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Real Estate Agents and the new TRID rules

Real Estate Agents and the new TRID rules

Closing on your home soon…here is how changes aimed at helping you could end up hindering you. Your real estate Agent plays a large role in getting the deal to Settlement. One of the big challenges that real estate agents have now encountered has to do with the new consumer privacy rules.

Agents are used to being provided with copies of the settlement documents. The agent was then able to explain the documents to their clients and help check the numbers to ensure everything was correct prior to the closing. Under the new TRID rules, agents may now be on the outside looking in. Sometimes the agent is not able to see the disclosures until they are sitting with their clients at the settlement table.

As of now, some lenders and title companies lack clarity about what they are allowed to share with whom. That leaves it up to the consumers to be proactive about sharing the document with their agent. If the consumers fail to do so, it means the agent cannot catch mistakes early on that could end up delaying the settlement.

The roll-out of TRID was a big deal for the industry and the changes have not been without frustration. There has been a lot of discussion about whether the changes are a real value to the consumer and whether lenders may have to increase fees to account for the added time and manpower now needed to process loans. While it’s nice that the consumer can now get their costs and fees well in advance of closing, the new rules are adding time and some anxiety to the closing process.

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The Five Worst Passwords to Use

The Five Worst Passwords to Use

It was recently reported in a posting on foxnews.com that as of 2016 the five top most commonly used passwords on the Internet and therefore the worst to use from a security standpoint are:

 

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 123456789
  5. qwerty

Unfortunately people are still using these passwords because they are easy to remember. Some industry experts recommend using no fewer than 9 characters, with at least one number, a symbol and an upper case character and no sequential patterns. The thought is that 6 characters takes possibly seconds to break, but 9 or more non-sequenced characters makes it more difficult so hackers may move on. Changing your passwords regularly is also key. Some cyber security measures start with the simplest of items, strong passwords being one of them.

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Some things you should know about an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance

Some things you should know about an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance

  • Only the Owner Policy protects the property owner’s interest – the Loan Policy does not;
  • The Owner Policy insures the entire value of the property;
  • The Owner Policy is a one-time premium and the policy remains in effect and covers the insured for as long as they own the property;
  • Your coverage continues even AFTER conveying title by Warranty Deed in the event the new owner files a claim;
  • Coverage includes protection for “undetectable” defects such as forgery or fraud;
  • An Expanded Owner Policy includes survey coverage without a survey and covers you for things like building permits or zoning issues.

The Owners Policy of Title Insurance can be one of the most important purchases that you make for your new home.  Your lender will require you to purchase a Lenders Policy of Title Insurance to cover them.  For a minimal amount more, you can protect your interest as well.

 

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Homestead Rights in New Hampshire

Under Homestead Exemption laws any property designated as a homestead is exempt from execution and sale by creditors for the payment of debts. The protected amount differs in each state, but in New Hampshire every person is entitled to $1000,000 of his or her homestead to be exempt from the rights of creditors. That amount is slated to increase to $120,000 per person on January 1, 2016.

There are exceptions to the above and the following debts have precedence over the rights of homestead:

  • The collection of taxes;
  • The enforcement of liens of persons having done work for the construction, repair or improvement of the homestead;
  • In the enforcement of mortgages on the property;
  • In the enforcement of liens filed by homeowner or condominium associations for unpaid assessments.

No deed can convey or encumber the homestead right, except for a mortgage made at the time of purchase to secure payment of the money used to purchase the home, unless it is executed by the owner and spouse, if any. This is why, when a new mortgage is taken out or the property is conveyed, the husband and wife must both sign to release rights of homestead.

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Why do I need Title Insurance?

Title insurance is an insurance policy issued by a title company. It protects the purchaser or owner, against a loss that may arise by reason of a defect in your ownership or an interest you have in real property.  There are two different types of title insurance policies available:

An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance  and a Loan Policy of Title Insurance

Since most property owners mortgage or borrow money at the time of purchase or during ownership, the lender can be expected to request protection of its investment against loss. Lenders generally insist upon a Loan Policy of Title Insurance to protect their investment in your property. An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance protects your investment (equity) as the buyer or owner of the property. As the owner, you should want to have the same assurance as the lender so that the investment you have made cannot be lost because of a problem or defect with the title.

Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from loss that may occur from matters or defects from the past. Other types of insurance such as auto insurance, life insurance, or health insurance, cover you against losses that may occur in the future. Title insurance does not protect against a defect that may originate at a later date.

There are numerous defects or problems that can arise to cause an attack to or loss of the title to your property. Some of these include problems not disclosed by the most careful search of the public records (the title search). Hidden risks can cause a total loss of your investment or heavy legal expenses in the defense of an attack on the title. Some title problems may show up months or years after the original purchase of the property.

Here are some examples of matters that can cause loss of title or an expensive lawsuit:

Forged deeds, releases, wills, or other legal documents

Failure of spouses to join in conveyances

Undisclosed or missing heirs

Deeds from minors, aliens, or persons of unsound mind

Errors in indexing of public records  Liens for unpaid taxes including estate, inheritance, income, or gift taxes

Mistakes in recording legal documents

Wills that have not been probated

Title insurance defends you in a lawsuit attacking your title and either corrects the title problem or pays the insured’s losses up to the fact amount of the policy. The policy also protects you after you sell the property for the defects occurring prior to your ownership that cause a loss to a purchaser if the title was warranted by you.   The title policy guarantees that at the date the deed was filed for record that the title was free of defects apart from those excepted to in the policy. The policy does not guarantee an actual amount of land.

How do you obtain Title Insurance and what does it cost.. Let us know that you want to purchase an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance and we can tell you what it will cost. The cost is based on the purchase price of the property and your policy amount must be equal to the purchase price.

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What Are Equalization Rates Used For?

What Are Equalization Rates Used For?

Some states require that all municipalities value property at the same assessment-to-market value ratio. Equalization rates are used to ensure that property taxes are assessed equally and in proportion to fair market value across all municipalities.

Equalization seeks to ensure that a taxpayer in one community, whose property has a fair market value of $100,000 will pay the same taxes as a property with a fair market value of $100,000 located in another town, regardless of how those two properties are assessed.

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What is an equalization rate?

The equalization rate is a ratio of total assessed value for properties in a community to those property’s true market values. This number represents the NH Department of Revenue Administration’s judgment of how closely assessed values match the market value.

For example, an equalization rate of 90% would mean that on average the property in your community is being assessed at 90% of its market value. Check back and we will have more on this topic.

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What is a title search?

What is a title search?

A title search is sometimes referred to as an abstract of title or chain of title.  It is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.

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NHBR: Workers’ Compensation and New Businesses

Workers’ compensation and new businesses

http://www.nhbr.com/August-12-2011/Workers-compensation-and-new-businesses

In the early stages of starting a company, small business owners have many factors to consider. What your business does and what it requires of an employee has consequences from a workers’ compensation perspective. Understanding what exposure your company may have, and being proactive to prevent workplace injuries, can help lower the cost burden of workers’ compensation insurance.What is workers’ compensation (WC) insurance?

In a nutshell, it is insurance that covers an injury that arises out of and in the course of employment.

How many employees must a company have to require WC?

In New Hampshire, as few as one employee.

What is not covered under WC?

Circumstances vary, but these injuries are generally not covered by WC: self-inflicted injury • injury caused by intoxication from drugs and alcohol, assuming the employer did not know about the intoxication • employee-started fight, if the basis of it is personal in nature • driving to and from work, unless the worker is considered a traveling employee • participation in athletic/recreational activities, on or off premises, unless the employee reasonably expected, based on the employer’s instruction or policy, that participation was a condition of employment or required for promotion, increased compensation or continued employment • mental injury/illness arising from good faith action taken by the employer, including but not limited to: work evaluation, disciplinary action, job transfer, lay-off, demotion or termination

Can an employer still be sued?

Except for intentional torts, the state’s workers’ compensation statute bars injured employees who sustained a compensable injury from bringing action at common law or by statute. However, an employee can elect to bring action to recover damages for wrongful termination or constructive discharge. If the worker pursues this remedy, he/she waives claims for compensation allegedly caused by such termination or discharge.

What does WC insurance cover?

WC insurance specifically insures an employer for costs from a work-related injury such as lost wages, medical costs, permanent impairment awards, vocational services, and costs associated with an attorney to defend your company if there is a claim.

Paul Kfoury Jr. is a partner at Trombley Kfoury, P.A., a law firm specializing in workers’ compensation issues. He is past chair of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Section, and speaks with insurance companies and employers regularly. He also holds trainings and seminars involving WC issues.

(more…)

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