According to the National Association of Realtors, last month (June) existing home sales reached a nine-year high. It was the strongest month in existing home sales since 2007. Moreover, 33% of the people who bought a home last month were buying a home for the first time. That’s the highest level of first-time buyers in the last four years. The median existing home price also went up almost 5% to $247,700 in June. Unfortunately, the Midwest had the lowest median home price in the entire country — $199,900. The west coast had the highest median home price, at $350,800. Why are we having all this growth? Well, low mortgages might have something to do with it. Mortgages are currently quite affordable as a result, and the economy has posted job gains as well. The real estate market is doing well. Let’s hope it stays that way!
In a recent case arising out of a foreclosure in DuPage county (Old Second National Bank v. Jafry, 2016 IL App (2d) 150825 (June 28, 2016) DuPage Co.), the appellate court ruled that even though the lender (who had foreclosed the defendant) had already made back a portion of what it was owed by the defendant through a subsequent sale, it was still allowed to collect the entire deficiency from the defendant. The defendants had guaranteed a loan made by Old Second National Bank. Subsequently, the mortgagor defaulted, and the bank foreclosed the property. The bank purchased the property for $900,000 at the sheriff’s sale, and the trial court entered a deficiency judgment against the defendants in the amount of $577,876. After four months, the bank sold the property to a third-party purchaser for $1,320,000. The bank then sought to collect the full deficiency judgment of $577,786. Since the bank… read more →
The National Association of Realtors states that about a million of the whopping 9.2 million Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales between 2006 and 2014 are already homeowners again. Truth be told, it’s not easy to get a loan once you’ve been foreclosed or been through a short sale. But it’s not impossible either. Like many other things in life, it takes time and hard work. Here’s what you need to know to make it happen: Your credit is very, very important. Try to build up your credit. For a conventional loan, you will need a minimum credit score of 620. For an FHA loan, that number drops to 580. Make payments on time. Again, this is key for lenders. Your lender may look to see how often you pay bills on time. Keep tabs on your paperwork for everything financial – bank statements, tax returns,… read more →
Anyone that has moved knows what a pain it is — the endless packing and unpacking, arranging and re-arranging furniture, decorating, painting, etc. And let’s face it, many people still have an unpacked box or two (or ten). Really, moving is just so much work. Despite all of that, apparently age does not make you less likely to move. Freddie Mac recently completed a survey, called the Freddie Mac 55+ survey, in which they determined that 40% of homeowners over the age of 55 – that’s almost 27 million people — would like to move. While half of those homeowners plan on spending less on their next home, 12% actually plan on spending more than the price range of their current home, while the remaining 48% anticipate moving into a home in the same general price range. Why do baby boomers want to move? Well, the affordability of their communities,… read more →
The Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO), which governs residential leases and the interactions between Chicago landlords and tenants, includes an attorneys’ fees provision in favor of the tenant. Specifically, it states that if a Chicago tenant sues a Chicago landlord under the CRLTO and wins, the Tenant gets to collect attorneys’ fees and costs from the landlord. Fortunately for tenants and unfortunately for landlords, this happens all the time. But what happens when the landlord appeals the judgment? If the tenant wins again, does the landlord have to pay their attorneys’ fees again? This question arose in a recent case, Trutin v. Adam, 2016 IL App (1st) 142853 (May 12, 2016) Cook Co., 4th Div. In Trutin, after the tenant vacated her unit per the lease, the landlord did not return the full security deposit. Instead, the landlord deducted $400 for various repairs, and itemized them. The tenant sued… read more →
A Texas-based insurance company, ValueInsured, is now offering a brand new product for home buyers. We’ve all heard of property insurance, title insurance and mortgage insurance. ValueInsured is offering something different: down payment insurance. According to ValueInsured, you (the buyer) pay them a one-time premium based on the value of your downpayment. You can insure up to 20% of your home’s value, but ValueInsured’s limit is $200,000. The insurance is good for seven years. If within those seven years, you have to sell your home but the value has declined and you’re losing your down payment equity as a result, ValueInsured will pay you back your equity. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, the catch is that if you do actually have to sell your house at a loss, ValueInsured will not look at your specific house to see how much value was lost. Rather, they will review a state-by-state… read more →
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced a plan that will help some homeowners who are severely underwater reduce the principal on their mortgages. You could qualify if: The balance of the principal on your mortgage is $250,000 or less. You are at least 90 days delinquent as of March 1, 2016. Your home is valued at least 15% less than the balance of your mortgage. Your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If you qualify, your principal balance could be reduced by up to 30% of what you owe. However, the principal can’t be reduced below 15% of the market value of your home. At the end of the day, you would still be underwater, just less deep. Only about 33,000 people will qualify for this program across the US. How do you find out if you’re one of the lucky few? Your lender should… read more →
If you live in a condominium association and are aware of a dangerous condition on-site, hopefully it is fixed before your association becomes the subject of a lawsuit. Recently, the Illinois Appellate Court held that if a condominium association has constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition, it can be held liable if anyone is injured as a result. In the case of Scepley v. The Condominiums of Logan Square, which is not published, the plaintiff was delivering a parcel to the association when he was injured due to a hole in the ground. The court determined that the condominium association should have kept the common elements in a safe condition, and as long as the association had constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition, that was sufficient for the association to be held liable. Note that constructive knowledge is not the same thing as actual knowledge. Undoubtedly the association would also… read more →
Among all the other things that Fannie Mae does, it also maintains a Home Purchase Sentiment Index. Here’s what their latest figures show: Since March, the number of people who think home prices are going to up over the next 12 months has increased. Additionally, more people also seem to think that mortgage rates will go up over the next year. 11% of people state that their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago. 15% of people say that right now is a great time to seller a home. This is the highest ever. Interestingly, 30% of buyers say now is a good time to buy. While that seems high compared to the sellers in number 4 above, it’s actually the lowest it’s ever been. 74% of people state they are not concerned with losing their job.
Back when the real estate market was hot, in the mid-2000s, people were borrowing against the equity in their homes for pretty much anything and everything. In 2005, in fact, American homeowners borrowed more than $350 billion. After the economy crashed, whether out of fear or because their homes no longer had equity, people stopped borrowing against their homes. In 2011, home equity borrowing was down to about $73 billion, just about a fifth of what it was during the real estate hey-days. But since then, it’s been gradually increasing. In 2014, Americans borrowed about $121 billion against their homes. In 2015, that amount went up by 20%, to about $146 billion. As the values of their homes increase, borrowers are taking advantage of their newfound (or returned) equity to update their homes, among other things. Of course, it’s still not always easy to get a loan, what with tight… read more →