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So You Wanna Buy A Foreclosure?

A frequent question I receive at ChristianMoney.com is how to buy a foreclosed home. Let me first start by making clear that stories of homes for one dollar are mostly urban legends. There are some exceptions, such as the abandoned inner city homes offered for $1 in Detroit. Although it is highly unlikely that you will buy a home for $1, you can see discounts of 50 to 60 percent of what a home sold for just five years ago. The four windows of opportunity to purchase a distressed home: 1. Pre-Foreclosure A homeowner has fallen behind on their payments,... Read more →


Foreclosure Crisis - What The Latest Developments Really Mean

In my last article, I addressed the latest chapter in the foreclosure crisis. Banks and mortgage companies announced last week that they intend to freeze all foreclosure proceedings. The self-imposed moratorium was due to serious questions that have been raised about the legitimacy of legal documents being filed by some lenders. Just a few days later, the major banks have now decided that perhaps they have overreacted and now they are poised to begin foreclosing again. This is extremely confusing, even to those of us that cover financial news for a living. We are definitely in uncharted territory here. Those... Read more →


The New Foreclosure Mess

You may have heard the news last week that several major banks decided once again to put a moratorium on foreclosures. This time, the reason has to do with one might called legal technicalities. You know all that crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s stuff. In recent months, courts in several states have become aware of serious flaws with the documents banks are presenting in court. At the center of the problem are bank employees being required to manage hundreds of foreclosure cases and sign thousands of legal filings. Some bank employees were reportedly signing as many as 8,000... Read more →


Rethinking The Thirty Year Mortgage

Perhaps the single most impactful decision a consumer can make is to choose a 15 year mortgage rather than a 30 year. I have held financial workshops all around the United States and each time I've covered this topic my audiences have been universally surprised. Even the most educated of those I have discussed this with have scratched their head wondering why most people opt for a 30 year mortgage when the difference in monthly payment is so modest. This is probably just one of those financial traditions that most people go along with without questioning it. A home purchase... Read more →


Is It Time To Consider Refinancing Again?

Mortgage rates have dropped to nearly a 40 year low. The last time rates were this low was back in 1971. Many have refinanced their homes in recent years but are now considering refinancing yet again. Simply because you can achieve a lower rate on your current mortgage does not necessarily mean that you should refinance. Closing Costs One of the largest factors in refinancing are the closing costs. Consider the following example: Current Mortgage Rate Of 5.75% on a $250,000 mortgage would equal a monthly payment of about $1,458. New Mortgage Rate of 4.75% would lower the monthly payment... Read more →


How To Earn Money By Paying Your Neighbor's Past Due Taxes

What investment will pay you 18 percent or more per year on your money? It is called a tax lien (or tax deed), and it is growing in popularity as more traditional investments have fallen flat in recent years. The concept is actually not that complicated. If you own real estate , you realize that each year the value of your property is assessed and then you are sent a property tax bill. The process varies widely, but most states provide a window of time during which you can pay your taxes. In Florida, if we pay real estate taxes... Read more →


How To Sell Your Home in 5 Days

The book, How To Sell Your Home in 5 Days by Bill Effros, has sold thousands of copies every year for more than a decade. Effros' book is getting more interest than ever these days from homeowners trying to sell their house in what has become a very slow real estate market. Statistics from many parts of the country indicate that it may take six months or longer for a typical home to sell . Sell your house in 5 days or wait six months, easy decision, right? The Effros book outlines an auction process that sells a home to... Read more →


The Long and The Short of Short Sales

The latest buzz words in the financial press are short sale. Just what is a short sale? Simply stated, a short sale occurs when the mortgage holder on a property agrees to accept less than what they are owed in order to facilitate a sale of the property. You may have heard the term “upside down” when referencing a homeowner that owes more on a property than it is worth. These are the circumstances under which a short sale would be pursued. Many real estate agents have become familiar with the short sale process, and may even offer to do... Read more →


Jim, I Have Been Seeing A Lot Of TV Infomercials About Foreclosures. What Are Your Thoughts On Buying Foreclosures At This Time?

Yes, the infomercial guys are really starting to push foreclosure investing. I have an e Book on this topic available for only $9.95, which will give you everything you to know to get started with finding and buying foreclosures (a far better deal that you will find through the TV infomercials). Jim's Foreclosure e Book The major drawback involved with buying foreclosures is that you will likely need to buy the property and hold it for at least 2 to 3 years. This is why my primary recommendation on buying foreclosures is for people to use this as a strategy... Read more →


Jim, We Just Sold Our Home. We Lived In It For 7 Years, But Then We Rented It Out For One Year Prior To Selling. Is Our Gain Of $100,000 Subject To Capital Gains Taxes or Not? I Can't Seem To Get A Straight Answer From Anyone.

I am not sure why you would be having such a difficult time getting an answer to this question. Quoting from IRS Publication 523: “To exclude gain under the rules in this publication, you generally must have owned and lived in the property as your main home for at least 2 years during the 5-year period ending on the date of sale.” If you lived in the property for 2 of the most recent five years, your gain would not be subject to taxes. If you have taken depreciation for the one year you rented out the home, you would... Read more →


Jim, I Have Been Seeing A Lot Of Infomercials On TV About Foreclosure Investing. What Are Your Thoughts On Buying Foreclosures?

Yes, the infomercial guys are really starting to push foreclosure investing. I have an e Book on this topic available for only $9.95, which will give you everything you to know to get started with finding and buying foreclosures (a far better deal that you will find through the TV infomercials). Jim's Foreclosure e Book The major drawback involved with buying foreclosures is that you will likely need to buy the property and hold it for at least 2 to 3 years. This is why my primary recommendation on buying foreclosures is for people to use this as a strategy... Read more →


Jim, I Am In The Market To Buy A Home. I Don't Know Whether To Try And Do This On My Own Or Work With A Realtor. What Are The Pros and Cons Of Using A Realtor?

First, as a disclaimer, I am licensed as a real estate broker in Florida (although I am not currently working in the field). This is really a very good question and one that will help a lot of people who are right now trying to make sense of the current real estate market. Over the years, I have written on real estate in virtually all of my books. I have to admit that perhaps I have not given Realtors their proper due in my writing. I think there are times to use a Realtor and then there are times when... Read more →


My House Is Not Selling, Should I Consider Selling It Through A Weekend Auction?

The latest hot fad is the “Weekend Home Sale”. For those of you who remember, we regularly featured Bill Effros on my radio show as a guest over the years. Bill is the author of How To Sell Your Home In 5 Days. There are a variety of systems, all employing various twists but with one comment element; a quick sale of your home. Of course, when real estate was red hot, these weekend auctions were utilized to get the highest price by getting people to bid against each other. In today’s slow market, the concept attempts to create excitement... Read more →


I Have a Timeshare That I Don't Want, A Company Is Offering To Try and Sell It, But They Want $500 Up Front, Is This A Scam?

I do not recommend paying up front money to have your timeshare listed for sale. Most of these timeshare listing companies do not sell many timeshares and make their money through the up front fees. The problem with selling a timeshare is that there is virtually no secondary market for them. In fact, many charities will not even accept a timeshare as a donation! It is one of those classic commodities that is sold and not bought. People buy timeshares after ending up on a tour usually connected to a free gift they were offered. Believe me, no one goes... Read more →


Based On Everything Happening With Real Estate Right Now I Am Considering Renting For A Few Years, What Do You Think?

While I have historically been an advocate of homeownership, I am not really sure where I stand on that today. Due to the current crisis in the housing market, there are many parts of the country where rent is so cheap that it makes no sense at all to buy. For example, in my own local market there are 3,000 square foot homes near the ocean renting for $1,200. To buy a home like this would require a payment of $3,000 per month or more. Even with the tax benefits associated with owning a home, renting is still a better... Read more →