I-Team: Deadline for Tax Relief on Short Sales Nearing - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Deadline for Tax Relief on Short Sales Nearing

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Mary Lou Glover loves her Sun City Summerlin townhome but like so many she's hopelessly underwater. Mary Lou Glover loves her Sun City Summerlin townhome but like so many she's hopelessly underwater.

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas homeowners looking to short sell their homes before a New Year's Eve federal deadline are finding surprising opposition. They claim the federal National Mortgage Association, known to most as Fannie Mae, is increasingly blocking short sales.

There's a rush of short sales in Las Vegas as sellers and buyers hope to beat the expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. When it expires at the end of the year, people will need to pay increased taxes on the difference in value between their short sale and maximum market value. Some homeowners racing to beat the deadline have hit a major obstacle.

Mary Lou Glover loves her Sun City Summerlin townhome but like so many she's hopelessly underwater. Glover found a short sale buyer willing to let her stay in the home but loan owner Fannie Mae said no to multiple cash offers. Ehren Alessi is Glover's real estate agent.

"The appraisal came in at $155,000 so we submitted a value dispute," said Glover's real estate agent Ehren Alessi with Resolution Realty.

He said Fannie Mae denied the request and said the offer was too low.

"They wanted $200,000 and to put the property back on the market," he said.

"This is enough to make you crazy," Glover said.

Her case does not appear to be unique. Foreclosure attorneys claim they have noticed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac becoming much less flexible in short sale offers.

"We've talked to offices in Arizona. We talked to offices in California. Everybody's seeing the same trend. Frankly, I don't know why," foreclosure attorney Jamie Cogburn said.

A spokesman with Fannie Mae said it stands by the accuracy of its home prices. He also said Fannie Mae defends its choice of specific homes to compare housing values. Cogburn believes he's noticing a pattern.

"They go, 'hey we're not going to use other short sales or foreclosures as comparable's. We want to use traditional sales as comparable's.' You can imagine there's not a lot of traditional sales because 70 percent of the market, the value is underwater," Cogburn said.

Glover has watched buyer after buyer walk away from her home. She believes Fannie Mae has priced her out of the market. She made the decision several months ago to stop making her mortgage payments after hearing it was the only way to get banks to agree to a short sale. She's starting to regret that decision and now fears getting booted out by foreclosure.

"It's definitely something worth fighting for," she said.

Unless Washington politicians make a deal, taxes will increase significantly for every short sale after Dec. 31, 2012. Even if a loan is not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the short sale tax increase can still impact home sellers. Nevada's attorney general and 40 others are pressing Washington to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. It may become part of the so-called "fiscal cliff" deal.

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