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 →
The Illinois Condominium Property Act states what a Buyer needs to pay to the association when purchasing foreclosed property from a lender. A blog post I wrote some years ago talks about that. But the reality is, there’s a lot of confusion out there. A new bill introduced recently to the state House makes some proposals to help clarify the prospective buyer’s obligations. Specifically:1) Anyone who purchases a foreclosed condominium from the mortgagee of the condominium will be responsible for up to 9 months of regular back assessments.2) The association can include legal fees and court costs incurred because of the non-payment of assessments, but the TOTAL bill to the new buyer cannot be greater than 9 months of regular back assessments total.3) Any foreclosure sale notice must specifically state that anyone who buys the property from the mortgagee may be responsible for up to 9 months of back assessments.4) Any proposed buyer… read more →
According to RealtyTrac, in Illinois and around the country, foreclosures went down during the first quarter of 2013. While Illinois’ rate of foreclosure activity dropped nearly 5% from the first quarter of 2012, Illinois still ranks the third highest in foreclosure activity in the country. Only Florida and Nevada have more foreclosures than Illinois. Chicago, Cook County, and all of the collar counties, with the exception of DuPage County, had reduced foreclosure activity between January 1 and March 31, 2013. DuPage County’s foreclosure rate increased over both the first and last quarters of 2012. Nationally, 152,500 properties had foreclosures filed againt them in March of 2013. That’s actually a little less than the number of new foreclosures filed in February 2012, and about 23% less than the number of new foreclosures filed in March 2012.
In a recent case, OneWest Bank, FSB v. Hawthorne, 2013 IL App (5th) 110475 (February 4, 2013), the appellate court basically told a homeowner who was trying to appeal her foreclosure that she should not have ignored it for so long, and that she should have acted with diligence. The bank filed its foreclosure on April 5, 2010, and after trying and failing to reach Ms. Hawthorne directly, filed a motion for default judgment on June 21, 2010. Judgment was entered in the bank’s favor just three days later. That fall, Hawthorne file a motion, pro se, to have the judgment vacated. She hired an attorney to assist her a little later. However, neither she nor her attorney appeared in court for the hearing. The property was eventually sold at a public auction in April 2011, and the court entered the order approving the sale in May. Shortly thereafter, Hawthorne tried to get… read more →
The Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board is short-staffed, and as a result nearly 87,500 Illinois real estate tax payers have a long wait ahead of them. One of the auditors estimated two years to process the pending cases. In 2012 alone, 42,871 appeals were filed, nearly a 36% increase over 2011, and a whopping 226% increase since 2002, when the agency had twice as much staff as it does now. Back then, applications were fewer, and despite the larger staff, it still took a while to process files, though not as long as it does now. The state legislature has set aside more funds to increase the staff at the appeals board, but even so, the staff won’t reach 2002 levels. So if your tax appeal is not getting processed, it’s probably sitting in a pile somewhere with 42,000 other tax appeals in the same boat. It will get processed eventually, so sit tight.
A recent case, NAV Bank . LaSalle Bank, N.A., 2013 IL App (1st) 121147 (January 22, 2013) Cook Co.,1st Div. found that it was fair to sell a half-interest in a home at a forced sale at a price significantly below half of the market value of the home.NAV Bank revolves around a dispute over a single family home that began in the 1990s. After much litigation, one family, the Toms, won against the other party, Adeline Moy. Ms. Moy has since passed, and the Toms attempted to enforce the judgment against Ms. Moy by going after her interest in the home that she and her husband, Mr. Moy, owned.After much maneuvering, Ms. Moy’s half-interest in the home was sold. The Toms purchased the half-interest for $20,000, even though the house appraised at $280,000. No one else placed a bid. Mr. Moy asked the court to set aside the sale on the grounds that the sales price was too low.In the… read more →