If you are involved in community association management, or if you are a member of or on the board of a community association looking for a new manager for your association, you need to know that effective October 2012, community association managers in Illinois must be licensed under the Community Association Manager License and Disciplinary Act (CAMLDA). Community association managers are not the same as property managers. To fall under the purview of the CAMLDA, a manager must be managing one or more community associations. A community association is a group that 1) individual unit owners must be a part of as a result of their ownership in a condominium association or other such homeowners’ association, and 2) the association must have a right to impose assessments on unit owners. Moreover, a community association manager may have a lot of responsibilities that a property manager doesn’t have, such as collecting… read more →
If you own or are buying a condominium, you may come across the term “special assessment”. What does that mean? Well, there’s a regular assessment, usually monthly, that you are paying towards the association’s general maintenance expenses. But when there’s a large scale improvement or repair that wasn’t budgeted for, the association needs to get the money from somewhere. So what do they do? They assess it to the homeowners. It’s not a part of the regular expense; hence, it’s “special”. Often when you see a special assessment, it’s for a big-ticket items like a roof repair, tuckpointing, sudden damage to the building, or some other large renovation or repair. Special assessments can be a few dollars or thousands of dollars, so make sure you do your diligence if you’re buying . A Section 22.1 Disclosure is key to help you determine what costs you may be looking at in the… read more →
If you are buying residential property, you are probably aware that you should get a home inspection. This means you should hire a licensed home inspector to check out the house for you. Typically this is done within the first 5 days after the contract is signed by the seller. If you are not happy with the way the inspection turns out, your attorney can cancel the transaction or try to negotiate the repairs or a credit for you. Keep in mind, however, that a typical home inspection is not meant to cover cosmetic items. If you are walking through the house and notice chipped tiles or peeling paint, take all of that into account when you make your initial offer. The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that the home’s structure and systems are in good condition, not to find peeling wallpaper or dirty carpets. Make sure your home… read more →
According to data recently released by Zillow, Chicago was the best buyer’s market in the United States in the third and fourth quarters of 2012. Zillow studied 142 metro areas across the country, and found that buyers in Chicago have far stronger bargaining positions than sellers do. Cleveland came in second place, and the top five were rounded out by by Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and New York City. The top three seller’s markets, meaning metro areas in which the sellers had greater bargaining power than the buyers, were all in California: San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento. The top five were rounded out by Las Vegas and Phoenix. The formula Zillow used to determine the best markets had three components: 1) A comparison of how much a house sells for as compared to its last listed price; 2) the amount of time a house stays on the market; and 3) the… read more →
Landlords and tenants often end up fighting, and sometimes the arguments continue well past the end of the tenancy. You may have had a bad landlord, or a bad tenant, but the fact is, not all landlords are bad, and neither are all tenants. Periodically the state legislature makes little tweaks to various laws to acknowledge either or both of these assertions. Recently, for example, the legislature tweaked the Security Deposit Return Act. Pursuant to this Act, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized list of the damage the tenant caused to the landlord’s property within 30 days after the tenant leaves, along with the cost (either actual or estimated) of repairing the same. This notice must be given to the tenant personally, or at his last known address. Effective January 1, 2013, however, landlords have the option of sending this notice via electronic mail to an e-mail address… read more →
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!