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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Valentine’s Day can bring up questions surrounding a relationship, including, “Will the relationship affect our mortgage?” Buying a home and applying for a mortgage are big tasks and can be further complicated when a significant other is added to the equation. If you are married, applying for a mortgage in both you and your and your spouse’s name may seem like common sense. However, in some circumstances, applying in only one name may be your best option.
When a couple asks a lender for a loan, the bank may not average the two credit scores. They may instead focus on the lower of the two and calculate the loan terms based on that to arrive at the interest rate that will be charged. The debt-to-income ratio is a measurement that a lender uses to measure how much of the applicant’s income is spent on debt. If you leave a spouse with significant amounts of debt off the mortgage application it may lower the debt-to-income ratio and result in better loan terms.
- 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.
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.
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.
The new “Know Before You Owe” (TRID) rule goes into effect on October 3, 2015. Please review this information which will help you to speed the process.
The Annual Camp Allen Golf Tournament was held on June 29, 2015 at the Manchester Country Club. Trombley Kfoury, P.A. is proud to be a Sponsor of this charity event.
The Camp Allen Classic proceeds will benefit campers and families. Camp Allen provides opportunities for growth, friendship and fun for children and adults with cognitive and physical challenges in an outdoor environment since 1931.
Pictured from left to right are Chris Masters, Dr. Rick Calvin and Dr. Joe Sheehan.