debt-collecting practices going on out there that people need to be aware of and I think that’s kind of one of the things I got off your website recently was: debt collectors coming up with creative and illegal ways to collect and what the consumer can do to protect themselves in that scenario.

    Vince LoBue:                      I just want to say good morning, Andrew. I appreciate you having me on the show this morning. My name is Vince. I handle at the firm a lot of consumer protection cases and I, think, one of the things that we do focus on at the firm is taking the consumer protection laws very, very seriously. There are a lot of different things that a creditor or debt collector can and cannot do once someone is represented by an attorney. And it makes it critical if someone’s entering into a short sale or attempting to deal with a foreclosure case that they engage an attorney because with the help of a lawyer you are eligible and protected by many more laws that you would be if you didn’t have an attorney.

    Andrew Duncan:              And what are some of the sneaky ways debt collectors get around these rules? Like, obviously, contacting the consumer directly when they’re represented and calling during hours that they are not supposed to call them. What are maybe some of the other things that they do?

    Vince LoBue:                      There are really, I guess, I would say two types of debt collection violations that you have. First, you have the nasty, aggressive debt collector: the ones who will break the law to try and maximize their profits and scare people on the pay. But I think what’s more common that we see is usually the big bank incompetency for a lack of better term. The big lenders having a hard time with their systems: controlling the ringers and controlling their auto-dialers. So under Florida law it is illegal for anybody to collect on a debt once that person knows they are represented by an attorney.

    Andrew Duncan:              I remember, it’s funny, I remember Chris telling a story to me a little while ago about how – and I cannot remember which bank it was – but a big bank that was fined multiple times and they still kept calling. They were not fined but they were found in contempt of something and they still kept calling even though…because the hand didn’t know what the foot was doing.

    Vince LoBue:                      We dealt with a case where a large financial institution was having a hard time with their auto-dialer and even after we had set up a plan to deal with it, they still violated and then we ultimately resolved the case – one of the things the bank asked us for and we were happy to give because it helps our client was: if we continue to call, please give him a heads up because we understand that our auto-dialer is hard to turn it off…

    Andrew Duncan:              [laughing]

    Vince LoBue:                      So we would like the ability to fix it in case anything happens in the future. I’ve also run into a number of incidents where I have had to sue not only a third-party debt collector for collecting on a debt that isn’t owed – another a legal debt collection practice in the State. So if you’re already closed on short sale and you have a third party debt collector collecting when they’re not supposed to, that’s definitely something that we can investigate the violation of the State law. But I’ve had to sue with third-party debt collector and a fourth-party debt collector for continuing to collect on debt which wasn’t owed. So, it’s almost a difference between the legal and practical realities. Legally, people in short sale – and more often than not, who lead themselves into a debt – practically, they collect on debt that they’re not supposed.

    Andrew Duncan:              Makes sense. So, we’ve got Jerry from Odessa on line one. You’ve got a question about tax portability. How can we help you, Jerry?

    Jerry:                                     Yes. I live in Northwest Hillsborough. I bought a house about 12 years ago. The house was built in 49 and it was always my intention to build a house on the property and  then level the original one. But now I’m looking at about ten years before my retirement and I’m wondering if I still built is there any way I can utilize that tax portability law in order to keep my taxes down? Because I would have build it now and it was reassessed the current market, there was still: “How can I afford the taxes?”

    Andrew Duncan:              So, in other words you plan to build on it but not occupy it for a while?

    Jerry:                                     No, I want to build it and occupy it but I’m wondering am I going to be taxed so bad that I won’t be able to afford it. Some of my neighbors here are paying ten, twelve thousand dollars a year in taxes. Right now my tax is around 3,200

    Andrew Duncan:              And how long have you owned the pro…? So the property that you’re in now – just to explain the portability and, Vince, you can add on this if you know specifically what he’s talking about – you’re looking to basically take the property tax that you have right now and you can take it to the new property. Now, the caveat is that you can only take it to the extent of your current assessment. So, for example, let’s say you’re in a house that’s assessed at 200 or 300 or whatever it is and you move into a house that’s assessed at five or six. What’s going to happen is: you’re going to take your tax basis for the portion of the value of the home that you’re in now and – so you’re still get taxed more at the new property but you’ll get the lower tax basis on the amount of value that you have now. So you’ll be able to take that with you.

    Jerry:                                     OK.

    Andrew Duncan:              So, for example, let’s say if your current tax bill if not ‘homesteaded’ would be somewhere around ten but yours is at three because you’d been ‘homesteaded’. And let’s say your value is half of what the new property would be: the half of the new value would be at your current assessment and then the other half would get taxed at the millage rate for the rest of the property. So, the portability allows you to bring your current taxes with you up to the value of the assessment of the current property.

    Jerry:                                     I see.

    Andrew Duncan:              So it’s sometimes a little tricky to understand. What I can tell you is when I’ve had people run into this scenario – when they’re concerned about the taxes and how much they will go up – don’t be afraid to contact the Hillsborough County Property Appraisal officer. Their customer service department is actually pretty strong. We’ve had great success when people calling Rob Turner’s office and just saying – and I don’t think it’s going to be Rob for very much longer because he had someone else beat them in the election. But you can call that office and they will really willing to help you in the scenario and say: “OK, what you expect the value of the new home to be?” And they are going to give you more of an estimate and a rough number because the assessment that they give the property could be different that they were going with but at least it gives you an idea. But you should be able to protect and keep your taxes a little bit lower because you carry your current homestead with you for the portion of the value of your new property.

    Jerry:                                     OK.

    Andrew Duncan:              Does that help explaining?

    Jerry:                                     Sorry? Go ahead.

    Andrew Duncan:              Does that help to explain?

    Jerry:                                     Ah, yes. Another quick question, though: let’s say my house right now is currently assessed at 200,000. It’s a three-bedroom, 2,500 square foot home but it’s old. I built another three-bedroom, 2,500 square foot home – it will be re-assessed, correct?

    Andrew Duncan:              That’s correct.

    Jerry:                                     OK.

    Andrew Duncan:              That’s correct. Now, again, like I said: you’ll get some protection on the portability but it will be re-assessed.

    Jerry:                                     I see. OK, I appreciate that.

    Andrew Duncan:              Alright. Thanks for calling, Jerry. We appreciate it.

    Jerry:                                     Thank you.

    Andrew Duncan:              So, again, you’re listening to the Duncan Duo Real Estate Show here, on 970WFLA. If you’ve got real estate questions, if you’ve got legal question that are affected by real estate, give us a call: 990-9352 in Hillsborough, 461-9352 in Pinellas and toll-free 1-800-969-9352.

    Vince LoBue, I want to ask you: obviously, there is a lot of fear and discussion going on about the extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act because, as it sits right now, if someone is in that position where they short sale next year, if the law doesn’t change, they’re going to pay some tax consequences on that forgiven debt. I know there was one Bill going around – I think made it either through The House – one or the other but nothing’s been set in stone yet.

    Vince LoBue:                      Yeah. It’s my understanding it made it through one of the Senate subcommittees and actually on a unanimous vote which I think says something about the importance of the Act. This is a very, very hot topic. Something we’re asked about very frequently at the law firm though we don’t actually render tax advice, it definitely is a risk that people need to address and so even where you may think you’re covered via the Mortgage Forgiveness of Debt Act – Mortgage Forgiveness Relief of Debt Act – you should still speak with a cpa or a tax professional. This Act, I think, will get renewed. Neither candidate has talked about it and…

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, that’s something we’re going to talk about a little later in the show today because it seems like neither candidate has really addressed much about real estate – at least specifically. So that’s certainly something to keep in mind. And, obviously, if the – I think it was called the Home-Owner Tax Fairness Act – is pending in the House. It would extend it through 2015 which would give people I think a lot of peace of mind. Whether or not we get that long extension, is another question. But, obviously, for people out there who are sitting – and there is a lot of people – sitting in limbo, I think, because of it.

    Vince LoBue:                      Yeah and providing that certainty in the market would be important. Because I can tell you even from the start of this year, experts like yourself, anybody who is attempting to sell a house, they made different market decisions with their properties because this thing was set to expire. And so where you had people who may be would have attempted to wait out the storm or maybe thought through their situation a little different, faced with a tax burden, some people pushed to sell or buy or act differently in a marketplace where maybe if you had that certainty until 2015, you get different decision making.

    Andrew Duncan:              Right. So you’d have people – especially people in short sale situations or potentially looking at selling and getting it off the books. The other side of it I think that’s concerning is the buyers who are out there looking at buying short sales who are concerned with whether or not this extends, are also concerned going into contract with a buyer that needs to close by the end of the year and if it doesn’t happen, that deal may go kaput. January first, if we don’t have an extension of this because the seller may say: “Look, I cannot deal with the 1099 consequences. I cannot write that check.”

    Vince LoBue:                      Well, and if the Act does expire I think unfortunately this is going to be a burial for a lot of middle-income people. Most deficiencies and short sales – I was just looking at the real estate sales in the Sunday paper, just going through town-by-town Tampa Times: a lot of sales are in this 200…

    Andrew Duncan:              It’s the wheel house, yes?

    Vince LoBue:                      Right and that’s middle-income people. And so they go ahead, they come to Boss, Arrighi and Hoag, we do a short sale for them, achieve a great result at their bank having their deficiency waved as part of the negotiation – they would be staring at the tax burden. And on the people who are hit hardest right now. But I am hopeful it will get renewed, I mean, it did get renewed in 2009…

    Andrew Duncan:              So hopefully they’ll do it again.

    Vince LoBue:                      Middle of a fire storm but you’ll have to see what happens.

    Andrew Duncan:              So, what are some of the other types of law that Boss, Arrighi and Hoag practices? I know we talk a lot about real estate on the show and sinkhole and obviously you guys do some insurance litigation. What are some other things that you guys do outside of the real estate realm?

    Vince LoBue:                      Yeah, outside of the… We do a lot of insurance litigation so definitely sinkhole claims, personal injuries, slip and falls, car accidents. We handle family law cases, as well; criminal defense. We are full-service law firm. We do handle a lot of real estate matters but we’re very versed on a number of different areas. As I said, I handle the bad debt collection practices so even when people are in the short sale transaction or after. A lot of different things we can do to assist those people.

    Andrew Duncan:              So, again, the website for Boss, Arrighi and Hoag is protectyourfuture.com. We’re going to continue on the Duncan Duo Show after a break. We’re going to talk about what you can do to get your home sold if it hasn’t sold. Also, talk about larger investors penetrating in the marketplace and what it means to you and how it can help you. And then, Fannie Mae has some new guidelines for investors as well as some changes in their policies for accepting investor loans. So, we’ll be right back after a quick break here, on the Duncan Duo Show.

    [break]

    Andrew Duncan:              So, we’re back here, on 970WFLA and we’ve got Ken who’s been waiting patiently on line one in Zephyrhills. How can we help you, Ken?

    Ken:                                       Good morning, Sir.

    Andrew Duncan:              Good morning.

    Ken:                                       How are you doing?

    Andrew Duncan:              Doing great.

    Ken:                                       My daughter has a situation – her and her husband. I’m just calling for her. Her and her husband purchased a piece of land to build their home on and a gentleman held the note, gave them a deposit he offered for the property, they make their payments regularly. They’d had a house built on the property that paid for the house free and the clear and the portion that held the note and they were making payments every month. My daughter’s husband had some extra cash so they put an extra $6,000 down against the note and the note was sold to another party. And the original party failed to include the $6,000, evidently they kept the $6,000. My daughter is having a conference call with both parties tomorrow on the phone but it doesn’t sound like this is going to go good. They’re trying to wiggle out of it. What is recommended in a situation like this?

    Andrew Duncan:              Vince, I’ll let you to fill that one.

    Vince LoBue:                      Yeah. And I’m still…did they borrow the money? Is this for a primary residence? Is that the purpose of them taking out the loan?

    Ken:                                       Well, they are…they purchased the property. They gave them so much money down and they were paying $500 a month on the actual property. They had a home built, they paid for the home free and clear in cash because he sold the previous home.

    Vince LoBue:                      With their purpose to live there, correct?

    Ken:                                       Yes, they are living there. Yes.

    Vince LoBue:                      So, under Florida law – the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, any time a person incurs a debt for a house or purpose like to buy and to live there, it becomes illegal for a person – a creditor, to ask for an illegitimate or improper amount. Now, with that being said, I think your daughter should do the conference call. I think that it sounds like it might just be an accounting error and if they’re able to get it resolved without having to turn to an attorney, it sounds like it’s something that practically, they could do. But, legally, once… if they refused to count her $6,000 one way or the other, it could be a violation of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act because you have a creditor collecting on amounts that may not be legitimate. Of course, it would have to be investigated. Depending on the type of documentation and what they did.

    And something outside of it I think maybe needs to be looked at is the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. A lot of times when you have a home mortgage and it’s transferred, RESPA may or may not apply, as well, so it’s something else that could be looked at. If she does end up having an issue and she’d like to speak with somebody, we’re always happy to do an initial consultation for free. She can always contact our office: 866-PROTECT. You can find us on our website as well: protectyourfuture.com – we are always happy to speak with them. But I would tell her to go ahead with the conference call, though, first and see if they can work it out. And if not, it’s something that we might be able to look at.

    Ken:                                       Yeah. It sounds like the girl that is the accountant for the…pushing that really originally held a notice not being very cooperative. My daughter has sent her all the documentation she needed, copies of everything, the check, but she’s still being a real pain in the *** sending my daughter “It’s your fault, blah, blah, blah.” So, I’m afraid it’s probably going to get to a lawyer soon.

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, you know, and again so obviously check them out. They can help you with that a little further but I think they probably want to know what happens during that conference call first. But thank you so much for your call, Ken. We greatly appreciate and have a great rest of your Sunday.

    Ken:                                       Can I get the phone number for your office, Sir or something?

    Andrew Duncan:              It’s toll-free 866-PROTECT. The local number is 727-471-0039.

    Vince LoBue:                      Exactly.

    Ken:                                       Thank you very much.

    Vince LoBue:                      Absolutely and I’ll be happy to speak with you, Sir.

    Ken:                                       Thank you very much.

    Andrew Duncan:             Thanks Ken. So, again, you’re listening to the Duncan Duo Real Estate Show here, on 970WFLA. We continue to take your calls. If you have calls about questions: 990-9352 in Hillsborough, 461-9352 in Pinellas and toll-free 1-800-969-9352.

    I want to just give a quick update: Fannie Mae has issued new guidelines for investors. Investors in the downturn of the market were limited by how many properties they could buy but new changes took effect at least investors are limited by how many properties they could get mortgages on. Previously, Fannie Mae limited investors at ten mortgages on unoccupied residences and now, their new policy allows purchase of up to 20 properties by one investor with specific minimum criteria. Here’s the fine print: you must have a down-payment of 30 percent, no mortgage insurance is needed, an appraisal is not required, contributions from sellers and other interested party is limited to two percent, these are purchase loans only, no refinances, these are not second-homes, these are rental properties that are occupied and rented for cash flow. Properties 11 through 20, though, have to be Fannie Mae foreclosures. So, you can do up to 10 and then after 10 you’ve got to buy Fannie Mae foreclosures in order for them to continue giving you mortgages and then two or three K-type renovation loans are available through Fannie Mae finance partners. So, investors have to purchase the properties through the home-path program. We can certainly help you with that at our office. You can contact us at theduncanduo.com. We’ll be right back after a quick break here on the Duncan Duo Show.

    [break]

    Andrew Duncan:              We’re back here on 970WFLA and we’ve got Robert from line one who’s been waiting patiently in Tampa. He’s got some questions about a second mortgage. How can we help you, Robert?

    Robert:                                 Good morning, Sir.

    Andrew Duncan:              Good morning.

    Robert:                                 I have a second mortgage on my home. I have a first also which I refinanced through the HUD. I took it from a 30-year to a 26 which was what was left on my 30. That reduced my mortgage payment considerably. I’ve received the package from the second mortgage holder that asked me about questions about what my mortgages, who my mortgagor was, what my pay is, etc. That second mortgage is interest only at 9.5 percent.

    Andrew Duncan:              Ooh, that’s a big rate!

    Robert:                                 That’s huge. I filled out the paperwork and I’ve never been late on any mortgage payments. I bought the house in 2007 after I moved into the country from overseas. I was military. I put the house into my name only because my wife was from a foreign country and did not have her citizenship. Now she does. Now she’s on my first mortgage with me. I filled out all that paperwork and mailed it back, now we’re back in contact with the mortgage company and they said that they’re not interested in lowering my interest rate to help me; that there’s no programs available for me.

    Andrew Duncan:              OK.

    Robert:                                 My wife did lose her job about a year ago and my income has been reduced in half. Is there anything I can do to get refinance my 2nd.

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, I’ll tell you. Our mortgage lender Plant City Mortgages: you can check them out at plantcitymortgages.com. They’re familiar with a lot of the refinance programs in terms of…

    Robert:                                 They’re the ones who did me on the first loan HARP program

    Andrew Duncan:              On the first loan…

    Robert:                                 On my HARP program, yes.

    Andrew Duncan:              And they’ve pretty much said that there’s not a lot you can do on your second?

    Robert:                                 I didn’t even  to ask them, to be honest.

    Andrew Duncan:              I would ask them first before you take any other steps because even if they don’t have that mortgage on the second, they could look at options: is there a way; do you have an equity position? Do you not have an equity position? And then: are there other programs available? They’re really familiar with all the different refinance programs. But that’s a pretty high rate. Vince, what do you…?

    Vince LoBue:                      And I’m sorry: who did you say your second mortgage holder was?

    Robert:                                 I did use Plant city Mortgages  refinance the first and both mortgages were with Citi Group and the second mortgage is now still with Citi

    Andrew Duncan:              OK.

    Vince LoBue:                      So it’s with City. So, they’re – if you don’t mind me asking – about how much do you owe on that second?

    Robert:                                 I owe $17,000 at a $150 a month.

    Vince LoBue:                      Alright so there are some things that we can assist with, especially with second mortgages. And Andrew’s quite right: it will depend really on potentially your equity position and what you’re resources are.

    Robert:                                 The house is worth about half of what I paid for it even though my wife and I had put about probably $30,000 into it

    Vince LoBue:                      I am always sorry to hear if there’s any money that’s been sunk that may not be recoverable in a short term but on the $17,000 debt with Citi Mortgage, there is some very aggressive, non-bankruptcy options to look at paying off your debt for less than what you owe. And it would require probably about a thirty minute conversation to go through all the risk and consequences associated with it but in some instances second mortgages can be paid off for 20, 30, 40 percent of what is owed. So, depending on what your resources are, your tolerance for taking certain risks, there are some things we can do to help with second mortgages.

    Robert:                                 OK.

    Andrew Duncan:              And, obviously, I think talking to Plant City Mortgages, too, just to see if there are any other refinance programs that they’re aware of, another lender that will take on your second at a lower rate. It’s certainly a possibility. So I can give you two action plans. One is: talk to them again and two is: call Boss, Arrighi and Hoag. I think their local phone number is 727-471-0039 and they can maybe see what options you have. Because it’s something that will take a lot more than something we can answer in a couple of minutes on the show.

    Robert:                                 OK, Sir. Thank you very much.  I’ll call Plant City Mortgages and then I’ll contact the law group.

    Vince LoBue:                      Yes, it’s 727-471-0039. Thank you for your service, by the way, Sir. We appreciate that.

    Andrew Duncan:              Thanks, Robert.

    Robert:                                 Thank you. You’re welcome.

    Andrew Duncan:              So, again, you’re listening to the Duncan Duo Real Estate Show here, on 970WFLA. I want to read an open letter re: housing leader recovery, Dave Liniger, the Chairman and Founder of RE/MAX, wrote a letter to President Obama and Governor Romney this week. I thought it was pretty telling because I think that, as we’ve heard the debates and we’ve heard a lot about what’s going on in the real estate world, we haven’t heard a whole lot of other candidates talking about their plans for real estate. So, it’s going to take a minute. I’m going to read quickly through it but I think it’s pretty phenomenal. Think about it as you’re out there paying attention to what’s going on.

    We have just witnessed the last of three presidential debates in anticipation of elections now just 2 weeks away. Considering the depth of these debates and the months of political advertisements in this campaign, it is discouraging that there has not been a serious discussion about housing. As leaders, you ignore housing at our peril.

    Although the economy is recognized as the single most important issue in this campaign, and housing is commonly blamed for the recession and sluggish recovery, it is unimaginable that relevant solutions to housing issues have not been front and center. Over 3.5 million homes have been foreclosed on in the last four years, another 3 million are likely in the next four, one in 213 homes had a foreclosure filing in the third quarter, and over 10.8 million homes remain underwater with mortgages greater than their market value.

    Housing has always led the country out of the dark days of recession, but that has not happened this time. Still, housing does have the ability to promote a stronger overall recovery if it is allowed to do so. But it will take real political leadership in the White House and Congress to acknowledge this fact and take the appropriate steps.

    It has been a long and painful road for homeowners and real estate professionals alike, but market performance in recent months has everyone feeling a bit more optimistic. Prices are rising and many underwater homeowners have received a lifeline. But we’re not on solid ground just yet. Significant obstacles remain on the road to recovery.

    Simple steps would quickly increase home sales by another 700,000, create over a quarter of a million jobs and deposit millions of dollars into the economy. So, what are the obstacles?

    One aspect of the fiscal cliff you have not discussed is the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which is set to expire on December 31. If not extended, this has the potential of immediately reducing home sales by as much as 20%. Troubled homeowners who meet the qualifications for a loan modification or short sale are not likely to pursue either of these options if the remaining mortgage balance is considered taxable income.

    Many of us in real estate have long been promoting the short sale as a viable alternative to foreclosure. In 2012, short sales began to shed their reputation as a cumbersome and time-consuming process, and their numbers have been steadily increasing. This helped reduce foreclosures and kick-start a struggling housing market. Now, the transaction that serves as salvation for many families facing foreclosure will come to an abrupt halt.

    The CBO says a two-year extension will save distressed families about $2 billion. The average debt forgiveness in a short sale is $65,000. How are these struggling families going to pay taxes on this amount? Without debt relief they will eventually be forced into bankruptcy or foreclosure. What will the associated costs to society be then?

    In normal times, most of us would never consider forgiving unpaid tax bills, but these are not normal times. It is more important for our country to get housing on a solid footing, put people back to work and have an economy that everyone can be confident in again. Just like a debt relief policy that is more appropriate to another place and time, unrealistic lending standards are also slowing the recovery.

    Even with improving home sales, nearly 15% of sales contracts are falling through. This is largely the result of strict lending requirements. Obviously, we’re obsessed with fighting the last war. Today’s lending requirements may have prevented the housing crisis five years ago, but the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Otherwise creditworthy individuals are being denied or too intimidated to apply for a home loan.

    Financing appears to be getting more difficult, not less. In August, the average FICO score of a rejected mortgage application at Fannie and Freddie was 734, two points higher than one year ago. And the average down payment of a rejected applicant was 19%. Historically, these are numbers that would seem like a solid lending risk, but for some reason that’s not the case today.

    Additionally, requirements in the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act that would unreasonably define Qualified Mortgages will certainly have the unintended consequences of making mortgages more difficult to obtain and perhaps add to the cost of financing a home. Even the authors of this legislation have said this was not their intent.

    One proposal being considered that really shocks most of us in real estate is the elimination or reduction of the Mortgage Interest Deduction. This is not simply a loophole for the wealthy. It has been a mainstay of the middle class for many years, and by promoting homeownership it promotes a strong economy. Over 75% of homeowners utilize the deduction over the time of their ownership. Even a gradual elimination gives pause to many potential homeowners. This is the wrong approach at the wrong time.

    Our message to you is simple: “First, do no harm.” Do not disrupt the ability of a fragile housing market to positively impact a stalled economic recovery at this critical time. Housing is a powerful economic engine that can easily add a large number of jobs and cash to the overall economy if it is not prevented from doing so.

    The Debt Relief Act must be extended, reasonable lending standards established, housing-specific provisions of Dodd-Frank re-examined, and the mortgage interest deduction untouched. These steps will build a solid foundation, restore confidence, and provide clarity to lenders and relief to troubled homeowners. Take these simple steps and watch housing lead the country to real recovery, as it has many times in the past.

    President Obama and Governor Romney, you still have time to detail your vision. For many Americans, housing is still a crisis and they are anxiously waiting for solutions. Respectfully, Dave Liniger, Co-Founder and Chairman RE/MAX”

    I thought that was an awesome letter and I wanted to read it on air just because I think that we’re not hearing enough about housing in the debates and then what’s going on with the election. There are 9 days left. I am hoping that they pick up some slack and start talking about it a little bit more about their plans for housing.

    Vince LoBue:                      Yeah, I think more certainty in the real estate at any market but especially in the real estate market that’s struggling to some extent, certainty is always a good thing. I do think there are some questions, especially when we are talking about broad based changes to the tax policy: what exemptions are on the table, what deductions are on the table, but I just cannot see either candidate if elected not extending the Mortgage Forgiveness of Debt Relief Act.

    Andrew Duncan:              I hope so.

    Vince LoBue:                      Not cutting these mortgage deductions to a point where there’s huge saving graced for people around taxes.

    Andrew Duncan:              And, again, it’s not a loophole for the wealthy. This is the middle class. It’s the average home-buyer buying a $200,000 home. That deduction impacts whether or not they decide to buy or rent.

    Vince LoBue:                      I can tell you personally practically anybody you know people’s parents, many people have benefitted from these things and so it’s just hard to imagine that we’d allow these long stairs to our economy to expire a change in that way.

    Andrew Duncan:              I certainly hope so. We’ll be right back to wrap up the show, talk about a few new things we have on the agenda here on the Duncan Duo Real Estate Show.

    [break]

    Andrew Duncan:              We’re back here, talking about the local real estate market wrapping up the show. In case you haven’t been paying attention, there are large investment companies buying-up real estate across the Tampa Bay area. That trend is going to continue pretty much for the interim. One of the things that we’ve been doing is we have figured out what they’re looking for. If you’re out there and you’re into property and you’re thinking about selling it on the marketplace but you don’t want to have to deal with putting it on the market, dealing with the frustrations of that, we’d love the opportunity for you to contact us and we’ll see if one of these investors on the marketplace would like to make an offer on the property before it even hits the market. You can contact us on our website: theduncanduo.com and then our office phone number which is 813-359-8990.

    A lot of the investors out there in the marketplace are buying some of the same kind of inventory. So if you’re out there and you own a home, here’s kind of the criteria they’re looking for – and these investors are buying them at pretty close to retail prices, so you’re not dealing with someone who wants the low ball or buy at wholesale; they’re paying good prices for properties. They do buy them all cash, they close relatively quickly, they’re light on contingences and they’re really a homerun buyer or a seller out there who is thinking about selling because they need to buy or just because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of potentially listing the property or because, maybe seasonally, they think about it and they say: “You know, I don’t really want to sell it in the holidays.” So, maybe you could just sell directly to an investor.

    What they’re looking for: at least three bedroom, two-bath homes; they prefer at least a one-car garage; block construction; under $300,000 is their price point; they don’t really prefer properties in flood zones; they want to rent for 10 to 15 percent of the yield of the gross yield so if it’s $150,000 property and if it’d rent somewhere between 1,400 to 1,600 a month, that’s probably a property that they have interest in; they want a low or no OHA fees, low or no CDD fees and again, they’re buying all cash and all across the Tampa Bay area, so Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas Counties; they also don’t like flood zones but they’ll look at the A-E flood zone if the flood cost isn’t that high. Large portion of investors across Tampa Bay are buying up a huge portion of our real estate market. So, if you’re out there in that situation, thinking about selling your property and curious what this investor would pay, feel free to contact us on our website. You can also send me an email: Andrew@theduncanduo.com and we’ll certainly take a look at it and see if it’s an option for them.

    In other news: Fannie Mae has OK’d e-signatures on their REO offers. Finally, some of the mortgage lenders are moving towards the e-signature models. It’s been a huge process for us to undergo whenever we’re working with bank-owned properties and certain lenders to get original signatures because today everyone wants to kind of go with the technology of the moment and the paperless ‘save the trees’ operation and we’ve had hard challenges with that. But now Fannie finally is stepping up and moving into the 21st century.

    Vince LoBue:                      Andrew, I can tell you across the State Court system, all Florida lawyers are undergoing the e-filing change right now where we’re going to a State-wide electronic filing system. Even the courts have recognized that we need to cut down on the stuff and go to technology-based infrastructure and process.

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, it’s just the way to go and in all honesty it helps to organize things more appropriately and I think it’s better track-able because you can track the IP address, you can track…Anyone could write someone’s name on a piece of paper – you would never know it. The e-signature model is more secure. It’s safer.

    I talk about it every week: our Smoking Hot Deals website. It’s tampabaysmokingdeals.com [sound effect] and if you look at the tampabaysmokingdeals.com, you’re going to find 50 to 70 of the best bargain priced homes in the market. Everything from foreclosures, short sale, waterfront, condos, all three Counties: you’re looking at Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties from South Tampa up to New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, over to Pinellas County, the beaches, Tierra Verde. We go through and hand-pick some of the best bargains in the marketplace. So, again, that website is: tampabaysmokingdeals.com and check it out. You can also search the entire MLS on that website.

    The other website I’d like to talk about: tampamarketanalysis.com. If you’re out there in a home and you thought about selling it maybe a year or two ago and you’re curious as to what your chances of selling it are today and you couldn’t then, go on there and fill out the form at tampamarketanalysis.com. It’s going to provide an evaluation – and comparable sales that are in my opinion better than what Zillow and Trulia and some of the major websites provide. Again, it’s tampamarketanalysis.com. It sends you a monthly report to keep you updated on what’s going on in your neighborhood and your home values.

    So, thanks so much for tuning in to the Duncan Duo Real Estate Show. Next week we will be here with Richard Vazquez from Artisan Insurance to talk about home-owners insurance as well as updates on the real estate market. Thank you for tuning in. Have a great rest of your Sunday.

    Fannie Mae will now allow investors to have 20 mortgages

     

    Talks w/ Attorney Vince LoBue Boss & Arrighi – illegal debt collection practices