October, 2012:

Will I have to pay income taxes on my short sale?

According to the IRS, forgiven or written-off mortgage debt is the same as taxable income. If you complete a short sale on your property, the difference between the lender’s net and the mortgage balance due is referred to as the deficiency.  The lender is required to issue a 1099 if they are writing off the deficiency.  This is often referred to as “phantom tax” as you could end up owing taxes for money that you did not actually receive.

However, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 provides for certain levels of insulation against the phantom tax, at least in the case of your primary residence. Vacation properties would not qualify under the act. The bad news?  Unless extended by Congress, this act will expire at the end of the year.  For more, visit: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/The-Mortgage-Forgiveness-Debt-Relief-Act-and-Debt-Cancellation


Amendment 4 – Good for Florida!

Amendment 4 Can Help!

  Encourages First-Time Homebuyers
  Amendment 4 offers property tax relief for first-time homebuyers, responsibly encouraging Floridians to buy homes, which grows our economy. 
  Protects Against Rising Property Taxes
  Right now, cities and counties can raise your property taxes, even if the value of your home drops. Amendment 4 allows the Legislature to put an end to property tax increases on homeowners if the value of the home does drop. 
  Helps Small Businesses & Creates Jobs
  Amendment 4 helps small businesses by ensuring that property taxes for non-homestead properties can not increase by more than 5% each year,instead of 10% per year.And, according to Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan research group, Amendment 4 would create over 20,000 new jobs in Florida. 

That’s something Florida just can’t afford to pass up.




On November 6th,

Vote Yes On Amendment 4!




What’s the best way to raise my credit score when applying for a mortgage?

Improving your credit (FICO) score quickly can be akin to turning a battleship on a dime. It can be difficult. The time to begin credit score management is months before you make loan application.

However, a good loan officer can help you get “re-scored” based on errors and certain changes, but generally speaking, paying your bills on time and keeping outstanding debt levels low are the key items considered in determining your overall credit score. And, do not close accounts that you’ve successfully paid off. Available unused credit is good for your score as well!

For more on this topic or for a list of great local loan officers, please email us at smith@realtor.com