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Using Their IRAs to Make Home Loans

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
Question: Joyce, I’ve heard about using my IRA to make a loan…can you provide more information? 
Answer: Yes! According to Kelly Greene of the Wall Street Journal, investors can use self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to write short-term mortgages, primarily to buyers of fixer-upper properties or borrowers in need of bridge loans to cover mortgage payments on their old homes while they wait for them to sell. Most IRA investors impose interest rates of at least 10 percent, though the maximum is set forth by the state. Additionally, they typically do not lend more than 50 percent to 70 percent of the home's value. While some of these investors are willing to help homeowners encountering financial difficulties, others look forward to foreclosures because they can take ownership of properties at a dramatic discount. However, foreclosed properties can cost them so much money for legal fees and repairs that their IRAs could run out of money; and investors then would be forced to obtain a loan or shell out money for the taxes and penalties imposed when IRAs are closed.
 
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Damned lies and median house prices

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
Stats are often misinterpreted
Question: Allison, the average home prices in Summit County are very strong, but we notice that we’ve seen lots of different numbers. What should we look at when trying to get average sales price:
Answer: Good question. One of the most commonly referenced statistics in the real estate industry is the median sales price of homes. According to Stephen Bedikian, many articles are published in newspapers the day after the National Association of Realtors releases its quarterly Metropolitan Area Existing-Home Prices report with conclusions about the healthy or unhealthy state of the local real estate market. Unfortunately the median sale price is frequently taken out of context and misinterpreted.
Even someone who slept through most of their math classes will remember that the arithmetic mean and median statistics are different for the same data set. The average is the sum of the numbers divided by however many numbers you started with. The median is the number in the middle, when the numbers are listed in order.
The reason that the mean or average sale price for a market area can be misleading is intuitively obvious and that's why it's rarely cited. A few sales in the extreme luxury segment of a market -- think $30 million or more in Bel Air -- can push up the average for the entire local market area.
The median sale price can also be misleading particularly in down markets. Let's consider the San Francisco market. The median home price reported by NAR in the first quarter of 2007 was $748,100. In the second quarter it was $846,800 -- a jump of more than 13 percent. Wow, that appears to be a sure sign of a healthy market. Or is it?
To get a truer picture of market conditions, let's consider a few more statistics: price indexes (using a repeat-sales price methodology), the number of sale transactions, price reductions and inventory growth. From April to June 2007, the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index showed a decline of just less than 1 percent, not an increase of 13 percent. Likewise the home-price index published by OFHEO showed a decline of just less than 1 percent for the second quarter. The S&P Case Shiller index covers only resale transactions while the OFHEO data covers multiple sale types but only for conforming loans.
FIS Data Services reports that sale transactions increased about 25 percent between the first and second quarters, which is to be expected given that period corresponds to the spring selling season. However, according to Altos Research data, the market inventory level increased almost 40 percent during the second quarter and the percentage of houses listed with a price reduction increased from about 33 percent to 43 percent.
So what actually happened? Sales transactions increased with a greater proportion on the high end versus the previous quarter. There appears to have been little actual appreciation as evidenced by the Case Shiller and OFHEO numbers, while inventory increased and prices of many listed properties were reduced. So next time you read that median house prices have increased in your area, don't celebrate prematurely. Conduct more research before you reach a conclusion about market conditions in your area.
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Homeowner’s living trust became nearly worthless

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger
Homeowner makes big mistake after refinancing
I recently came across this article by Bob Bruss that I thought would be extremely helpful to anyone who owns property in a living trust. It’s a good reminder to pay attention to the trust a regular intervals.
“Nobody, including me, likes to think about death. But it is inevitable, as I was reminded during a recent hospitalization for major surgery. Thankfully, because of the excellent surgeons, nurses and my friends, I came through the experience successfully.
After I recovered, I learned from the doctors I had been very close to death. When I got home and was feeling better, one of the first things I did was review my estate plan.
In the process, I discovered my old living trust had become nearly worthless. The primary reason was, like most real estate owners, in the last few years I refinanced my properties to take advantage of lower mortgage interest rates. As part of the process, the lenders required me to take my property titles out of my living trust, record the new mortgages, and then put the titles back into my living trust.
But I carelessly didn't follow up and the title companies failed to re-deed my properties back into my living trust. The result was my living trust had become virtually empty because it was "unfunded." If I could make that mistake, think of how many other homeowners and realty investors also have worthless, empty living trusts.
Especially because I wanted to revise my estate plan and change my beneficiaries, I decided to hire a trusts and estates attorney. The total cost, including recording fees, was about $1,300. That is far less than the 3 to 10 percent of gross assets it costs to probate a typical estate.
Frankly, although I am an attorney and could prepare my own living trust to avoid probate costs and delays, I'm glad I hired another attorney.
Among the extra improvements he suggested were (1) a durable power of attorney for lifetime asset management (in case I become unable to manage my assets); (2) a "living will" (also called an advanced health care directive) so the designated person can make health care decisions, such as taking me off life support if there is no reasonable hope for recovery; and (3) a "pour-over will" for any assets omitted from my new living trust. The attorney also made certain all my property titles were correctly transferred to fund my living trust.
EVERYBODY NEEDS A WILL. Shockingly, less than 20 percent of U.S. residents have a written will. For those who have a will, after they die their assets will be distributed according to their wills by the local Probate Court. Probating an estate, even a modest one, usually takes six to 18 months or longer before the heirs can receive their inheritances.
For individuals who die without a written will, the state law of intestate succession determines who will receive their assets. Especially in second marriages, the result is often not what the decedent would have wanted. Again, the local probate court supervises intestate succession distribution, subject to costs and delays.
However, if no written will and no relatives can be found, a person's assets "escheat" to the state. That means the probate court will sell the assets and deposit the proceeds into the state treasury. That is not the result most people want.
HOW TO AVOID PROBATE. Even if you have a written will, it usually won't avoid probate costs and delays. Well-known methods of probate court avoidance include holding real estate titles in joint tenancy with right of survivorship (or as tenants by the entireties between husband and wife) and holding bank accounts or stock brokerage accounts with "payable upon death" designations.
But all these methods have major drawbacks, especially when two or more persons own an asset but one becomes incapacitated such as by Alzheimer's disease, a coma or a severe stroke.
A better alternative to avoid probate costs and delays for most individuals is a revocable living trust. This is simply a method of holding title to major assets, such as a home, investment property, bank accounts, common stocks, mutual funds, and other major assets.
When a living-trust grantor creates a living trust, he is its initial trustor, trustee and beneficiary. That means he can buy, sell, refinance and manage the assets as before.
However, if he becomes incapacitated, then the named successor trustee, such as a spouse or adult child, takes over management and can even sell the assets if necessary. There is no necessity to have a conservator appointed by the probate court. Husband and wife can either have individual living trusts or a joint living trust.
After a living-trust grantor dies, the successor trustee then distributes the living-trust assets to the individuals and/or charities named in the document. The local probate court does not become involved, so distribution usually is completed within six months.
ADVANTAGES OF LIVING TRUSTS. Among the many advantages of a revocable living trust are (1) easy amendments or revocation as desired by the trustor; (2) ownership benefits remain unchanged, including income-tax deductions and the principal-residence-sale tax exemption; (3) avoidance of multistate probates if real estate is owned in more than one state; (4) privacy because living trusts do not become public, as do written wills filed for probate; (5) the successor trustee manages the living-trust assets if the trustor becomes incapacitated; and (6) the successor trustee distributes the assets after the grantor's death.
DISADVANTAGES OF LIVING TRUSTS. Among the few disadvantages of revocable living trusts are (1) no statutory period to limit creditor claims (as occurs in probate court); (2) the cost and inconvenience of "funding" the living trust (usually far less than the cost of probating an estate); (3) when refinancing mortgages, lenders usually require taking real estate out of the living trust for a moment while the mortgage papers are signed and recorded; and (4) a living-trust trustor needs a "pour-over will" or a "back-up will" for any assets that were not included in the living trust.
SUMMARY: Revocable living trusts offer many advantages and few disadvantages to avoid probate costs and delays for heirs as well as conservatorship during the grantor's lifetime.
By avoiding involvement of the local probate court, living-trust beneficiaries usually receive their assets within six months after the decedent's death. More details are in the new special report, "Pros and Cons of Living Trusts to Avoid Conservatorship and Probate Costs and Delays for Your Heirs," available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, Calif., 94010, or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at www.BobBruss.com.”
 
 
For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.   

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Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
970-468-6800
800-262-8442
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker