palm beach county: SHORT SELLER STILL MUST DECLARE INCOME ON SALE! - 04/18/08 12:25 AM
The Mystery of income you can't spend - but do you have to declare it?
When DON'T you have to report forgiven debt (from a short sale, deed in lieu or foreclosure with release from the lender) as income?
One of the biggest issues that potential short sellers and those in foreclosure ask me is whether they have to get a 1099 for any forgiven debt from their lender.  Without a single exception so far, every debtor (borrower) has assumed that if they can avoid a report from their lender that they are being forgiven a portion of the mortgage debt, … (7 comments)

palm beach county: OBSERVATIONS ON A WEEK AT WORK - A RAMBLE - 03/28/08 02:01 PM
What a week!
Mortgage foreclosure White Knights targeted by the Florida Attorney General (no surprise there - just why did it take so long?!!!)
CNN special report on the Mortgage Meltdown and it being second only to the Great Depression.
Record foreclosures expected to continue to break records through 2008 and into 2009.
But heck - its Friday night and after working 5 - 19 hour days in a row I'm going to take Saturday off!
From the perch here in West Palm Beach things look like the stock market - volatility galore.  Usually this means that there is a big change on the horizon. The … (0 comments)

palm beach county: SHORT SALE FLIP - QUESTIONABLE METHODS - 03/18/08 02:11 PM
SHORT SALE FLIP - QUESTIONABLE METHODS
This article is a follow up to an issue discussed in December titled Short Sales and Title Insurance - Critical Look at Hybrid Closing Schemes.
I am representing an ultimate buyer on a short sale "flip" that raised some eyebrows and got me to looking carefully on how it is put together.  The ultimate buyer came to me to assist in legal representation and I was very surprised on how it was structured to the utter disadvantage to the ultimate buyer.  In this example, the ultimate buyer is my client; the seller is the flipping … (50 comments)

palm beach county: SALES FIGURES FOR JANUARY IN SOUTH FLORIDA - DOWN DOWN DOWN - 02/25/08 01:47 PM
Today's South Florida Business Journal published an article today showing the across the board declines in sales activity in the South Florida and near South Florida geographic area.
One bright spot - for what it is worth - is an increase in prices for condo sales in Miami.
Presently I can find no published data on the volume of short sales or pre-foreclosure sales and that information is, to my knowledge, not available since each lender keeps its own data and most of the information would not correlate to public record or courthouse filings.
Has the bottom of the market been reached?  Apparently not yet, … (1 comments)

palm beach county: FORM RELEASED BY IRS FOR DEBT RELIEF ACT FILING - 02/21/08 05:49 PM
New IRS Form for Filing for Debt Relief
The form for filing for tax relief under the Mortgage Forgeiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 has been released and is available online.  Click HERE for the form.
Information about the relief available - which is available only to primary residences that incurred the tax event - was set forth in my article.  Consult your tax professional when filing this form!
Richard Zaretsky, Esq., RICHARD P. ZARETSKY P.A. ATTORNEYS AT LAW, 1655 PALM BEACH LAKES BLVD, SUITE 900, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA 33401, PHONE 561 689 6660  RPZ99@FLORIDA-COUNSEL.COM - FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFIED IN REAL ESTATE … (3 comments)

palm beach county: FILING FORM RELEASED BY IRS FOR DEBT RELIEF ACT - 02/21/08 05:47 PM
New IRS Form for Filing for Debt Relief
The form for filing for tax relief under the Mortgage Forgeiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 has been released and is available online.  Click HERE for the form.
Information about the relief available - which is available only to primary residences that incurred the tax event - was set forth in my article about the legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2008.
Consult your tax professional when filing this form!
Remember - the Act gives no relief to investors and the relief is limited to losses under the amount of the funds borrowed for the initial … (4 comments)

palm beach county: No-Conflict Considerations in Short Sale Fees - 02/17/08 02:53 AM
No-Conflict Considerations in Short Sale Fees
As short sales and pre-foreclosure assistance servicers proliferate, the type, style and amount of fees that these individuals and companies charge has become ingenious and varied.  This article discusses the rights and wrongs regarding the most popular of the charging methods.
A short sale and pre-foreclosure servicer for our definitional purposes will be called the Short Sale Servicer.  The services offered usually include some mixture of collecting financial information from the "financially stricken borrower", getting current valuations on the mortgaged property, finding a realtor or working with a realtor to find a buyer, and finally … (18 comments)

palm beach county: TOO MUCH MONEY IN THE BANK TO DO A SHORT SALE? - ECONOMIC LOGIC - 02/09/08 04:31 AM
This week I spoke with several people that wanted to do a short sale of investment property that is upside down in value.  They are sick and tired of the short fall on rental income (if they are lucky to have a renter that actually pays rent) vs the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.
The "short sale" phenomenon is giving some upside down investors the belief that they can get out of the mortgage by getting the property sold for less than the mortgage indebtedness and the bank will share in that loss.
I have spoken in the past about … (40 comments)

palm beach county: WHAT DO I DO? -- I'M UNABLE TO PAY MY MORTGAGE - 01/12/08 01:46 PM
Most Common Question: "What do I do? - I can't pay my mortgage"
As an attorney, I receive plenty of telephone calls and visits from people that are no longer able to pay their mortgage on their home or investment property.  They all have endless questions and usually tell me they are getting all sorts of advice that they don't like.  They come to me to find their BEST solution, and I suppose they hope I am some sort of magician that can create an answer that they like.
The analysis of the problem is the first order of business.  These questions revolve … (12 comments)

palm beach county: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007- Another Look - 01/01/08 04:14 AM
I have been getting a lot of calls and emails about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.  The new law became effective today, and applies to 1099's on short sales or foreclosures retroactive to January 1, 2007.
Before the Act was passed, one of the rewards for a homeowner helping the lender keep the home out of foreclosure and minimizing the enevitable monetary loss to the lender, was that the homeowner at the end of the process was saddled with a huge income tax bill compliments of a Form 1099 unearned income statement.
For detailed information and the text of the … (7 comments)

palm beach county: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007- Another Look - 01/01/08 04:13 AM
I have been getting a lot of calls and emails about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.  The new law became effective today, and applies to 1099's on short sales or foreclosures retroactive to January 1, 2007.
Before the Act was passed, one of the rewards for a homeowner helping the lender keep the home out of foreclosure and minimizing the enevitable monetary loss to the lender, was that the homeowner at the end of the process was saddled with a huge income tax bill compliments of a Form 1099 unearned income statement.
For detailed information and the text of the … (2 comments)

palm beach county: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007- Another Look - 01/01/08 04:11 AM
I have been getting a lot of calls and emails about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.  The new law became effective today, and applies to 1099's on short sales or foreclosures retroactive to January 1, 2007.
Before the Act was passed, one of the rewards for a homeowner helping the lender keep the home out of foreclosure and minimizing the enevitable monetary loss to the lender, was that the homeowner at the end of the process was saddled with a huge income tax bill compliments of a Form 1099 unearned income statement.
For detailed information and the text of the … (2 comments)

palm beach county: Underwater - The Cycle Repeats Itself - 12/02/07 03:11 AM
I cannot be surprised at the stories in the newspapers about homeowners, investors and even commercial property owners being "Underwater" with today's depressed real estate market values.  Many people that own real estate today were just pre-teens when the last deep cycle occurred.  Or if they are older, they were not in the real estate market at that previous time.
People come to me every day about short sales and the "bad deal" they got themselves into because the mortgage is greater than the current value - thus they are "underwater".  Usually they want some way out since they don't want the … (2 comments)

palm beach county: WHO CONTROLS THE SHORT SALE? - 11/13/07 01:59 PM
WHO CONTROLS THE SHORT SALE?
Who Controls the Short Sale?
In this environment of the short sale it seems apparent that the bank controls the sale.  Some might say the buyer controls the sale.  My opinion is that both statements are primarily incorrect.  The seller owns the house.  The seller must sign the contract.  The seller must sign the deed.  Of course, if the seller can't sell and the bank forecloses, then the bank will likely have the REO and the sale is now with them - as the new owner.  The issue is that the bank is the "reluctant" owner.  … (3 comments)

palm beach county: Who Controls the Short Sale? - 11/11/07 11:38 AM
In this environment of the short sale it seems apparent that the bank controls the sale.  Some might say the buyer controls the sale.  My opinion is that both statements are primarily incorrect.  The seller owns the house.  The seller must sign the contract.  The seller must sign the deed.  Of course, if the seller can't sell and the bank forecloses, then the bank will likely have the REO and the sale is now with them - as the new owner.  The issue is that the bank is the "reluctant" owner.  The bank has already determined (by working with the seller … (7 comments)

palm beach county: Beware the White Knight! - 11/04/07 12:44 AM
Beware the WHITE KNIGHT -
R. Ford McDonald, Senior Claims Counsel at Attorneys Title Insurance Fund, wrote an article on this subject recently and I would like to share some of the tidbits from it.
Apparently there are lots of "White Knight Claims" being made against title insurance policies.  Here are some of the fact patterns:
1.  Fraud in the Inducement:
                        A homeowner who is in financial distress for non-payment of the mortgage or taxes or whatever, is contacted by a company that promises to "save you from foreclosure" or whatever.  They promise the homeowner that they will help them … (6 comments)

palm beach county: Recent news article from South Florida on Short Sales - 11/03/07 08:14 AM
 
Here is a recent South Florida news article link - on short sales:
 http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/news.html?news_id=45571
Richard Zaretsky, Esq., RICHARD P. ZARETSKY P.A. ATTORNEYS AT LAW, 1655 PALM BEACH LAKES BLVD, SUITE 900, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA 33401, PHONE 561 689 6660  RPZ99@FLORIDA-COUNSEL.COM - FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFIED IN REAL ESTATE LAW
 
(1 comments)

palm beach county: DON'T LOSE YOUR HOME TO IDENTITY THEFT~~~ a TRUE STORY - 11/03/07 02:38 AM
FRAUD - LOSING YOUR HOME - IDENTITY THEFT
It is a day past Halloween, but here is a scary TRUE story:
My office is presently working on a case that is so prevalent that I thought posting it on my blog would be helpful.  The matter involves a single person who bought a home 5 years ago. 
It is a nice house, in a great community.  He bought is for investment, paying about $400,000 and getting an 80% mortgage.  It is his second home in South Florida, and his other home is about 5 miles away, but that is seldom used as … (0 comments)

 
Richard Zaretsky, Florida Real Estate Attorney (THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY) Rainmaker large

Richard Zaretsky

Florida Real Estate Attorney

West Palm Beach, FL

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THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY

Address: 1615 Forum Place, Suite 3A, West Palm Beach, Fl, 33401

Office: 5616896660 x 107

Mobile: (561) 329-2279

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