How I settled with American Express

The advice I gleaned from this forum was so helpful I wanted to share my successful outcome.

I stopped paying my Amex about 18 months ago because of major business problems. After interest and charges I ended 2012 owing Amex almost 50K. I called them every few weeks and had told them I was trying to work things out and they offered payment plans and such, but mostly the minimum payment was in the 10K range which wasn’t even a slight possibility. At that point I started reading online after considering bankruptcy and other options. (more…)

HARP and HAMP Extended Until 2016

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director, Mel Watt recently attended a town hall meeting in Chicago to discuss the future of Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Watt has additionally made future plans to hold similar events in Atlanta, Detroit and Miami.

The Status of HARP

Considering that FHFA has made the claim that there are currently an estimated 650,000 HARP-eligible borrowers across the country that would benefit from the program, you would think that a lot more borrowers would have already received assistance. Many more believe that there are far more whom need to be assisted, but just do not qualify. When he first took office this year, Watt had commented that expanding HARP’s eligibility parameters would only help a small number of borrowers. (more…)

How to buy a foreclosed home

Foreclosed homes are properties that have been seized by the bank after a mortgage borrower has defaulted on their loan contract by not making the agreed payments. By law, the lender can take the home back through a foreclosure legal action, in which they can then evict the defaulted borrower from the home and then resell the property.

This is the simple definition of a foreclosed home, and these properties are often offered at a lower price than a typical owner sold home on the market. These foreclosed properties can be a big homebuyer magnet because of this very reason. (more…)

Loan Modification Principle Reductions and Taxes

A loan modification can be simply defined as a modification or change in your current mortgage contract with your current lender. These changes are usually only done when there is a risk of foreclosure, in which the lender makes the modification as a form of loss mitigation to prevent more losses on the loan.

A typical loan modification is normally in the form of an interest rate reduction, and/or late fees tacked on to the borrowers mortgage balance. Some lenders may also agree to what is called a “mortgage principle reduction.”

The definition of a mortgage principle reduction, is when the lender agrees to forgive part of the mortgage balance owed, in order for the borrower to afford the loan payments. For example, the homeowner may currently owe $300,000, and the lender agrees to forgive $100,000 which would bring the mortgage balance down to $200,000. (more…)

New IRS Information Clarifies California Short Sale Guidance

In a recent letter to California Senator Boxer, the IRS clarified the tax rules for California homeowners to treat nonrecourse debt in a short sale, the same way we treat nonrecourse debt in a foreclosure.

The new letter states, in part:

Section 580b(a)(3) of the California’s Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) provides that: (more…)

First time homebuyer state tax credits

The federal first-time homebuyer tax credit programs expired near the end of 2011, but there is still tax help out there depending on the state or county where you live. For example, states such as Delaware, Texas, Kentucky and many more states have local homebuyer tax credit programs that you can take advantage of. Other states like California had discontinued their program right around the same time when the federal programs were discontinued.