Short sales: taxes, 1099s, and relocation assistance

by Melissa Zavala in Housing News -   

taxes money Short sales: taxes, 1099s, and relocation assistance

It’s Tax Season

I always know when tax season is just around the corner because I see Lady Liberty or Uncle Sam spinning signs that invite me into a local tax preparer’s office. Now is also a time when lots of questions arise about short sales and income taxes. If you or any of your clients participated in a short sale in 2012, then there are a number of things you will want to know about short sales and tax return preparation.

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007

I received a 1099-MISC from the short sale lender. Is the income noted on the 1099-MISC taxable?

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 provides tax forgiveness for certain short sale sellers, and such forgiveness depends on the taxpayer’s specific situation. Taxpayers who sold their home in a short sale during 2012 should seek the advice of an accountant in order to learn whether this Relief Act applies to their unique tax position.

What if the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act doesn’t apply to my short sale?

Because the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 does not apply to everyone (e.g. if the home sold is not a qualified principal residence or due to bankruptcy), it is vital that taxpayers seek the advice of an accountant in order to learn about any other tax laws that may come into play in order to provide tax relief.

Is Relocation Assistance Money Taxable?

I received an incentive from the short sale lender? Do I have to pay taxes on the incentive?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, “Cash for Keys Program income, which is taxable, is income from a financial institution, offered to taxpayers to expedite the foreclosure process. Report this as ‘other income’ on Form 1040, line 21. The taxpayer should receive Form 1099-MISC with the income in box 3.”

I received an incentive from the short sale lender, but I did not receive a 1099-MISC. How should I proceed?

I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that short sale sellers often don’t receive the 1099-MISC because the short sale lender doesn’t have a record of the taxpayer’s new address. Speak with an accountant about how to proceed in this situation.

Common Problems with Relocation Assistance

My real estate agent told me that I was supposed to get relocation assistance money. We closed, and I received a 1099-MISC. However, I never got any relocation assistance money. What should I do?

All relocation assistance money is documented on the final settlement statement (also called a HUD-1) and payable to short sale sellers through the settlement agent at closing. If there is no line item for relocation assistance on the settlement statement and no notation on the short sale approval letter from the lender, then the bank did not approve the short sale assistance.

If there is a line item for relocation assistance and the seller did not receive the funds, contact the settlement agent for more information. In many cases, with prior written authorization of the short sale seller and the short sale lender, relocation assistance money is used in order to pay off non-institutional liens and clear the title for closing.

On the settlement statement, it shows that the buyer is paying the relocation assistance and not the short sale lender. Why would I receive a 1099-MISC from the short sale lender if the buyer paid the money?

Since any real estate sale requires that buyer funds be used to pay seller costs, the relocation assistance shows as a debit to the buyer and a credit to the seller. Of course, this is a credit to the seller from the short sale lender who retains all of the remaining funds at closing.

Short Sale Documentation

No matter when the short sale closes, all short sale sellers should retain copies of the short sale approval letters from the lenders and a final settlement statement from the closing agent. In this way, any questions that come up (no matter how far in the future) can be addressed quickly and efficiently.

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

Eight ways to improve your home appraisal

  • By Lou Carlozo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Kellie and Michael May decided to refinance their home in the New York suburbs, they wanted to take advantage of historically low interest rates. But before landing a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, they had to get through a home appraisal.

“It was a major stumbling block,” says Kellie May, who has owned the 4-bedroom, 3-bath colonial for seven years. Not that she and her husband were unprepared; they’d been through an appraisal for another refinance in 2010, so they knew to point out improvements they’d made to the 3,400 square foot home, and supply prices for other neighborhood properties that had sold recently.

But the appraisal came back roughly $70,000 less than the $1,230,000 the Mays were expecting, and too low to support their new loan.

They responded with a paperwork arsenal aimed at their lender, asserting that the appraisal had been based on faulty recent sales data. The loan squeaked through, after the bank crafted an exception for the Mays. It was able to do that because their loan was a jumbo loan, not subject to the more rigid underwriting standards they would have encountered if it were a conventional loan aimed at secondary buyers like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Low appraisals are becoming a bigger problem for many would-be buyers and refinancers as home values have started to stabilize and rise in some markets.

In Leesburg, Florida, for example, low appraisals have caused the cancellation of as many as 15 percent of home sales for local real estate broker Gus Grizzard.

“We are seeing higher price appreciation and are starting to run into appraisal problems,” said Charlie Young, chief executive officer of ERA Franchise Systems, a firm with a national network of real estate brokerage offices, including Grizzard’s. The National Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday that inventories of homes were low and the median price a home resale was, at $180,800 in December, up 11.5 percent in a year.

Appraisals are based on recent sales prices of comparable properties. And in rising price markets, those sales prices might not be high enough to support the newest deals. Young said there were many places in California reporting appraisal problems.

On Friday, the federal government issued new rules aimed at improving the appraisal process as it pertains to high-interest mortgages on rapidly appreciating homes.

But those rules don’t go into effect for a year, and don’t apply to most conventional loans. It pays to protect your own loan before the bank even thinks about sending that guy with the clipboard over to your house.

“The reality is that the appraiser is only there for 30 minutes at most,” says Brian Coester, chief executive of CoesterVMS, a nationwide appraisal management company based in Rockville, Maryland. “The best thing a homeowner can do to get the highest appraisal possible is make sure they have all the important features of the home readily available for the appraiser.”

Here are eight ways you can bolster your appraisal:


Is the appraiser from within a 10-mile radius of your property? “This is one of the first questions you should ask the appraiser,” says Ben Salem, a real estate agent with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, California.

He recalled a recent case where an appraiser visited an unfamiliar property in nearby Orange County and produced an appraisal that Salem said was $150,000 off. “If the appraiser doesn’t know the area intimately, chances are the appraisal will not come back close to what a property is really worth.”

You can request that your lender send a local appraiser; if that still doesn’t happen, supply as much information as you can about the quality of your neighborhood.


Provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties. You will save her some work, and insure that she is getting price information from homes that really are similar to yours.

Websites including, Zillow and Trulia offer recent sales prices and details such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a home.


If you’re going to do minor renovations, start with your kitchen and bathrooms, says G. Stacy Sirmans, a professor of real estate at Florida State University. He reviewed 150 variables that affect home values for a study sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. Wood floors, landscaping and an enclosed garage can also drive up appraisals.


If you’ve put money into the house, prove it, says Salem.

“Before-and-after photos, along with a well-defined spreadsheet of what was spent on each renovation, should persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that far exceeds what he or she first called out.”

Don’t forget to highlight all-important structural improvements to electrical systems, heating and cooling systems – which are harder to see, but can dramatically boost an appraisal. Show receipts.


If your town has recently seen exciting developments, such as upscale restaurants, museums, parks or other amenities, make sure your appraiser knows about them, says Craig Silverman, principal and chief appraiser at Silverman & Co. in Newtown, Pennsylvania.


Many homeowners covet that refinished basement, but that doesn’t mean appraisers look at it the same way. “Improvements and additions made below grade, such as a finished basement, do not add to the overall square footage of your house,” says John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services in New York. “So they don’t add anywhere near as much value as improvements made above grade.”

According to Remodeling magazine, a basement renovation that cost $63,000 in 2011-12 will recoup roughly 66 percent of that in added home value. That’s not as good as an attic bedroom, which will recoup 73 percent of its cost. Even similar bedrooms typically count for more if they are upstairs instead of downstairs.


Even jaded appraisers can be swayed by a good looking yard. “Tree trimming, cleaning up, a few flowers in the flower beds and paint touch up can all help the appraisal,” says Agnes Huff, a real estate investor based in Los Angeles.

That advice holds true indoors, too. “Get rid of all the clutter in your home,” says Jonathan Miller, a longtime appraiser in New York. “It makes the home appear larger.”


Don’t follow the appraiser around like a puppy. “I can’t tell you how many homeowners or listing agents follow me around in my personal space during the inspection,” he says. “It’s a major red flag there is a problem with the home.”

And while you’re at it, make the appraiser’s job as pleasant as possible by giving your home a pleasant smell. At a minimum, clean out the litter box. Baking some fresh cookies and offering him one or two probably won’t sway your appraisal, nor should it. But it couldn’t hurt.

(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

4 reasons your home isn’t selling

Even in recovering markets, listings must be priced right and properly marketed


Inman News®

<a href="" target="_blank">Price reduced</a> image via Shutterstock.
Price reduced image via Shutterstock.

There’s a buzz in the air. The real estate market has improved and may be on the road to recovery.

But the improvement in the housing market is not treating all home sellers equally. Some well-priced listings in prime locations are selling within a couple of weeks. In other areas, it still takes months to sell, and prices haven’t fully stabilized.

There are several factors that could be keeping your home from selling. One is the state of the local housing market. Residential real estate is a local business. National trends, while informative, don’t necessarily apply to the state of the market in your neighborhood.

Other factors include: the list price; the condition of your property; or lack of broad marketing exposure.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Today’s buyers don’t overpay. They need to be convinced that the price you’re asking for your home is a fair market value.

The housing market is pulling out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. This is fresh in buyers’ minds. There are plenty of buyers who think this is the right time to buy, but they’re not inclined to make offers on overpriced listings.

Sellers often wonder why buyers won’t make an offer at a lower price if they think the list price is high. Buyers don’t want to waste their time making an offer if the seller is unrealistic. Making an offer takes a lot of time and emotional energy. Most buyers who have the wherewithal to buy a home don’t have time to waste.

There are “bottom feeders” who give sellers lowball offers below market value hoping to get lucky. These buyers also won’t pay over the asking price. They want a bargain. You can do better than that if you price your home right for the market.

Here are clues that your listing might be priced too high. You don’t receive any showings, or you receive showings but no repeat showings. Buyers usually look at a listing more than once before making an offer. Another possibility is that buyers look at your home and then buy another listing that is priced more in line with the market.

Let your real estate agent know that you want to hear feedback from buyers who have seen your home. If they like the house but not at the price you’re asking, that’s a clear indication that you should adjust the price if you want to sell.

Some sellers have false expectations about the current picked-up market. In some areas, the improved market means that homes are taking less time to sell, not that prices have increased.

In other markets, like Phoenix, prices have jumped approximately 25 percent from a year ago but are still way below where they were at the peak of the market. If prices dropped 50 percent in your area, they need to increase 100 percent to get back to where they were before the decline.

For instance, if your home was worth $100,000 in 2006 and dropped 50 percent in value and then increased 50 percent of the lower value, it would be worth $75,000. It needs to increase 100 percent ($50,000 plus $50,000) to recoup your loss.

The condition of your home will influence the market value. You need to lower the price to account for deferred maintenance or a dated decor, or take care of these issues so that you can present your home in move-in condition. You’ll then attract more buyers and sell for more.

It’s always possible that your home has not been properly marketed. Ask your listing agent to provide you with copies of all advertising. More than 88 percent of today’s homebuyers use the Internet to find a home.

THE CLOSING: Make sure your listing is receiving wide Internet exposure, including a lot of good-quality photographs.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.”

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

First impressions are made at the front door

Home’s entrance is seldom high on remodeling priorities


Inman News®

Front door of a <a href="" target="_blank">Georgian era townhouse</a> in Salisbury, England image via Shutterstock.Front door of a Georgian era townhouse in Salisbury, England image via Shutterstock.

Have you ever been to a house where you had to skirt the gas meter or sidle around garbage cans to get to the front door? Or one where there was such a bewildering array of doors, you weren’t sure which one to knock at?

The front entrance is seldom high on people’s remodeling priorities. Yet, just like that old saw about first impressions, it’s your home’s entrance that people notice first. It’s practically impossible to rectify a bad impression made at the front door.

Tract-home builders have known this for years; even in the cheapest house, they’ll never cut corners on the front door. They know that a strong impression of quality here subtly colors a visitor’s perception of the whole house.

For much of architectural history, front entrances have been a focal point of a home’s design. In colonial New England, for example, the front door was often flanked by sidelights and topped by a pediment, setting it apart from an otherwise austere facade.

The entrance should also be clearly apparent from the street. That doesn’t mean it has to be glaringly exposed to view — just that its location should be easily deduced by an unfamiliar passerby. Architects call this principle “demarcation.”

There are lots of subtle ways to demarcate a front entrance. The most common is to surround the door with an architectural form such as a pediment or other type of trim. Another traditional strategy places the door in a recess, on a projection, or under a roofed porch. You can find a well-known example of the latter on the back of a $20 bill.

Here are some thoughts for planning your own grand entrance:

  • Don’t place an unsheltered entrance door flush with the front wall of the house; it’ll create an unwelcoming “side door” or trailer-door effect.
  • Don’t bring the path to the front door past utilities such as gas or electric meters, or past unsightly storage areas for trash or the like. Keep these kinds of features out of the visitor’s line of sight.
  • Don’t force visitors to walk on a driveway to get to your front door. Provide a separate walking path, or at least set aside a portion of the driveway paving using a different color or texture so it’s clearly meant just for those on foot.
  • If you plan to provide a covered entrance porch, make it at least 6 feet wide — enough for a person to stretch out both arms without touching either wall. Anything less will feel cramped and uncomfortable. Also, make the porch at least 4 feet deep (6 feet is better), or it’ll feel cramped when more than one person is waiting outside the front door. A cheaper alternative to building a projecting porch is simply to recess the front door. Again, make the recess at least 6 feet wide, and not less than 2 feet deep.
  • Lastly, if your house has several doors facing the street, make sure your front approach aims your visitors toward the main entrance. Your front door may seem obvious to you, but, hey, you live there.

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

4 Reasons to List or Buy a Home in December

 / By / Comments
Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.

Tis the season to sell and buy! Here are the top four reasons sellers should list and buyers should purchase prior to ringing in the New Year.

The commitment factor

Buyers searching for homes over the holidays are serious, committed and ready to go, often motivated by a deadline-oriented relocation brought on by a career switch or an unexpected change in housing situation.

Furthermore, with vacation time during the season, local buyers generally have more time during the weekdays to look.

Emotional buying

The holiday season also brings out emotions and feelings of nostalgia in buyers, which may help push their decision making to quickly move forward with the purchase.

When staging homes, sellers and agents should try to make the house feel as holiday-homey as possible. Let the buyers picture themselves there.

How about some tasteful greenery, the gentle glow of twinkly lights, a little golden holiday bling and the scent of baking cookies wafting through your open house?

The low inventory advantage

Inventory of homes for sale is excruciatingly low. Buyers have fewer choices, which means sellers’ homes will be in demand — and greater demand equals more money.

Low inventory isn’t necessarily a bad thing for buyers, especially for those who must make a decision quickly.

However, both buyers and sellers must be realistic about desired purchase and sale pricing.

Tax advantages

Purchasing prior to the end of the year can be advantageous and motivating to buyers for tax reasons.

Closing on a home before the end of the year allows you to deduct property taxes, mortgage interest, and loan points on this year’s tax return.

If you can buy your dream home AND save money, why wouldn’t you?

“4 Reasons to List or Buy a Home in December” was provided by 

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

Can You Afford to Buy a Second Home?

By Jeff Brown
With more and more signs that the housing market is inching off the bottom, homeowners with good credit and lots of resourcesare once again asking the question: Can I afford a second home?There’s something irresistible about the dream of a vacation place at the beach, lake or in the mountains. Summer vacations, the clan gathering for holidays, a place to pass down through the generations… It’s the American Dream, Act II.

The problem, of course, is coming up with the money. If you don’t have a trunk full of cash, the next easiest option is to borrow against your primary residence, thus avoiding the complex issues raised by a loan application specifically to buy a second home. But to borrow against your main home, it must be worth substantially more than you owe on a mortgage or home equity loan.

To take out a new loan to buy a second home you will have to convince the lender you are an especially good risk. That’s because lenders know that people are more likely to default on payments for a second home than a primary residence, or to skimp on maintenance or fall behind on property taxes or insurance.

So the first issue is your debt-to-income ratio, figured by dividing your total monthly debt payments for everything — existing mortgage, the new mortgage, car and credit card payments, and so on — by your gross monthly income. If the figure is less than 36 percent, you have a fair shot at a loan, if your payment history and credit rating are good. Some lenders will approve applicants with higher ratios; you’ll have to shop around.

Also expect lenders to demand a down payment of at least 20 percent, possibly twice that much, or even more. A large down payment reduces the loan-to-value ratio, figured by dividing the loan amount by the property’s current value, estimated by an appraiser approved by the lender. The smaller the loan relative to the value, the more likely the lender would recover what it is owed if you default and the lender must foreclose and sell the property.

You’re also likely to pay a higher interest rate on a mortgage for a second home — again, to offset the greater risk to the lender.

Discouraged yet? Don’t be. After all, even if lenders are more conservative these days, they make money only if they approve loans.

To make all this easier, try this calculator from The Mortgage Professor website. In the Occupancy Type window click Second Home. Note that in the Monthly Debt Payments window you should include your current mortgage payment if you will add a new mortgage for the second home.

Also play with this calculator from SmartMoney.

Before going too far down the road, check with some lenders for down payment requirementsand interest rates on second-home loans. Until then, experiment with down payments of 20 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent, and add 0.5 to 1 percentage points to the mortgage rates from the survey.

For a sense of how lenders approach second-home applications, look at this site from Wells Fargo. It shows, for example, that it is difficult to get potential rental income included in the loan qualification calculation, a key consideration if you plan to rent out your second home part of the time.

Even if a lender will approve your loan, think about how comfortable you would be with this new financial obligation. You’ll need a healthy financial cushion for unexpected repairs and upkeep, a drop in your pay, a shortfall in rental income or a jump in taxes or insurance fees.

Finally, give your dream a reality check. Many people find, for example, that they lose interest in vacationing at the same place all the time. And a second home can someday become a bone of contention among the buyer’s children or grandchildren.


Five Things Stagers are Tired of Seeing


Last  week, I conducted an informal survey of home stagers from the US and Canada on what they are tired of seeing in homes to be staged.  The responses were varied, but the issue below are the ones that bubbled to the top.  Stagers often meet with homeowners who are preparing their home for the market, and get to see a lot of homes. Here are a few “trigger” points from them, but I am sure there are more!

Dusty fake plants

There are number of easy to grow houseplants widely available, from the virtually indestructible snake plant to the common philodendron.  Some plants thrive well in low-sun and others work well with lots of sun and less watering.  Consequently, there is really no need for fake plants in real life!  They end up being dust collectors!


Now we all know that not everyone is Felix Unger neat.  But if you KNOW your house is on the market (hint – there is a real estate agent‘s lockbox on the outside of your front or side door), there is no need to leave your home with underwear on the floor, unmade beds and stack of laundry on the coffee table.   Would YOU be motivated to buy a home that shows like this?  Why leave it like that for someone else?

Popcorn ceilings and wood paneling

What else can be said, these items instantly date your home.  If only I had a magic wand to make all the bad ceilings and wood paneling go away.

Kitchen cabinets busting at the seams

You know all of those small plastic containers accumulated from the weekly trips to the deli at the grocery store?  Yes, it is okay to recycle these, along with plastic bottles, cans and glass bottles. Or you could even include some when you donate clothes to local shelters or food to local food banks. Just know that you don’t have to keep each and every one that you receive.  Because when a buyer opens a cabinet door and they all fall out – so not cool.

Houses with too many pet items

Sellers – not everyone loves your pets like you do. Not only should your pets be invisible during showings but their accessories must go as well. That would be pet toys, food and water bowls, perches, dog beds, dog and/or cat carriers, large containers of food etc.  Not saying you have to toss it, but please find a way to store them, out of way for showings.

I am sure there are plenty more to add…fire away in the comments below!

Roslyn Ashford, MBA, is a former corporate recruiter turned home stager, and native Washingtonian (as in DC).  She hosts a bi-weekly tweet chat for home stagers and loves to stage small and vacant homes. Learn more about her growing company here or follow her on Twitter to keep up with the daily hilarity!

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.


Regulator Vows New Rules to Repair Mortgage Markets

In a move aimed at making it easier for consumers to get mortgages, the federal regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FMCC -2.12% said Monday the mortgage giants would address a big controversy of the housing bust: who gets stuck with bad loans.

Fannie and Freddie have forced banks to repurchase billions of mortgages that have defaulted over the past few years. To protect themselves from facing similar demands, banks have raised their lending standards beyond what the two mortgage companies require, scrutinized appraisals, and demanded extensive documentation of a borrower’s income and assets.


ReutersA bank-owned home for sale in Encinitas, Calif., in a file photo from 2009.

To ease lenders’ concerns, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said on Monday it would issue guidance that would detail steps that could limit their risk of having to buy back defaulted mortgages in costly loan “put-backs.”

For example, banks will be released from having to buy back a loan under certain conditions if the mortgage has a record of on-time payments for the first 36 months, or for the first 12 months on loans that are part of an existing refinancing initiative. Those changes will take effect next year.

It isn’t clear how far the latest guidance will go toward making it easier for consumers to get a mortgage. While mortgage rates have fallen by a full percentage point over the last 18 months, demand for new loans remains nearly unchanged from one year ago.

“For the market to reclaim the strength it once had—and to provide a cornerstone for the mortgage market of the future—it is vital we consider ways to improve” the loan review process, Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, told an industry conference Monday.

Fannie and Freddie don’t make loans, but instead acquire or guarantee those made by banks and other lenders. Those banks make certain “representations and warranties” to Fannie and Freddie when they sell loans, and the mortgage giants can force banks to take back any loans found to run afoul of those standards. Over the past year, banks have charged that Fannie and Freddie are putting back more loans that defaulted for reasons that had nothing to do with an underwriting defect.

Fannie and Freddie have asked that banks buy back nearly $75 billion in loans that lenders sold to the mortgage giants since 2005, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry newsletter.

The new rules won’t have any impact on the current battle over who winds up with the bad loans made during the boom years.

In exchange for shielding banks against put-backs on certain loans, Fannie and Freddie will step up screening for potential loan defects of new mortgages. Officials said Monday that a more robust data-collection system implemented in recent years has made it possible to increasingly review loans as they are acquired, as opposed to reviewing them after they default.

Because buying back one bad loan can wipe out the profit on 30 or 40 good loans, lenders have become extremely cautious in approving mortgages. “If there’s a question at some point, it’s the safer move to deny” the loan, said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans.

An April survey of senior loan officers by the Federal Reserve showed that the risk of put-backs had become a leading factor preventing banks from easing credit standards for mortgages, even as they have eased standards for other loans, such as cars and credit cards.

“Lenders have pulled back because they don’t know what their future exposure around repurchases is going to be…. Ultimately that has limited the availability of mortgage credit,” said Maria Fernandez, associate director for housing and regulatory policy at the FHFA.

The agency’s goal, she added, “is to be very clear with lenders what our expectations are so we can help facilitate more liquidity.”

Industry analysts said the impact of the new rules would rest largely on the details of the rules issued by Fannie and Freddie, and how they enforce those rules. “If you have written guidance from these quasi-government agencies what their terms are, they can’t really walk away from that,” said Laurence Platt, a banking-industry lawyer at K&L Gates in Washington.

At the same time, banks face new regulation in the coming year that could keep them in a defensive position. One provision of the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, for example, carries potentially steep penalties if banks don’t properly ensure a borrower has the capacity to repay a loan.

Some large banks are also facing subpoenas from federal prosecutors as part of an effort by the FHFA’s inspector general to determine whether the U.S. could recoup money from banks that sold defaulted loans to Fannie and Freddie, according to people familiar with the investigation.

“It’s one step forward, two steps back,” said Mr. Platt. “You have a bunch of different legs that aren’t walking in unison.”



Joel Schumacher Lists California Estate for $9.5 Million


Filmmaker Joel Schumacher has listed his Carpinteria, Calif., home for $9.5 million. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. Photo: Jim Bartsch.

Filmmaker Joel Schumacher has listed his 7-acre Carpinteria, Calif., estate for $9.5 million.


Jim BartschFilmmaker Joel Schumacher has listed his 7-acre Carpinteria, Calif., estate for $9.5 million.

Just outside of Santa Barbara, the compound was built by Mr. Schumacher on four separate parcels and includes a 6,500-square-foot main house with three bedrooms. Built in 2000, it has both mountain and ocean views and was built in a modern-rustic style with reclaimed barn wood. The home’s large living room has vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces and a loft currently configured as an office. A rotunda-shaped dining room has large windows overlooking a swimming pool. The master suite has a fireplace and a terrace.

The property also includes a guesthouse and a home for a property manager, each of which has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a pool house.

Known for such movies as “Batman Forever” and “A Time to Kill,” Mr. Schumacher is selling because he’s no longer using the property as much as he used to, according to a listing agent.

Rebecca Riskin & Associates is handling the listing.

A Miami, Fla., home has re-listed for $19 million, up from an original list price of $16.5 million. The seller is Dean Ziff, a private investor whose family founded and owned SunglassHut retail stores. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty.

Miami Home Relists and Ups Its Price by 15% to $19 Million

A Miami home has relisted for $19 million, up from an original list price of $16.5 million. The seller is Dean Ziff, a private investor whose family founded and owned Sunglass Hut retail stores.

Built in 1990, the home is on 2½ acres of waterfront along Biscayne Bay. Located in a neighborhood with 24-hour security, the property is surrounded by tropical landscaping. The 14,400-square-foot main house, with Colonial Colombian architectural influences, has eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The home is built around a central atrium, and includes a large master suite and a second-story loggia overlooking the water.

Outside, there’s a swimming pool with an island in the middle and a tennis court. There are also two one-bedroom casitas and a guesthouse with its own kitchen and living room.

The home’s listing agent, Mayi de la Vega of Sotheby’s International Realty, says the listing price was raised because home underwent restorations and updates when it was taken off the market. She shares the listing with Jorge Uribe, also of Sotheby’s.

A Southampton, N.Y. home has listed for $30 million. On more than five acres, the property is directly on the beach with about 200 feet of oceanfront. It includes a two-story, 5,000-square-foot contemporary home with five bedrooms and six bathrooms. Candace Jackson has details on The News Hub. Photo: Philip M. Stamm.

A Home in the Hamptons Lists for $30 Million

A Southampton, N.Y., home has listed for $30 million.

On more than 5 acres, the property is directly on the beach with about 200 feet of oceanfront. It includes a two-story, 5,000-square-foot contemporary home with five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The two-story home has two kitchens, one on each level. There’s a swimming pool surrounded by a glass atrium. It also has a gated entry and a tennis court.

Philip Stamm, an attorney for the owner, whom he described as an 83-year-old relative, says the owner is selling because he has had the property for more than 25 years and is looking to move on. Mr. Stamm is handling the listing; Ryan Podskoch and Matt Podskoch of Global Real Estate Network are also marketing the property.

—Candace Jackson—Email:

A version of this article appeared July 27, 2012, on page D8 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Private Properties.

I hope you enjoyed the article! -