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By BRENDA FONTAINE | Broker in Auburn, ME

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Maine, Property Q&A in Maine, Moving in Maine  |  March 6, 2013 8:24 AM  |  31 views  |  No comments
    What is the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
    and why does it matter?

    Originally enacted in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is important to homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage. There are a still a lot of "distressed" properties out there. The owners of these properties are in a tough spot. Even if they are current on their payments, many homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth in today's market, making it difficult to sell unless the lender who hold the mortgage agrees to a "short sale".

    In a short sale, the lender agrees to take a loss on what is owed to allow the property to sell. The agree to forgive part of the homeowners debt. Without the Debt Relief Act, the amount of debt forgiven is treated as income for the homeowner and they are taxed on that amount.

    The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows homeowners who sell a primary residence through a short sale, or who lose a primary residence to foreclosure to avoid paying taxes on up to $2 million (or $1 million if married filing separately). Speaking with an financial professional is always a good idea when you are dealing with complicated tax issues to decide if this option is right for you.

    Click here for Ten Facts for Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

    This Act was due to expire at the end of 2012, but has been extended until the end of 2013. It may seem like a long time, but it often takes months to get a lender to agree to a short sale. If you are interested in taking advantage of this Debt Relief Act...the time to act is now. Most lenders will not start to negotiate a short sale until the property has been listed and has a purchase and sale in place.

    If you list today and find a potential buyer in 3 weeks, and the lender approves a short sale quickly...you could be out of that property in a couple of months. If it takes a while to find the right buyer and negotiations with the lender on the short sale take a while...you could potentially be approaching the end of the year before you are able to close and could miss out on the debt forgiveness.

    Fontaine Family - The Real Estate Leader helped 35 families complete short sales ion 2012 alone. We are currently working with 28 more families to gain short sale approval on their properties.

    For more information about whether a short sale is right for you,
    contact us at (207)784-3800 or brenda@fontaineteam.com. 
  • Top 10 List for Selling Your Home This Winter

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Maine, Moving in Maine, Home Ownership in Maine  |  November 28, 2012 11:32 AM  |  30 views  |  No comments


    Posted Under: Home Buying in Maine  |  October 31, 2012 8:59 AM  |  29 views  |  No comments

    This morning I had to scrape the ice off my windshield ....
    I guess that means it is about time to turn on the heat.

    With the heating season comes a higher chance of fire or carbon monoxide leaks...
    so before you fire up the heat, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors! 

    Here's a few things you should know
    about Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms...
    If you are buying a home in Maine, at closing you are required to sign a document
    that states you will properly install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    in the home if they are not already there. 

    Click here to view
    Certification of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

    There are 2 types of smoke alarms - Photoelectric and Ionization.

    For the best protection you should use a combination of both types.

    Smoke alarms within 20 feet of a kitchen or a bathroom
    containing a shower or tub should be the Photoelectric type.  

    A smoke alarm should be located on each floor including the basement
    and outside of or in each bedroom. 

    Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or high on the wall because smoke rises.

    Smoke alarms should never be painted.

    Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested monthly. 
    They don't do any good if they aren't working properly.   

    Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in or just outside of each bedroom
    and one on each level of the home.  

    Carbon monoxide detectors must be powered by the electric supply
    (either plug in or hardwired) and have a battery backup. 

    The few minutes and small investment it takes to install and maintain
    smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is well worth it
    to keep you and your family safe!

    If you have questions about buying or selling real estate,
    please call (207)784-3800 or e-mail brenda@fontaineteam.com.

  • No Money Down Home Loans - Do they Still Exist?

    Posted Under: Financing  |  July 15, 2011 5:46 AM  |  43 views  |  No comments

    Believe it or not, there are still options available for home loans with no money down or low money down!

    Great news in today's economy!

    yellow lego house

    Photo by Bill Ward's Brickpile


    VA Loans Basics

    • Available to Veterans, active duty military, some reservists & National Guard members, some spouses of active duty personnel
    • Borrower must qualify in terms of income/credit worthiness
    • Borrower must occupy home as primary residence
    • No private mortgage insurance
    • Borrower is required to pay a VA funding fee but this can often be folded into the loan
    • Seller is permitted to pay closing costs on behalf of buyer
    • Borrower may be required to pay some fees charged by lender

    Click here for more information on VA loans

    Rural Development Loan Basics

    • Borrower must meet income/credit worthiness
    • Borrower must occupy the home
    • Home must be located in rural ares
    • Single family homes only
    • New or existing homes
    • Loans may include customary closing costs
    • Borrowers may be responsible for some fees required by lender or not covered by appraised value

    Click here for more information on VA Loans

    red lego house

    photo by Bill Ward's Brickpile


    FHA Loans Basics

    • Borrower must meet FHA qualifications for income/credit worthiness
    • Borrower must occupy property
    • Single family homes - 4 units
    • New or existing homes
    • Down payment as low as 3.5% of loan amount
    • Seller is permitted to pay closing costs on behalf of buyer
    • Borrower may be required to pay some fees required by lender

    Click here for more information on FHA Loans

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