Real Estate FAQs

What is HAFA ? How Does HAFA Work ?


HAFA is the abbreviation for Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program and it is part of HAMP Home Affordable Modification Program



Now the financially distressed homeowners who do not qualify for Loan Modification, but want to avoid foreclosure , can Shortsell the property with less complications and frustrations starting April 5, 2010, provided their lenders sign up into it.



The HAFA Program will run until December 31,2012



You can download here a detailed explanation of what is HAFA and How does HAFA work

What is a Short Sale in Real Estate

A Short Sale in real estate, is when the amount of the loan or loans on a property exceed its current value, and the Lender allows you to try and sell it for less than what is owed.

Example: The value of home X dropped from $400,000 to $280,000 but has a mortgage(s) in the amount of $350,000 and the lender allows you to list it at around current market value.



Short Selling is a rather complicated option, especially if there is more than one lender, because your first lender has to negotiate with the secondary lender to forgo his position for a discounted amount and that could take an undetermined amount of time.


It is very important to work with a real estate agent who specializes in short sales

In a Shortsale Do I Pay Income Tax on The Shortfall?

If you live in California, you no longer are under the threat of being taxed on the difference of what you owed on your home and the proceeds from a ShortSale.



The State of California passed the Tax Conformity Legislation introduced by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano.

Home owners who went through a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure, do not have to pay State Income Tax on up to $500,000 in income from debt forgiveness, and it is retroactive to 2009.




* Debt can be forgiven by the State of California up to $500,000 for taxpayers who file as married/registered domestic partners (RDP) filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, and to $400,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing separately.

* Your total indebtedness limit is $800,000 for taxpayers who file as married/registered domestic partners (RDP) filing jointly, single, head of household, or widow/widower, and to $400,000 for taxpayers who file as married/RDP filing separately.

* The debt must be secured by a Qualified Principal Residence.

* The debt can include 1st & second mortgages.

* The indebtedness incurred in acquiring the property, in constructing the property or by substantially improving the property.

* The Tax exemption is for debts discharged between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012.

* For those who already filed their Taxes for 2009 , you can file form 540X (amendment) and claim your exemption.


This brings California into conformity with the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 which is good till 2012

What is Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, is when the lender agrees to accept the transfer of the title to the property in exchange for the cancellation of the loan.

How Can I Stall a Lender From Foreclosing on My Property



Here are some tips to Stall Foreclosure by Bernice Ross. Good information




What does Tenants in Common Mean in Real Estate

Tenants in Common in real estate, is when two or more persons own a property. The ownership can be equal or unequal, yet all owners have an undivided interest, but No right of survivorship.


Example: 3 people decide to buy a property, one person can hold 50% while the other two could hold 25% each, or 20 - 30 based on the dollar amount of their investment. All the owners have an undivided interest in the property, BUT if one dies the other two do not have the right to the deceased person's share. It goes to his heirs or estate.

What Does Joint Tenants Mean in Real Estate

Joint tenants is when a property is owned by two or more owners, with each owning an equal share , and have the Right of Survivorship. Example: husband and wife ownership.

What does REO Mean in Real Estate

REO is the abbreviation for "Real Estate Owned", and means real estate owned by the bank or lender. The lender's ownership to the property could be from a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or a foreclosure.

What is a Homestead Declaration

A Homestead Declaration provides the homeowner statutory exemption from certain creditors claims and judgments up to a specified amount set by the County.



This the Riverside Homestead Declaration Form , complete it and mail it for filing.

What is TLC in Real Estate

TLC is short for 'tender loving care'. In real estate it means that the property needs work.

What does HOA Fees Mean

HOA is short for Home Owners Association and fees are the fees imposed on homeowners living in developments, condos, country clubs, etc.. they can be monthly fees or yearly fees.