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Owner’s and Lender’s Title Insurance

Owner’s and Lender’s Title Insurance

Lender’s Policy – If you have ever taken out a mortgage on your home it is likely that the lender required you to purchase a title insurance policy. Then lender’s policy is also known as a loan policy and most lending institutions require it as a way to insure their security interest in the property. The policy protects the lender for as long as the loan is outstanding.

Owner’s Policy – As a buyer, you also want to protect your investment and your ownership rights in your property. That is why you should purchase an owner’s policy of title insurance.  This will protect your rights as the homeowner for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.

Both of these title insurance policies pay valid claims along with the legal fees to defend against hidden title issues. They also help to decrease ownership risks by providing a thorough title search prior to the issuance of either policy.

Refinance Transactions – If you are refinancing your property you may be surprised to see that you are required to purchase a new lender’s policy of title insurance. This is because a lender’s policy only provides coverage for the life of a loan. When a home is refinanced that previous loan is paid off and the policy ends. Therefore, a new lender’s policy will be required. Because your owner’s policy provides coverage for as long as you own your home and additionally to your heirs, there is no need to purchase a new owner’s policy when refinancing

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Tenancy in New Hampshire

Tenancy in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has two types of tenancy, Tenants in Common and Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS). This has been the law in New Hampshire since November 13, 1959.

Every conveyance of real estate to two or more persons creates a tenancy in common pursuant to New Hampshire RSA 477:18. That means, that if the person preparing your deed fails to state the type of tenancy, you will automatically become tenants in common. When one person dies their half of the property will pass to their estate according to the probate process.

If you want to have your property pass to the surviving person that must be specifically stated. Your deed must state after your names “as joint tenants with rights of survivorship”. The property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant without the need of filing probate. You simply record the death certificate and in future deeds reference the death and state that you are the surviving joint tenant.

The failure to state tenancy, or stating it incorrectly, happens quite often, especially when the deed has been prepared by an out of state attorney who may not be familiar with our laws. Different states have different types of tenancy laws. We sometimes see a husband and wife owning property and thinking they owned it as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. One spouse dies and it is not until the other gets ready to sell the property that this is discovered. It can create quite a mess, take a while to clear up and ultimately delay the closing.

So use this information to take a look at your deed and be sure that you own your property the way you wanted. If you don’t, you can have a Quitclaim Deed prepared and record it to establish the proper tenancy that you want. Please give us a call at 603-836-5309 if we can assist you in this process.

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Assessment Versus Market Value

Assessment Versus Market Value

In an update year, assessments as of April 1st should be fairly representative of market value. Because sales are based on emotional likes and dislikes of buyers, there is no one right number, but rather a range of numbers depending on the negations and motivations of the buyers and seller involved in a transaction. The industry standard indicates that plus or minus 10% is reasonable because an opinion of value is subjective and will vary by this amount.

When there is a decline in the real estate market, taxpayers may see that their assessment is higher than what they could expect to sell their property for (market value). That does not invalidate the towns assessment of your property when they account for the local assessment to sales ratio because every year the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) calculates an equalization ratio. This ratio represents the difference between the assessment and the market transactions (sales). Here is an example:

In the town where you live in New Hampshire, the DRA published the an equalization ratio of 1.15% as of 4/1/2017. The assessment on your home is currently $300,000. Homes similar to yours are currently selling for $250,000. You may think that you are being over assessed, but this is where the equalization ratio comes into play.

To determine the market value of your home you would take the assessment of $300,000 and divide it by the ratio of 1.15% which gives you an indicated market value of $260,870. Although this number may be higher than the $250,000 sale price, it is considered fair and equitable so long as it falls within the 10% allowance.

 So long as all properties are being assesses similarly, the assessments, even if they are higher than current market value are fair and equitable because everyone is being treated the same. The real estate market is constantly fluctuating which makes comparisons of assessment and sales very difficult. The Form PA-34 that you complete at closing is one of the tools that the DRA uses in determining the equalization ratio.

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Housing Outlooks for 2017

Housing Outlooks for 2017

Here are eight housing predictions from the experts:

  1. Prices will continue to rise, but more slowly. In 2016, prices rose every month up until October. The prediction is that price increases will hold steady because homebuyer demand is stronger than it was at this time last year.
  2. Affordability will worsen because the share of homes affordable to someone earning the median income is not. This trend will be intensified by a continued shortage of low to moderate priced inventory and rising mortgage rates.
  3. Mortgage rates will be volatile. By historic standards the rates are still low, but may be rising a bit.       For 2017, the Fed’s anticipate there to be three hikes, making it the best time to buy or refinance now.
  4. Credit availability may improve. The president elect and his team have indicated that they hope to roll back much of the post financial regulation which came about as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act. This act regulates the financial market and rolling it back could open up banks to lend more freely to a wide range of would be buyers.
  5. Supply will improve, but remain short. Declining inventory was a defining feature of the housing market in 2016.       This led to prices increasing rapidly and discouraged some would be sellers from entering the buying fray.       There are some signs that the coming year may see a bump in housing supply, at least on the new home front.
  6. More millennials will become homeowners and renters.       According to Zillow, half of all buyers are under the age of 36. Millennials are adults born after 1980 and are not the largest adult generation and make up the greatest percentage of the workforce.
  7. Competition will grow fiercer. In 2017 sellers will maintain the edge over buyers as demand is expected to increase. In 2016, according to Redfin, the typical homes stayed on the market for just 52 days.
  8. Political uncertainty will be replaced with policy uncertainty. The president elects pledge to spend more on infrastructure, to cut taxes and to crack down on immigration could impact the housing market. However, opinions vary widely on this.

 

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Information for Homebuyers

Information for Homebuyers

A Buyer normally pays for the following:

Recording the new deed

Their share of the tax stamps. Tax stamps in New Hampshire are 1.5% of the purchase price and are split equally between the buyer and seller

The title examination and closing

The owner’s and lender’s title insurance policy

All costs associated with getting a new loan

A Seller normally pays for the following

Their share of the tax stamps

Any commission to the realtor for the sale of the property

To prepare the Purchase and Sales Agreement when no realtor is involved

Recording any lien release documents pertaining to their loan

For the preparation of the new deed conveying the property

Both parties share in the proration of the real estate taxes and there may be other miscellaneous costs associated with the sale.  Give us a call at 603-836-5309, if we can help with the sale or purchase of your home!

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What a Real Estate Attorney can do for a For Sale By Owner Seller

What a Real Estate Attorney can do for a For Sale By Owner Seller

You have decided to sell your own home without the help of a realtor. What are some of the things you should know.

It’s a good idea to hire a real estate attorney to help with the closing phase. They can prepare the Purchase and Sales Agreement and guide you through the process of selling. There is too much at stake to skip this step and your don’t want a legal issue to end up ruining your sale. An attorney will guide you through the paperwork and make sure that you are in compliance with any state laws. They will work to be sure that your transaction proceeds smoothly.

Here are some of the costs you can expect to encounter when selling a New Hampshire property.

It is the Seller’s responsibility to pay for the preparation of the new deed, recording any releases of present mortgages on the property and your share of the tax stamps.

It is the Buyer’s responsibility to pay for the title search and closing, owner’s and/or lender’s title insurance, the cost of recording the new deed and/or mortgage and their share of the tax stamps.

Tax stamps in New Hampshire are calculated on the sales price of the property and are split equally between the Buyer and the Seller. The current rate is 1.5% per thousand, so on a $100,000 sale the total tax stamps due would be $1500.00.

You will also see the proration of real estate taxes and the tax year in New Hampshire runs from April 1st to March 31st of each year. There may also be other miscellaneous fees and prorations.

Please think of us for your closing needs. Your file will be handled start to finish by one person who can guide you in all aspects of the closing process. Give us a call at 603-836-5309.

 

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What does a Title Company do?

What does a Title Company do?

A title company makes sure that the title to a piece of real estate is legitimate and then issues title insurance for that property.  Title insurance protects the lender and/or owner against lawsuits or claims against the property that result from a dispute over the title.

A title company will maintain an escrow account that contains the funds needed to close on the home and will conduct the closing.  At the closing the settlement agent from the title company will bring all the necessary documentation, explain it to the parties, collect closing costs and distribute monies.  Finally, the title company will ensure that the new deed and other and other documents are filed with the appropriate registry of deeds.

 

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Borrowers Underestimate Home Equity

Borrowers Underestimate Home Equity

Research done by Fannie Me shows that although home prices continue to rise, many homeowners and borrowers alike continue to underestimate the amount of equity they have in their homes.  According to a recent Redfin report,  misinformed homeowners and borrowers may be less likely to refinance their mortgages, apply for home equity loans, or even buy new homes because of this.

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Tips to Identify Valid and Avoid Suspicious Email

Tips to Identify Valid and Avoid Suspicious Email

While most people utilize spam filters and use antivirus software, spam and phishing emails can still slip through it and into your inbox. An Email recipient is the most critical element in preventing an attack. The following are some tips on how to identify the authenticity of a questionable email.

Incorrect Grammar/Spelling/Text Body

Many phishing email contain misspellings because some of these messages have been poorly translated from other languages., Additionally, you will want to pay attention if the time or date appears in the message body of an email. If the email contains the date format of DD/MM/YY or 24-hour time it is likely that the email’s point of origin was outside of the United States.

Email Format/Absence of Logos/Plain Text Email

Most legitimate messages will be written with HTML and should be a mix of text and images. A poorly constructed phishing email may show an absence of images, including the lack of the company’s logo. If the body of an email is only an image as text, it’s possible that it is not legitimate. While Outlook blocks showing images by default, if the email is all plain text and looks different than what you’re used to seeing from a frequent sender, you may want to contact the sender directly in a new email or phone call.

Urgent Request for Personal Information

One tactic that is commonly used by hackers is to alert you that you must provide and/or update your personal information about an account (e.g., Social Security number, bank account details, account password). Phishers will use this tactic to drive urgency for someone to click on a malicious URL or download an attachment in an attempt to infect the user’s computer or to steal their information.

Suspicious Attachments

High-risk attachments file types include: .exe, .scr, .zip, .com and .bat. Most spam filters will generally do a good job of quarantining those format. Most companies companies commonly send and receive .zip, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx and .pdf. However, a malicious sender can implant devious code in those formats as well. Once you open the attachment your computer is already compromised. Be cautious if you have sent an email that has an attachment and the sender is questionable. You should verify the legitimacy of the email first and then examine the context of why the attachment is being sent.

Links in the Email

A common practice is to avoid blindly clicking on links in an emails. Outlook allows you to hover over a link before clicking on it. If the link in the body of the email is different than what Outlook hovered preview reports, it is not legitimate. Even if it seems legitimate, open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar. If you’ve clicked on a link, a phishing website will look identical to the original, however, your system may already be compromised.

 

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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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