3 Tips To Make Sure You Avoid Foreclosure At All Costs

After the recent real estate boom in Texas and nationwide, there are many homeowners concerned about lagging property values, spiking mortgage payments and the economy in general. When the dream of homeownership is threatened by the possibility of default on a mortgage, Texas homeowners have avenues available to them to avoid foreclosure. Here are three things you can do to avoid foreclosure of your Texas home.

Know your refinance options.

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage or interest-only mortgage, you can and should plan for the time when your payment “adjusts.” It’s usually going to be much higher than your introductory payments.

But it’s not a good idea to count on refinancing before your payment adjusts to avoid a payment spike. Property values could stagnate, someone in your household could lose a job, or you may have unforeseen expenses in the meantime that would make it difficult to refinance.

While you shouldn’t count on refinancing as a slam dunk solution, it’s important to know your options in advance. You’ll get the best refinanced loan if you own at least 20 percent equity in your home when you apply. If that is unlikely, because of stagnating property values or the fact you haven’t paid down enough principal, research your options and know how much a refinanced loan is likely to cost in closing costs and fees. The time to understand what refinanced loan is best for you is before you get a drastic monthly payment adjustment.

Contact and work with your lender.

Many homeowners are reluctant to let their lender know they’re having trouble or are anticipating problems making their monthly payments. But it’s in your lender’s interest to make sure you continue paying on your loan, and they are always willing to discuss options with you. Contact them as soon as you foresee problems.

If you wait and begin getting default notices from your lender, definitely do not ignore them. They very worst thing you can do is pretend you don’t have a problem.

Your lender may talk to you about several options. One is loan forbearance, in which you stop making payments for a certain amount of time until you’re back on your feet. Another is a payment plan for repaying past due payments and fees. You may even learn about a modified loan that is easier on your financial situation. There may be any number of other constructive options. Don’t hesitate to work with your lender!

Consult with a listing agent

One option available to Texas homeowners behind on their payments is a “short sale.” In a short sale your lender agrees to let you sell your home for less than the balance you owe on your mortgage. Your lender may still work out a repayment plan with you for the difference, and the difference between what you sell for an the market value may be treated as income for tax purposes, so this isn’t a totally painless option. Still, it is increasingly a more desirable course for troubled homeowners than foreclosure.

Whether you live in Dallas TX, Houston, Austin, or anywhere else in Texas, a local listing agent can help you determine the likely sales price of your home on the open market, and help you market your home as a short sale. A listing agent’s expertise in the CITY real estate market can be invaluable if you’re considering a short sale to avoid foreclosure.

Making Sense of Separately Managed Accounts and Individually Managed Accounts

Individually Managed Accounts (IMAs) and Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs) both offer investors a highly transparent managed share portfolio while avoiding the tax distortions that come with pooled investment vehicles such as managed funds.However, there are some important differences between individually and separately managed accounts and while they may sound very similar, these differences can have a significant impact on investment performance, suitability, and tax effectiveness.In General, Separately Managed Accounts are a good alternative to managed funds for many investors, while investors with $1 million or more, are likely to find the features of an IMA more compelling.The key differences between the two types of managed accounts rests in their approach to building an investment portfolio.SMAs are constructed with a ‘model portfolio’ where each investor receives precisely the same portfolio, based on a template created by the fund manager. IMAs however, are constructed individually for each investor, although each account will share some common holdings. These two approaches have some important differences:Investors in a SMA may buy stocks that have already enjoyed most of their returns, but remain in the model portfolio to avoid realising capital gains tax. IMA investors however will receive a portfolio that is assembled incrementally, as attractive opportunities arise.For the same reason, new investors in Separately Managed Accounts will receive a larger position in stocks that have already performed well, while IMA investors are likely to receive larger holdings in stocks the investment manager believes will perform well in future.IMAs also provide the ability to tailor the portfolio to the investor’s circumstances. For instance, an IMA manager may place more weight on generating franked dividends for a SMSF, while long term capital appreciation could be more valuable for an investor with a high tax rate. These differences in investment management help produce good after tax results for each investor. Since every investor in a SMA receives the same portfolio, the Separately Managed Account manager cannot factor individual considerations into their management.Both structures will allow the transfer an existing portfolio, with the IMA providing some additional flexibility and tax advantages. When importing an existing portfolio into a SMA, only those shares contained in the model portfolio will be retained and only to the proportion held in the model portfolio. Therefore, investors may still realise capital gains when entering an SMA. Conversely, a diligent IMA manager will adapt the existing portfolio over time and with consideration to tax events.Both offer tax effective investment management to tax conscience investors.For investors wishing to exclude individual stocks or sectors, an Individually Managed Account manager will hold alternative positions, while the SMA will generally hold cash in lieu of the excluded positions. This can have a significant impact on the portfolio’s overall returns.In executing trades, SMA investors will generally receive ‘at market’ prices on their transactions, while an IMA manager may attempt to get best execution and/or exercise discretion over the timing of buys and sells.Service levels are also different, with holders of Separately Managed Accounts receiving a service akin to a managed fund. while those using Individually Managed Accounts have ongoing access to the fund manager responsible for their portfolio and will likely receive personalised reporting.

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