Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

Blue butterfly on blue flowerIn December of 2007 Congress signed into law the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Under regular circumstances, when a lender chooses to forgive all or part of a borrower’s debt, the forgiven amount is considered income and the borrower is liable to be taxed. This law offers relief to the homeowner in that it extends relief for three years, covering debts discharged through calendar year 2012. Amendments have been made to remove tax liability and allow the borrower and lender to work together to find a common and beneficial solution for both parties. This debt relief is limited to primary residences only and the amount of forgiven mortgage debt allowed to be excluded from income tax is $2 million per year. For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act go to the I.R.S. website.

What You Need To Know To Start Your First Compost Pile

by lheraty
Spring gardenHow is it that people turn garden waste and kitchen scraps into “black gold” that they can use in and on the soil around their trees, flowers, shrubs, vegetables and plants? The rotting process that happens when organic materials are piled on top of one another, layered and kept moist produces the best thing in the world for things that grow: compost. Compost that is placed on the soil’s surface actually feeds the soil and helps it to drain better. It also attracts worms and causes all kinds of microbial activity, which is so healthy for plants. Here are simple steps to get started:
  1. Find a spot for your pile, away from vegetation and in a somewhat sunny spot.
  2. Construct a wire cage that is a least 3′ X 3′.
  3. Create a base of broken twigs. This allows air flow and drainage at the bottom of the pile.
  4. Add a layer of leaves. Try to mix green and brown together. Green is nitrogen-rich and brown is carbon-rich. Add kitchen scraps too (never animal products as they will attract rodents).
  5. You can speed up the decomposition process by adding one cup of blood meal, or finished compost which already has all of the necessary micro-organisms and bacterias.
  6. Drizzle the pile with water to keep it moist and turn it.
For more information about composting see Eartheasy.
Scattered MoneyThe days when a financial advisor counseled a homeowner to keep a $50,000 home equity line of credit (Heloc) open as a financial cushion, are over. As the economy, and subsequently the housing market, have declined lenders are making it much more difficult for homeowners to qualify. Rest assured if you do, you will pay much more interest than you would have even just a year ago. In most states, the following is what you will be expected to document for most lenders to qualify you for a Heloc:
  • A credit score of at least 720
  • A stable income that can be documented
  • Proof that you have more than 20% equity in your home
  • A healthy combined debt-to-income ratio
The following things are now generally required to qualify for a traditional first mortgage:
  • The monthly payment (including interest, tax, insurance and common fees) must be 31% or less of your gross monthly income
  • Proof of a healthy combined debt-to income ratio (this includes credit card payments and car loans). If this monthly debt is over 38% of your monthly income, you will not be eligible.

5259 Grapevine Dr.

by crussell
Beautiful all brick executive home on golf course, open plan, sun room included SF, basement plumbed for bath and we bar, gas starter on fire place, gorgeous kitchen, sitting area in master bedroom, great view from back of golf course, gas grill included in appliances
Bud of Rose of SharonAlways beautiful, the following shrubs should be taken into consideration when you want to improve your home’s landscaping. These shrubs were found on almost every homestead owned by our grandparents. They have not fallen out of favor for any reason, only forgotten in the excitement that came with the many new cultivars that are now available.
  • Hydrangea: Tolerant of most soil types but sensitive to drought and hot sun, this shrub has many flower colors available and the newer ‘Endless Summer’ series bloom all summer long.
  • Spirea: Tolerant of most soils, these hardy deciduous shrubs come in many colors and show mounds of flowers come springtime that last all summer long.
  • Lilac: Hundreds of cultivars are available, but most prefer neutral soil and some shade. Known for their heady scented flowers, they make great vase cuttings.
  • Viburnum: With their beautiful springtime display, these smell wonderful and are favored by birds. If you do choose one, leave room for expansion as they tend to spread wider than their height.
  • Hibiscus:  Rose-of-Sharon never disappoint with their gorgeous late-summer flowers. They are very adaptable and easy to grow.

Options For Foreclosure: Part II

by lheraty
Old Antique ClockWith the large number of foreclosures that are occurring all over the United States, people should know the many options they have to avoid one. Here are additional options (Part II.) for foreclosure:
  • Rent the Property: If your mortgage payment is low enough that market rent will cover it, this option will allow you to keep your property indefinitely.
  • Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure: Sometimes known as a “friendly foreclosure”, because it allows the homeowner to return the property to the lender. It does require lender approval, and the homeowner must vacate the property.
  • Bankruptcy: If the homeowner has non-mortgage debts whose payments are causing them to fall short of paying their mortgage, a personal bankruptcy will eliminate these debts. Bankruptcy can be very costly.
  • Refinance: If homeowner has sufficient equity in the home and their credit is still good, a refinance is a possibility. In some cases it may lower payments, but it is an expensive process.
  • Service members Civil Relief Act (Military Personnel Only): If a an active member of the military is experiencing financial distress, they could qualify for lower payments on all their consumer debt as well as mortgage payments.

Options For Foreclosure: Part I

by lheraty
Old Antique Clock Today in the United States there are more and more homeowners facing the devastating financial challenge of foreclosure. Many times it can be avoided. Here are some options (Part I.) for foreclosure, along with a short explanation of each. Reinstatement: This option is extremely simple, but the most difficult. The homeowner asks the mortgage company the total amount owed and pays it all, including fines and fees. It does not require approval, and lenders will allow this up to the day before the final foreclosure sale. Forbearance or Repayment plan: This is when a homeowner negotiates repaying their back payments over a period of time. Usually, the homeowner makes their current payment as well as a portion of the back payments owed. Most lenders require homeowners to be qualified for this option. Mortgage Modification: This plan is when either the interest rate of the loan, the principal balance or the term of the loan is reduced. The result is generally a lower, more affordable payment for the homeowner. Homeowners need to qualify for this option and must supply all necessary documentation, while the lender has to be actively pursuing modifications.

Avoiding Possible Short Sale Mistakes: Part II

by lheraty
Artificial FlowerConsidering a short sale can be a daunting task if you are not armed with all of the necessary information regarding this type of transaction. Following are additional mistakes or problems that can be avoided if you know what to look for.
  • Time: There never seems to be enough of it when conducting a short sale. Your agent needs to understand the local foreclosure laws so that you have an estimated timeline. Also, be sure that your agent can communicate effectively with your lender so you can stall a foreclosure by getting more time to negotiate a short sale. Always provide your agent with accurate information as to how many payments you may have missed and any correspondence you have from your lender.
  • You must submit the deal properly: Following the directions that you receive for submission is imperative. If you are asked to fax your file, then fax the file and send a hard copy in the mail. If they ask for two copies, send two, and so on. If you have a contract and have gathered all of your information, the last thing you want is for no one to see it and the deal falls apart.
  • The buyer’s offer is too low: A short sale is not a fire sale! A lender still will only approve a deal that is more attractive to them than a foreclosure. Make sure you present only the most properly negotiated offers.
  • The buyer’s contract is not strong enough: You may find yourself with offers from unqualified buyers. Don’t forget to ask for verification from a buyer that they have been pre approved for financing.
FlowersConsidering a short sale can be a daunting task because it is a bit more complicated than a traditional home sale. Knowing what some of the common short sale mistakes are and their solutions can be very helpful for a successful outcome. Here are some of the most common mistakes made with this type of transaction, and their solutions:
  • The property is not priced correctly: Be sure that your agent takes you through a detailed listing price strategy so you know exactly where your home should be priced due to its current condition, the other current sales in your area, and how much time you have left to sell.
  • The short sale Proposal is not fully completed: Be sure that you fully understand the short sale process and exactly what your lender is looking for, so that you can present a complete and cohesive Proposal to your lender.
  • Not Enough Follow Up and Communication: Make sure that your agent is following up with everyone involved during each step of your short sale, so that you know right away if your file has been delayed.
Old watch and rusty keyIf you currently are in a situation where you must sell your home and you owe more on your home than what it is worth to sell, a short sale can be a very good solution to your problem. Many myths have evolved over time, but understanding today’s reality is a way to help yourself. Seven short sale myths are:
  1. Short sales are impossible and never get approved. It is true that short sales are more difficult but they are not impossible. A Certified Distressed Property Expert has extensive training to help homeowners in distress.
  2. Banks Don’t Accept Short Sales. In reality, banks are doing whatever they can to avoid a foreclosure.
  3. You must be behind on your mortgage to negotiate a short sale. Many lenders today focus on verifiable hardship, monthly cash flow shortfall and insolvency - not just people in default.
  4. Buyers Avoid Short Sales. Many agents report that buyers call them looking for short sales. Short sales are becoming synonymous with a “good deal”, specifically with international buyers.
  5. Listing your home as a short sale is embarrassing. Recent estimates state that 1 out of 5 homeowners in the U.S. is in this situation. You are not alone!
  6. Banks prefer to foreclose. Banks do NOT want to foreclose. Banks, investors and the federal government have all publicly stated that if a person qualifies for a short sale, then the deal needs to be considered.
  7. There is not enough time to negotiate a short sale before my foreclosure. Many lenders today will stall a foreclosure up to the final day of the process, with a legitimate contract.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11




Contact Information

Photo of Cathy Russell Real Estate
Cathy Russell
The Russell Company
2522 Covington St.
West Lafayette IN 47906
(765) 426-7000
(765) 335-5588
Fax: (765) 497-1003