Chicagoland suffered heavy storm damage in April of this year. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) extended flood recovery assistance to area homeowners. Homeowners may receive a grant or a low interest loan for lost property from FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA). The deadline to apply with FEMA passed a couple weeks back, but FEMA has now extended the deadline to July 24, 2013 That gives affected homeowners a few more weeks to apply. In order to apply, you will need your address, a list of everyone who lives in your home, description of the damage, your social security numbers, and your insurance information. The SBA’s filing deadline is actually February 10, 2014. Affected homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for lost real property, and up to $40,000 for lost personal property. Homeowners and renters will pay a low interest rate, amortized over 30 years,… read more →
Under state law, any seller of residential real estate must provide the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure to potential buyers. But the report, extensive as it is, does not cover everything. Buyers must be aware of that, and perform thorough inspections to satisfy themselves before moving forward with any purchase.As you will see in Kalkman v. Nedved, 2013 IL App (3d) 120800 (June 14, 2013) Knox Co. (McDADE), sometimes buyers learn this too late. The Kalkmans found a lakefront home they liked, and decided to purchase it. Their mold inspector discovered the presence of mold, but that issue was resolved between the parties. The home inspector noted a potential problem with the windows, but it appears that the parties did not deem it serious at the time.The buyers reviewed the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure, which stated, among other things, that the sellers had no knowledge of defects in the walls. … read more →
Cook County’s annual sale of delinquent property taxes is just six weeks away. What can you buy? Delinquent taxes from 2011. The sale is scheduled to begin on August 5. Although most real estate taxes get paid before the tax sale buyer ends up with the property, some tax sale buyers do get lucky and end up with a property at a bargain price,. If you owe taxes for 2011, and you don’t want your home to be sold at the tax sale, you need to go downtown to the Cook County Treasurer’s office at least one business day before the sale and pay the taxes. The treasurer’s office will only accept cash, cashier’s checks, money orders, or certified checks. The taxes can also be paid on the Cook County Treasurer’s website until July 26, 2013, or at any Chicagoland Chase Bank until August 1, 2013.
Following at least eleven other counties in Illinois, Lake County no longer allows non-lawyers to represent homeowners at the Tax Appeal Board level. Homeowners and property owners may represent themselves (assuming they are individuals and not entities), or they may engage a licensed attorney. Any other person or entity who appears shall be committing the unauthorized practice of law. However, real estate brokers, architects, accountants and appraisers may continue to serve as expert witnesses.
In Palm v 2800 Lake Shore Drive Condo Ass’n, 2013 IL 110505, the court determined that any home-rule municipality may enact its own regulations affecting condominiums, despite the existence of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Following a dispute with his condominium association in 1999, Mr. Palm requested the association’s financial records pursuant to Chicago law. Under Chicago law, a condominium owner need not provide a reason for his request; moreover, the association must provide all financial records within three business days. On the other hand, the Illinois Condominium Property Act requires condominium owners to submit a reason for the request, limits the request to the last ten years, and gives the association thirty days to produce the documents. At the end of the day, the condominium association in the Palm case challenged local law, and lost. The court ruled that home rule municipalities can govern condominiums as they choose, since… read more →
Although it’s hard to pinpoint the reason why, in a report presented to Congress last month by TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program) we learned that many homeowners whose loans were modified under HAMP are defaulting on their modified mortgages. Nearly half of the people that were approved for permanent modifications when HAMP first started, in the summer/fall of 2009, have defaulted. Also, nearly 40% of the people whose loans were modified in the last quarter of 2009 have defaulted. And averaging across the year, about a third of mortgages modified under HAMP in 2010 have now re-defaulted. That is a whole lot of defaulting. It’s not easy to get a mortgage modified, much less to have it modified under HAMP. Generally homeowners are glad to receive the modification, so long as they believe they can make the payments. Then why all of these defaults? Unfortunately, there is no data available that… read more →
Last year, the government reached a $25 billion settlement with five large mortgage lenders. During the last year, Illinois homeowners have slowly been receiving the fruits of that settlement. Over a year later, almost $1.8 billion has been distributed to over 25,000 Illinois residents. Initial estimates were that Illinois residents would receive between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, but it turns out we were owed more. How have these benefits played out? Well, over 5,000 homeowners were able to complete short sales with their lender’s permission. More than 8,000 homeowners had their secondary liens canceled entirely, leaving them with only their first mortgage. Over 3,500 homeowners received permanent loan modifications with large reductions in the principal owed, averaging over $118,000. The government is still monitoring banks for compliance.
According to RealtyTrac, there were 2,945 scheduled residential auctions last month in Cook County. That’s the most auctions in any given month in nearly three years. Just a year ago in April of 2012, there were only 1,844 scheduled foreclosure auctions. Of course, not all of the properties actually end up auctioned. Some auctions get canceled because the homeowner is able to work out an alternative deal with the lender, such as a foreclosure or short sale. Some are simply postponed for a short while. Of the auctions that did happen, only about ten percent went to third parties. Most of the time, the bank just ends up taking possession of the property and eventually selling it on the market. Despite the increased auctions last month, RealtyTrac stated that in general, foreclosure activity is down in Illinois.
What’s in a name? Sometimes quite a lot. According to a report by Colliers International, in 2012 streets worldwide with strong name recognition saw double-digit rent increases. For example, Fifth Avenue (New York), Old Bond Street (London), and our very own North Michigan Avenue here in Chicago all saw significant rent increases. A lot of retailers want to be on the “best” streets — the streets that pull both the locals and the tourists — and that drives the increased rent. In the United States, key streets in Miami and New York saw rent increases of over 30%; in fact, rents on Madison Avenue in New York increased nearly 40%. Key streets in Atlanta and San Diego saw rent increases over 10%. That’s great news for landlords, and also signifies that retailers are investing more. If retailers feel the increased rents are justified by profits, that’s good news for the… read more →
Close your windows! Lock your doors! Turn out the lights and hide! The zombies are coming! No, seriously, they are, but these zombies are not a threat to your life. These are zombie foreclosures, and they seem to be increasing nationwide. What are zombie foreclosures? Well, let’s say a homeowner who is not making mortgage payments gets a foreclosure notice. Instead of trying to fight it, the homeowner decides it’s not worth it and moves out. Subsequently the bank does not complete the foreclosure process. Wait a minute, why didn’t the bank foreclose? You may have noticed that 1) the real estate market crashed a few years back; 2) many homeowners are facing or fighting foreclosure; 3) the economy’s been troubled. As a result, there is quite a backlog of foreclosures. Moreover, some banks don’t even want to foreclose because they don’t want to be stuck with the burden of… read more →