Wire fraud is on the rise everywhere and the Federal Reserve is being asked to take a more proactive role in preventing it, especially as it relates to real estate transactions. Two key points are:
1. All parties involved in the real estate transaction need to help educate customers on the dangers of wire fraud and on the ways to protect data and funds. For example, by encouraging consumers to call their known reputable source at a verified number to verify instructions before transmitting funds.
2. Financial institutions on the receiving end should match not only the account number but also the payee’s name when there is a wire transfer. Oftentimes fraudulent wire instructions will say the transfer is to be sent to the attorney’s trust account, for example, but instead it goes to the criminal’s personal account as beneficiary.
If you intend to wire funds to us and suspect anything may be wrong with the instructions, please phone us to verify. If we have sent you instructions and you suddenly receive an email asking you to wire to a different account, phone us to verify. We have only (1) IOLTA account, so we will never change our instructions and ask you to wire to a different account.
1. An offer is accepted by the seller and a contract is signed by both parties, marking the effective date of the contract.
2. At the same time , a deposit is paid to an attorney, broker or escrow agent. The deposit does not become the property of the seller until the closing takes place.
3. The buyer reviews and signs off on any disclosures. These disclosures vary based on property type, but often include things like known flaws with the property, prior improvements or repairs, radon gas and lead paint disclosures.
4. The buyer may elect to perform inspections of the property as agreed upon in the contract and these inspections must be completed by a certain date, which is usually within 10-15 days. Based on the outcome of inspections, buyers have a certain number of days to provide the seller with a report revealing any defects and the buyer may elect to ask the seller for repair work, closing cost credits or a reduction in the sale price due to flaws that were uncovered.
For those borrowing to purchase a home, the mortgage process can be the most stressful part of the transaction. It’s best to start as early as possible and be ready to produce lots of documentation.
The detailed steps that make up closing are:
1. A title search is performed to determine if there are any liens or assessments on the title. Provided that the title is clear, the closing proceeds as planned.
2. A buyer’s attorney or title company begins preparing the paperwork to convey title to the property and schedule the date for closing.
3. A final cash figure for what a buyer needs to bring to the closing in the form of a cashier’s check is calculated. This is based not only on a mortgagees closing costs, but also the proration of property taxes and utilities..
4. A final walk through may be performed the day of or before closing to verify the property is in the same condition it was in when the process began.
5. At the closing table the buyer and seller sign all closing documents. At the conclusion of the closing the representative from the title company or your attorney will record the deed and any other documents with the appropriate registry of deeds.
After all of the documents have been signed and payments exchanged, buyers generally take possession of the keys unless a separate agreement has been reached to allow the seller stay in the property for a period after closing.
An important thing to consider if you are paying off a home equity line of credit, also referred to as a HELOC. These are usually open ended loans that allow you to borrow on them for a designated period of time. Therefore, if you pay off the balance, the mortgage that is the security interest for repayment may not get discharged. When paying the loan in full, you must request in writing to have the loan marked paid in full and discharged.
In New Hampshire, the Department of Revenue Administration is responsible for equalizing the value of property in each municipality. Equalization is used to accurately apportion county and school district taxes among the cities and towns and to distribute state revenues to the cities and towns.
To equalize property values, the Department of Revenue Administration annually conducts a sales/assessment ratio study for each municipality. The information provided on the PA-34 form is needed to assist the Department in determining whether a particular sale involved is an “arms-length transaction” and should be included in our equalization sales/assessment study.
You are buying your first new home here in New Hampshire and you wonder whether the builder has to offer you a warranty on it. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “statutory builder’s warranty” on your new stick built home. A stick built home means it was constructed in whole on site. That said, most builders are proud of their product and they do offer a limited one year warranty to the original owner, They are also subject to building in conformance with and to inspections by the local building department where the home is to be located.
In New Hampshire there are other types of housing that are required to come with a warranty. Presite built housing is described as any structure which is wholly or substantially made or assembled in an off-site manufacturing facility. These homes are required to conform with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development minimum property standards and local building codes.
A new prefabricated or presite built home is required to have a written manufacturer’s warranty to the buyer. The warranty must include the terms that the home is free from any substantial defects in materials or workmanship in the structure, plumbing, heating, and electrical systems and in all appliances and other equipment installed or included in the home. Additionally, it must state that the seller or manufacturer must take appropriate corrective action at the site of the home in the instance of substantial defects in materials or workmanship which become evident within one year from the date of delivery of the home.
Manufactured housing is described as any structure that is transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling more are 8 feet or more in width and 40 feet or more in length or when erected on site contains 320 square feet, or more of living area. Manufactured housing is built on a permanent chassis and is designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation and to be connected to utilities.
In order to keep a record of and to verify the proper installation of manufactured homes, no manufactured house may be installed in this state until the manufacturer or an installer licensed by the board has obtained a warranty seal from the New Hampshire Installation Standards Board and attached the seal to the manufactured house.
More information on the above warranty requirements can be found in New Hampshire RSA 205-B and 205-D.
Here are eight housing predictions from the experts:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The title company makes sure that the title to a property is legitimate, so that a buyer is assured that once he buys property he is the rightful owner. To ensure that the title is valid a title search will be done. This is a thorough examination of property records to make sure that the person or company claiming to own the property does, in fact, legally own the property and that no one else could claim full or partial ownership of the property.
During the title search, the title company also looks for any outstanding mortgages, liens, attachments, judgments or unpaid taxes associated with the property. They also look for any restrictions, easements, leases or other issues that may impact ownership. Before a title company issues title insurance, it will prepare a title commitment for the Lender, which is a summary of what it found during the title search.
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.
The excitement surrounding Pokémon Go is causing problems for some homeowners as players eager to catch Pokemon trespass onto private property. Police in multiple states have issued warnings to Pokémon Go users to stay away from private and public spaces that they don’t have permission to access.
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.