Woodlawn Heights (San Antonio, TX)
   Realtor Caught in Cash-Back-at-Closing's Crosshairs by Ralph Roberts According to Realtor Lori Polin, she was totally unaware that what she was involved with consisted of real estate and mortgage fraud. If ignorance of the law was an appropriate defense, she could be off the hook. Unfortunately it's not. According to a recent story in the St. Petersburg Times entitled "Unsigned letter accuses agent of mortgage fraud," Polin was allegedly involved in classic cash back at closing schemes.  Here's how a cash back at closing scheme works: The buyer pays more for a property than it's worth, and the seller agrees to kick back the surplus cash to the buyer at the closing. On its surface, cash back at closing seems to benefit everyone involved. The buyer pockets some extra cash. The seller u...
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  Realty Viewpoint: Bad Builder Numbers Where They Should Be by Blanche Evans The Commerce Department reported that new home sales in December dropped to the lowest level in nearly 13 years. Instead of the million or two we're used to hearing reported at year's end, new home builders only sold about 774,000 new homes in 2007. That's 26.4 percent below 2006, and the biggest year-over-year drop since 1963, when new home sales were first tracked by the government. Prices fell dramatically in December for both the average (-11.5 percent to $267,300) and the median (10.9 percent to $219,000) price fell 10.9 the biggest drop in prices since 1970. The median is the point at which half the sales are under and half the sales are over. Completed homes were 40 percent of the inventory on hand, whi...
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By Frank Zeno
(Integrity Realty)
  Getting A Handle on 1031 Exchange Rules by Clifford A. Hockley Most buyers and sellers of real estate look at 1031 exchanges as an option as they consider their investment agenda. They figure that they defer paying state and federal capital gains taxes and depreciation recapture until they die and their estate goes to their spouse, charity, their children or grandchildren. They may also be able to stave off the alternative minimum tax that might sneak up on them if they were to sell a propeBut how do 1031's really work? George Columbus was an Ohio investor. George learned from his broker that he would have to pay capital gains taxes when he sold his 10,000 sq foot warehouse. George wanted to defer his taxes and found out that if he bought more real estate and followed the Internal Rev...
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