A few laws benefiting home owners and borrowers have been extended through December 31, 2013. First of all, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 expired on Decembr 31, 2012. On New Year’s Day, however, lawmakers extended the act through 2013. This is good news if you are going through a short sale. Typically, any debt that is forgiven during the course of a short sale is taxable income to the homeowner who’s debt is forgiven. But pursuant to the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, such debt is not taxable. Second, mortgage insurance premiums will remain deductible, as they were in the past, as a result of the recent “fiscal cliff” laws. These deductions allow a sizeable savings for homeowners who pay mortgage insurance, so long as their income is less than $110,000 annually Third, in 2012, homeowners who made energy-efficient improvements were allowed to take a $500 tax credit if they… read more →
According to research conducted by an advisory committee appointed by the Cook County Board President, 80 government bodies in 23 different states have a land bank. Last month the Cook County Board President is recommending that Cook County form one too. What is a land bank? In this context, a typical land bank is a quasi-governmental group that buys (or receives via donation), maintains, manages and then eventually sells off properties that were otherwise serving no real purpose. Usually the properties owned by the land bank were either foreclosed or sold at scavenger sales; often they are vacant and seldom have they been maintained. If Cook County’s land bank is formed, the advisory committee hopes it will deal with 850 properties in its first year. This estimate assumes that the land bank would purchase 30% of the properties with an initial $1 million start-up investment, and that 70% of the… read more →
In 2012, the Illinois state legislature made some changes to radon-related items that took effect on January 1, 2013. Here are the basics: 1) Licensed day care centers, licensed home day care facilities, and licensed group day care homes must be tested for radon at least once every three years. The radon test report must be posted in the facility, and copies must be available to parents and guardians upon request. 2) The Radon Disclosure form (given to buyers) has been changed. Specifically, sellers are now required to give buyers the most current records of radon on the property, as opposed to “all available” records. Attorneys, real estate agents, and sellers should take care to use the new form.
Recently, Illinois invested more money into Welcome Home Heroes. The $5 million cash injection will help military families and veterans buy homes in the state. In addition to active military members and veterans, the program is also available to Illinois National Guard members and reservists. To qualify under this program, you must be a first-time home buyer unless you are a veteran. There are income limits as well. If you are buying a home in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will, McHenry, or Kane counties, then your household income must be less than $90,960, assuming your household consists of 1-2 people. If your household consists of 3 or more people, your household income must be less than $106,120. All other Illinois counties are eligible too, although they each have their own income limits. Of course, there are limits on the purchase price as well. If you are buying a single-family property in… read more →
The National Association of Realtors recently profiled home buyers in 2012. Here are some tidbits: In 2012: 1) 39% of homes were purchased by first-time home buyers.2) Married couples purchased 65% of all homes bought.3) Married couples sold 76% of all homes sold.4) The average seller had lived in his home for 9 years at the time he or she sold it.5) The average home buyer was 42 years old. If you are trying to sell your home, perhaps this information can help you cater to the potential buyers out there!
About 80,000 people visit the Cook County Clerk’s office each year, just to find out if a parcel of real estate they own or are interested in has delinquent property taxes. Additionally, the Cook County Clerk’s office gets 96,000 calls a year, for the same reason. This doesn’t include all of the other phone calls and visitors they field. In order to be more efficient, the Cook County Clerk’s office has now posted this information online. Visitors to this new database can view the status of properties with unpaid taxes in the last 20 years, including information about whether the taxes have been sold or not. This information helps not only homeowners and prospective purchasers, but real estate attorneys and title companies as well! If you would like to visit the database, click here.
A bill passed the state house and senate earlier this month, and if it is signed into law by the governor, it could change the foreclosure landscape significantly when it takes effect on June 1, 2013. What would the new bill accomplish? First, the bill would charge more money to banks who file frequent foreclosures. Any lender that filed at least 175 foreclosures in the last year would have to pay an additional $500 for every new foreclosure complaint it files. Lenders that filed between 50 and 174 foreclosures in the last year would be charged an additional $250 per new filing, and lenders that filed between 1 and 49 foreclosures in the last year would pay an additional $50 per new complaint. With the amount of foreclosures filed annually, it is estimated that an additional $41 million in revenues will be collected in the year after the law takes effect.Second, the… read more →
A recent case, Spanish Court Two Condominium Association v. Carlson, 2012 IL App (2d) 110473 (June 27, 2012) is going to affect forcibles involving condominium associations throughout the state. In that case, the condominium association filed a complaint in forcible entry and detainer against the defendant based on defendant’s failure to pay regular and special assessments for six months. The defendant did not deny that she had not paid assessments. Rather, she claimed she did not owe assessments because the condominium association had failed to maintain the roof and the brickwork above her unit, causing damage to her unit and its contents. Further, she claimed that the condominum association had ordered her bathroom to be partially “destroyed”, believing that it was causing a leak in a neighboring unit. When the plumber determined the leak did not originate in her unit, the association repaired the bathroom, except for the toilet, which was inoperable. Based on these items, the defendant… read more →
When you apply for a short sale, you have to submit a LOT of paperwork. It’s a time-consuming process. And if you fail to respond to the bank quickly, well, they just close out your file and you get the privilege of applying all over again. It’s not a fun road, but it’s traveled all too often these days. If they’re going to put you through all that, make sure at the end you get what you deserve! There are a number of incentives out there to encourage short sales. For example: 1. If you are a seller who qualifies for a short sale under the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program (HAFA), you could receive up to $3,000 in relocation costs. 2. Larger banks are offering their own incentives to sellers. Bank of America, Chase and Citibank often offer some relocation assistance as well, even if the loan does not qualify… read more →
Short sale rules are changing all the time. Here are some new tidbits that may be of interest to you: 1) Effective June 2012, lenders must provide a response within 30 days of receiving a short sale offer if the loan is backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, or is subject to the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Act (HAFA). Also, those lenders must make a final decision within 60 days. 2) HAFA is no longer limited to owner-occupied homes. Certain investment properties may qualify under HAFA as well. 3) Homeowners who are in the military, and need to move quickly as a result of receiving new orders, can qualify for short sale assistance automatically if their loans are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and if they owe more than their home is worth.