From the category archives:

The Financials

Understanding Mello-Roos taxes

October 31, 2011

Here’s a primer from Chicago Title explaining Mello-Roos taxes. It’s a somewhat esoteric topic within real estate circles. However, it’s highly relevant if you were buying in, say, Alameda where many properties there are subject to Mello-Roos.

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1031 exchanges and property development

October 24, 2011

Can a 1031 exchange be used to develop property? James Callejas of IPX 1031 answers this in their latest newsletter: Generally, development activities will disallow the use of section 1031 to defer capital gain taxes. However, as a result of a few Private Letter Rulings (PLRs) issued a few years ago, it may be possible […]

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Taxation and real estate

September 12, 2011

James Callejas of IPX 1031 spoke at my office last week, giving a very insightful primer on taxation and real estate. He opened with commentary on the 1031 exchange business…before shifting into a fast-paced overview of recent federal tax policy changes, as they impact real estate-related wealth creation. (And of course, such changes may better […]

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Loans for foreign nationals

September 5, 2011

On occasion, I meet overseas buyers looking in the Bay Area. They often want to purchase something for their children—either attending college or starting a job here. Many ask whether there exist any financing options. So when Phyllis Lau from HSBC in Oakland Chinatown called me the other day to introduce their special foreign national […]

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New law on short sales & deficiency judgment

August 19, 2011

Effective last July 15th, SB 458 expanded protection from deficiency judgment to sellers engaged in a short sale. Under the previous law—SB 931 passed in 2010, a first mortgage holder could accept an agreed-upon short sale payment as full payment for the outstanding balance of the loan. SB 458 now expands this to junior liens. […]

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Understanding mechanics liens

August 8, 2011

Here’s a helpful primer from Chicago Title regarding mechanics liens. Buyers who purchase property that have undergone recent renovations or repair should be wary of mechanics liens. Acquiring a property free of mechanics liens at the close of escrow is no guarantee they couldn’t emerge at a later date and hold the new homeowner responsible. […]

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New RESPA rules & loan origination

July 10, 2011

Here’s a helpful primer from Chicago Title regarding the new RESPA rules’ effect on the mortgage industry. These rules were designed to build more transparency in the lending process prior to close of escrow. This may make for pretty dry reading. However, with these updates—though some may deem complications—to the mechanics of the closing documents, […]

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Downpayment assistance loan program

June 27, 2011

Heidi Williams of Cobalt Financial spoke at an Oakland Association of Realtors meeting about the CHF Access loan program. It’s geared toward low- to moderate-income borrowers and combines a 30-year fixed rate FHA loan with downpayment and/or closing cost assistance in the form of a fixed-rate second mortgage. I wasn’t able to attend the Heidi […]

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Chicago Title – tax impound accounts

May 31, 2011

Here’s a helpful primer from Chicago Title regarding escrow impound accounts. My experience has shown that most buyers don’t opt to establish one at closing. A few did in the rare instances where the lender required it—in the case of a few condo purchases.

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Home energy rating system (HERS) program

April 29, 2011

Want to market the energy efficiency of a property you’re about to sell? Or determine that information on a prewar bungalow you’re about to buy? Then you may be interested in the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Program. Our state’s vast stock of older, energy-inefficient housing is a primary consumer of energy, and the California […]

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