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Bank of America to wipe out thousands of second lien mortgages

Bank of America is in the process of sending out thousands of second lien mortgage forgiveness letters as part of this year’s massive mortgage servicer settlement.

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Bank of America’s big move

As part of what Bank of America calls their “ongoing efforts to help customers in need of mortgage assistance,” roughly 150,000 letters are currently being sent to pre-qualified homeowners that offers to automatically extinguish the full, unpaid balance of their second lien mortgages. Bank of America said in a statement, “The intention of the program is to place homeowners in an improved financial situation by reducing their monthly debt obligations and, potentially, help them create equity in their property.”

This big move is part of the terms of $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement reached this spring after years of investigation of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers in a joint effort between federal, state, and local entities.

Details of the second-lien forgiveness

Homeowners cannot request to be a part of this program, as the bank has already pre-approved the second liens they will consider. Bank of America says that most of the letters that will go out by the end of the year are delinquent, and many are on a property that is also delinquent on their first lien mortgage. Bank of America notes that this second lien relief program is completely separate from any actions being taken on the first mortgage. “If the first mortgage is in foreclosure, those foreclosure activities may continue,” the company said.

Homeowners who receive a pre-approval letter will have their second lien debt automatically forgiven unless they opt out of the relief offer within 30 days, which is unlikely in most cases.

The impact on homeowners’ taxes and credit scores

Bank of America reminds homeowners that their company is required to report the amount of the eliminated second lien mortgage debt to the Internal Revenue Service. Current federal law provides for certain exceptions to tax liability when debt is forgiven in connection with a foreclosure prevention transaction for some customers; however, debt elimination may trigger state and federal income tax liabilities for customers.

Additionally, the banks says that “Through the extinguishment program, we will report to the major credit bureaus that the customer’s second lien mortgage is now “paid and closed” and has a zero balance, which could affect a customer’s credit rating.”

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. BayEast

    October 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    @brendondesimone – Thanks for the RT about the BofA mortgages. I agree with you about Wells Fargo #FingersCrossed

  2. dortiz

    October 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Got our 2nd mortgage forgiveness letter today. I’m nearly in tears…its been a long battle.

  3. oliver12

    November 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    What about those people like me who have a 2nd Mortgage with Bank of America but it is only serviced through them not owned. Our 1st is severly underwater with CITI. What are people like me suppposed to do while I am more than happy to hear that the “bank owned” 2nds are being paid off. But what about the people who are in an “investor pool”??

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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