The estate tax: complexity needn’t be that complicated
Forbes | September 4, 2012
Let’s consider a financial topic most business owners seek to avoid at all costs … estate taxes. Business owners are loath to consider this arcane topic because it involves death and taxes, and it’s just plain complex. (From a reader: “I’m surprised that I don’t hear more about estate planning issues these days. As you know, the maximum lifetime exemption for federal estate tax is currently $5 million. On December 31, that exemption will expire and the maximum will go WAY down (unless congress acts otherwise….right!!!). Many people have a small window of opportunity between now and the end of the year to take advantage and save their heirs a lot of tax money. I, for one, don’t expect the exemption to ever be that high again, regardless of who is elected.”)
Bank of America to extinguish up to 150,000 second liens
HousingWire | October 1, 2012
Borrowers with second liens owned and serviced by Bank of America may qualify to get their subordinate debt extinguished entirely. (I don’t usually post lender-specific news stories but this one seems hard to ignore.~Anthony)
Foreign Residential Invasion: Why the New Neighbors May Not Speak Your Language
NBC News | September 28, 2012
Foreign purchases of U.S. homes have climbed by 24 percent since 2011, reports the National Association of Realtors, reaching $82.5 billion in total annual sales, and helping brace once-creaky markets like Miami.
Knowing When to Downsize
The Wall Street Journal | September 28, 2012
How can you tell when a home that was once perfect is now too big?
Meet The New Subprime: It Will Cost Us Billions
Forbes | September 30, 2012
When will our government come to realize that not everyone in this country can own a home? Not an issue of cruelty or insensitivity or lack of dream for Utopia, but a simple matter of economics. Not everyone has 20% or even 10% to make a bona fide down payment and have the subsequent income to comfortably service the debt.
Housing Alert: Short Sales May Be in Big Trouble
CNBC | September 28, 2012
As lenders plow through a backlog of over five million delinquent mortgages, short sales are becoming an ever more popular escape route. A short sale is when the bank allows a home to be sold for less than the value of the mortgage.
Mortgage Lenders Set Higher Standards for the Average Borrower
The Washington Post | September 29, 2012
With 30-year mortgage rates hitting new lows and recent borrowers’ payment performance the best by far in decades, you’d think that banks and other lenders might be loosening up on their hyper-strict underwriting standards. (Lender-readers, are we seeing underwriting standards continue to become tighter? ~Anthony)
Capital Economics: Window for building single-family rental portfolios closing
HousingWire | October 1, 2012
As home prices recover, investors looking to create pools of single-family rental properties could find themselves late to the party as values go up, Capital Economics warned in a report Monday.
Rock Doc: Hopefully, Ranier stays silent
The Spokesman-Review | October 1, 2012
Mount Rainier is a stunning site. At more than 14,000 feet, its summit is worthy of respect from even serious hikers. There’s no wonder it’s a national park. Mount Rainier is also a deadly volcano. It hasn’t erupted since 1894, but that’s not long ago to a geologist – we are sure it’s only sleeping and will be heard from again. And when she blows, great may be the calamity that ensues. (This article reminds me of two things: First, that I am fascinated by volcanoes. Second, that I’m glad I live east of the Cascades for many reasons. ~Anthony)