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Condominiums and what your Master Insurance policy covers

Condominiums and what your Master Insurance policy covers

Any Condominium created in New Hampshire after September 10, 1977 is governed under New Hampshire RSA 356-B, the Condominium Act. In the event of a conflict between the Declaration and By-Laws of your Condominium, the provisions of RSA 356-B shall control. This is why you will see the words, as the same may be amended from time to time, in condominium documents and/or your deed. If a new law is enacted under the statue your condominium is automatically governed by it.

To create a condominium is a lengthy process and it starts by completing an Application with the Office of the Attorney General. There will need to be a Declaration and By-Laws created. These are sometimes referred to as the condominium instruments and the law specifies many of the items that must be included in them. Generally speaking, the Declaration is the document that creates the condominium and the By-Laws spell out the day to day operation of the Association

One item that many owners become confused about pertains to the Master Policy of Insurance and what it covers. Pursuant to RSA 356-B:43, the unit owners association or the board of directors is required to obtain a policy that provides fire and extended coverage in an amount equal to the full replacement value of 100% of the structures within the condominium. This means that you do not purchase the insurance to cover the interior of your unit, the association does. You pay for this coverage as part of your dues. You would, however, need to purchase a separate policy to cover the personal belongings inside your unit. This is not a new law or requirement, it has been in effect since RSA 356-B was created in 1977.

The reason for this law and the requirement for the association to keep the property fully insured is to protect the unit owners. What if unit owners were allowed to purchase their own individual coverage and their were a fire or loss in one unit and it turned out that individual owner had no insurance. There would be no funds available to restore the unit and this would be a detriment to all adjacent owners.

Check back often for more information about condominium ownership in New Hampshire.

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Let’s talk Trash!

Let’s talk Trash!

Many towns are facing issues with the rising cost of recycling and trash removal. In some towns where the trash is collected by the municipality they are even considering taking it away from some, but not all, citizens.

In the nearby Town of Hampton, if you are a Condominium owner, they want to stop collecting your trash. They will still continue to provide that service to other residential home owners, hotels, motels, businesses and restaurants. Only condominiums are being singled out to have their service taken away.

Fortunately Condominium owners have some protection under New Hampshire RSA 356-B, the Condominium Act.

RSA 356-B:4 states that each Condominium unit shall constitute for all purposes a separate parcel of real property, distinct from all other Condominium units. They are no different than any other residential homeowner that will continue to enjoy trash collection services provided by a town.

RSA 356-B:5 goes on to say that … no Condominium shall be treated differently by any zoning or land use ordinance which would permit a physically identical project or development under a different form of ownership

Other protections are offered under RSA 676:3 which protects a Condominium from being subject to an ordinance which is later passed after a site plan has already been approved and recorded. If your Condominium site plans makes no mention of trash, shows no locations for a dumpster and does not state who has the responsibility for trash removal it cannot be added later. The site plan is required to be signed by town officials before being recorded whereas the Condominium Declaration and By-Laws are not subject to town review or approval. The Attorney General’s office is the entity who reviews and approves those documents.

Under the Fair Housing Act, prohibited activities include providing different levels of service to different classes, i.e. residents in single family homes have the benefit of trash collection while denying that same service to residents in Condominiums. Imagine that the trash truck comes down your street and stops at your neighbors house and collects their trash because they live in a single family home. It then starts up and passes your condominium without collecting your trash and stops next door at the hotel or business to collect theirs. That just seems wrong!

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Digital Mortgages and quick closings

Digital Mortgages and quick closings

A 10-minute closing may sound like it’s great for the borrower, but will the consumer really benefit from faster closings. It may sound like it would be consumer oriented, but is it since it changes the fundamental process of a closing.

The borrower may be able to sign their name on 30 documents in less than 10 minutes when they don’t read anything that they are signing, but should they. One can suppose that they may have read those documents in advance.

An online closing is a different medium, so signers should still read what they are signing and ask questions. The mortgage industry has a lot of moving parts and sometimes it is the closer that makes the difference and drives a company to success. It is nice to still have that one on one contact with your borrower.

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What is a HELOC loan

What is a HELOC loan

What is a HELOC. It is a Home Equity Line of Credit loan and we often find that they don’t get discharged when they are paid off. The reason for this is that this type of loan is similar to a credit card. The loan can be drawn on and paid back during the period of the loan which may range for as long as 30 years.

Many homeowners do not even realize that this type of loan is still secured by a mortgage on their home. When they go to sell the property they discover that the lien has not been discharged. It is important to remember that when you pay off a HELOC you must specifically request in writing that the loan be closed and discharged unless you plan to draw on it at a later time.

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Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

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.

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Estate Planning and Transferring Firearms

Estate Planning and Transferring Firearms

Clients have begun to inquire about transferring firearms in their estate planning. Unique rules and procedures apply to certain firearms – such as NFA firearms, even in estate planning. Limited liability companies (LLC’s) were once the preferred method, but LLC’s require annual maintenance fees to the state and even separate tax returns. Now, “gun trusts” that are prepared as part of an estate plan can be used to pass on the trust creator’s firearms after their death. Prepared separate from a conventional revocable trust, a gun trust may provide access to more people than the original owner, may provide for changes in the law over time, and may require trustees that are more likely to be knowledgeable of firearms and the legal requirements that surround them. A gun trust will not pass on other assets, only the guns, and a separate conventional trust is still needed for other assets. Using a gun trust can provide for the legal, safe transfer of NFA firearms and even keep those weapons in trust for several generations.

Written by J. Kirk Trombley, Esq.

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The process of buying and selling a home

The process of buying and selling a home

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.

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Home Equity Line of Credit loans

Home Equity Line of Credit loans

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.

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One of the latest wiring scams involving title companies

One of the latest wiring scams involving title companies

Just as soon as one type of wire scam is uncovered it seems like a new one pops up. One of the latest versions involves the perpetrator sending the funding lender wiring instructions to a legitimate account belonging to an innocent, unknowing title company. In verifying the account number, the lender will see that the funds are being wired to a legitimate title entity.

Once the wire has gone through, the scammer contacts the unknowing title company and states that the funds were sent in error. The scammer gives the title company instructions for sending the funds back, but those instructions are fraudulent and the funds will be sent to the scammer. The title company then confirms that it was not entitled to the funds and sends them back using the account information that it has received from the scammer.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you receive wired funds in error, the wire should be rejected. In doing so, the funds will automatically go back to the original sender.

Everyone needs to be vigilant in dealing with wire transfers, verifying information by directly contacting the other parties through secure channels and being skeptical when instructions are changed at the last minute or appear out of the ordinary.

 

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How do money wiring scams work?

How do money wiring scams work?

In a money wiring scam, a dishonest person lies and tricks you into wiring money to them.

The scammer might say:you won a prize, or inherited money, but you have to pay fees first;

  • you won the lottery, but you have to pay some taxes first;
  • a friend or family member is in trouble and needs you to send money;
  • you need to pay for something you just bought online before they send it;
  • you got a check for too much money and you need to send back the extra.

These are all tricks.  If you wire money, the scammer will keep it and you will not get your money back.

Wiring money is like sending cash.  If someone you do not know asks you to wire money it is probably a scam. Scammers are clever and they try to make things look real. They are good at fooling people and they also want to rush you. They want your money before you have time to think, but before you do anything, stop and check.

If you have already wired money to someone who contacted you…that money is probably gone. Remember, if you gave money to a scammer once, you will probably be targeted again . The best thing you can do to help yourself and others is to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.

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