A case decided just this month, Wing Street of Arlington Heights Condominium Association v. Kiss the Chef Holdings, LLC, 2016 IL App (1st) 142563, raises the issue of the condominium association’s right to demand six-months’ past due assessments from the buyer of a foreclosed condominium, but with a twist. In Wing Street, the bank that foreclosed the condominium transferred title to a wholly-owned subsidiary after the subsidiary purchased the condominium at the foreclosure sale. The defendant later purchased the condominium from the subsidiary. The transaction was not “closed” in the typical manner. Rather, the subsidiary issued a quit-claim deed to the defendant. Neither party requested nor obtained a paid assessment letter from the condominium association. Thereafter, the condominium association filed suit, claiming that the defendant owed six months’ past due assessments. The case was tried, and subsequently ended up in appeals. The appeals court determined that a wholly-owned subsidiary of a bank is, in fact, a mortgagee-in-possession under the… read more →
If you are a homeowner who pays a mortgage insurance premium, you’re in luck. Congress has passed a law which may allow you to write off mortgage insurance payments for 2015 and 2016. To qualify, you must have either a conventional loan that is eligible for sale to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, an FHA loan, a VA loan, or a Rural Housing loan backed by the Agriculture Department. Moreover, your adjusted gross income must be $100,000 or less (or $50,000 or less if married and filing separately). If your income is greater than that, you can still write off the mortgage insurance premiums, but they will be phased out until you hit $109,000 (or $54,900), after which point you will no longer qualify. A large number of homeowners are expected to qualify for this incentive, easing the tax burden nationwide.
Congress just passed the new budget, and there is good news for homeowners who went through a short sale in 2015, or who may be involved in a short sale in 2016. Normally, when a lender forgives your debt during a short sale, it is considered ordinary income to you. For example, let’s say you owe your lender $150,000, but you go through a short sale and all your lender gets is $100,000. In that situation, your lender would typically forgive the balance of $50,000. However, that $50,000 would be income to you, taxed at your ordinary marginal rate. Congress had passed a law so that you would not have to pay tax on debt forgiven by your lender in a short sale, but that law expired at the end of 2014. If your short sale didn’t close until 2015, you were not entitled to the tax benefit. Now Congress has… read more →
If you live in one of the collar counties, it’s that time of the year again. Your property taxes are now past due. The collar counties move quick. Pay your taxes now or face the consequences. Here’s what could happen to you if you don’t pay up by October 15 in DuPage County: Your delinquent payment will be published in the newspaper at the end of October, and after October 31, you won’t even be able to pay using a personal check. You can still pay with a credit or debit card until November 12. If you can’t make the payment by then, then you still have until 4:30 on November 19 to pay using certified funds. After that, it’s too late. The DuPage County tax sale begin on November 20. What about if you live in Lake County and haven’t paid your real estate taxes yet? Well, you have until October 8 to pay online, or until… read more →
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you probably already know there are many things you need to keep an eye out for; the list goes on and on and on. Well, here’s another one you may not have thought about just yet: Was the house ever used to make meth? And if it was, should you care? Well, yes, you should absolutely care. Meth can get into various surfaces in a home, and cause all sorts of health problems for the home’s occupants. Many homes used to manufacture meth were re-wired, which means there might also be a serious electrical hazard. And of course, meth remediation (yes, that’s a thing) is expensive. What should you look out for? Well, the home may have a strong chemical smell. There might be chemical stains on plumbing fixtures in the bathroom. You might feel a burning sensation in your throat or… read more →
The National Association of Homebuilders recently reported that residential construction increased in 2013. Overall, there was an 18.3% increase in residential construction spending over 2012. Specifically, construction of single-family homes was up 20%, and remodeling was up 14%. Multi-family saw the greatest increase, at nearly 35%. Increased construction shows the economy is looking up! Let’s hope it stays that way.
In November of 2013, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved a new standard for Phase 1 environmental studies. Here are some of the new requirements 1. The environmental consultant must look into the possibility of hazardous vapors migrating onto the property. 2. If neighboring properties are in public regulatory databases, the environmental consultant must conduct a review of those regulatory files. 3. The environmental consultant must identify recognized environmental conditions even if they have been resolved. When negotiating a contract where environmental studies will be required, keep in mind that the additional requirements may take additional time, so plan your due diligence accordingly.
When buying commercial property, especially if it’s vacant land and oftentimes even when it’s not, you have to know the condition of the real estate, and that involves an environmental study. The first step is to get the Phase 1. The Phase 1 is an environmental study designed to identify harmful environmental conditions that are affecting or may affect the property. It is essentially the first step in your environmental due diligence, and it can often determine whether or not you even proceed. The person conducting the Phase 1 will typically make a site visit, look into public records, check out the area where the Property is located, and review maps and images of the Property. Based on that, he will determine if the subject Property might have any environmental issues. For example, it might be a problem if there is a gas station next door. Or, from public records, he might figure out… read more →
According to a report released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last month, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have continued to buy questionable mortgages despite notice that there are issues with property appraisals. Apparently at some point during the process of buying the loans, the FHFA evaluates them. Between the summer of 2012 and early fall of 2013, the FHFA alerted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to appraisal issues on $107 billion in mortgage loans. Despite that, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went ahead and bought those loans anyway.
If you qualify for a Senior Exemption on your real estate taxes, you might also qualify for a senior freeze. A senior freeze is a great way to keep your taxes down, because it will essentially freeze the assessed value of your property to whatever the assessed value is the year you qualified. You won’t be subject to annual increases in the assessed valuation of the property, as long as you continue to qualify. To qualify for the 2013 senior freeze: 1) You must be born in 1948 or earlier. 2) You must own the property you are applying for, and it must be your principal place of residence. If you do not own it, but you have a lease that states that you are responsible for the payment of real estate taxes, that is sufficient. But you must have owned the property or had a leasehold interest… read more →