Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Couple recent industry announcements

We got a couple recent press releases that contained some mindly informative stuff:

1. Koenig & Strey is establishing Web addresses for each property in its inventory. So the homeowner at 123 Yalmer Road who lists their property through K & S will be identified at 123yalmerrd.com. Sort of nifty...I thought they'd been doing this for a while.

2. Buysiderealty.com. This is a new company in Chicago that bills itself as a nationwide buyers agent. It's a scaled-back realtor. They set up closings for potential buyers and they will refund 75% of its commission to the buyer within 14 days of closing.

Anyone used these guys yet?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Illinois' Opportunity I-Loan

I had my first contact with the Illinois Housing Development Authority's Opportunity I-Loan program recently and would heartily recommend it.

The program allows immigrants, as well as others who don't have established credit to obtain a fixed-rate loan at a rate slightly below market rates. Six lenders have completed the State's training and are listed here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

IRS cracks down on down-payment assistance programs

I saw a bit in Thursday's Tribune regarding the IRS cracking down on down-payment assistance non-profits, threatening to strip them of tax-exempt status from those that are funded by builders and other home sellers. In a recent ruling the IRS said such groups do not serve a charitable purpose but operate out of self-interest and to expedite the sale of homes.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Special assessments

I just heard of the largest condominium special assessment of my legal career...$27,000 per unit. Wow! Can anyone top that? And it's so sad for unit owners in that type of building. If I were buying or representing a Buyer I sure wouldn't buy into that building, probably even if the special assessment were paid pre-closing by the Seller. Doesn't this sort of lay a whole negative light on the building as a whole? And then the flip side is that the association will likely file suit against a developer or whomever so now there will be this pending litigation that will hit unit owners too for legal fees.


If you want a newish place, buy a newish place but buy it two to three years old so that the condo association has turned over from the developer and you can see the health of the association more effectively.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Congress subcommittee hearing on title insurance

The Subcommitte on Housing and Community Opportunity held a hearing on April 26, 2006 entitled, "Title Insurance: Cost and Competition." Also, note that GAO put out a report on the title insurance industry simultaneous with the hearing.

All of the usual kickback and controlled business schemes are covered...very eye-opening. The thing I learned from reviewing the various testimony was that only one state--Iowa--has banned the sale of private title insurance and replaced it with a state-administered insurance fund. Guess what? Title premiums there are less than half what they cost elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Insurance claims tool

Just saw a blurb regarding insurance "CLUE" reports. These are reports that allow consumers one free look each year at what insurers say about claims they file.

To get the CLUE on a property visit www.choicetrust.com or call 866-527-2600. Does anybody get these regularly? If they're cheap and quick maybe I should start getting them for clients just to do a little more due diligence.

"City Mortgage" is back

The City's housing department is again sponsoring City Mortgage. A fixed-rate, 30-year loan at a competitive rate, the City Mortgage also provides up to four percent in closing costs for eligible buyers.

You have to fall under certain income levels and buy a one- to four-unit home in Chicago under a certain price to qualify for the loan.

You have to apply through one of the participating lenders to be posted on the City's department of housing Website. Click on financial assistance.