Is that condominium FHA approved?

fhaapprovedAs most home buyers and sellers know, the FHA helps buyers purchase homes.  They do this by “insuring” loans on behalf of buyers who might not be able to otherwise afford a conventional loan.  As a result, FHA buyers can still get financing with lower credit scores and lower down-payments than a conventional buyer.  However, not all real estate properties qualify for an FHA loan. Continue reading

Quick Topic: Congnitive Impairment, Guardianship, and Estate Planning

brain1Our own Ed Reda penned a short piece on the topic of impairment and the issues it creates in estate planning.

As our population ages, more and more attorneys are dealing with clients with cognitive impairment.  What is cognitive impairment?  One clinical definition is “A change in intellectual capacity characterized by a loss in both memory and executive functioning.” (Dr. Stafford Henry).  Continue reading

2013 Chicago CRLTO Security Deposit Interest Rate Set

chirate2013The New Year is a crazy time for Chicago landlords.  The first thing they need to do is to figure out the new security deposit interest rate to pay their tenants on CRLTO covered leases initiated in the new year.  The Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance requires landlords in covered tenancies to pay interest on residential security deposits based upon the interest rate provided by the Comptroller of the City of Chicago in accordance with 5-12-081 of the CRLTO.  The Comptroller has released the rate in a press release today.  For leases entered into from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013, the interest rate to be used for the CRLTO is .023%

Landlords can also find the security deposit interest rate for past years on our website.

State sets 2013 security deposit interest rate

2013 Illinois Security Deposit Interest RateEvery new year brings the requirement that landlords learn the new interest rate to be paid on certain residential security deposits.  2013 is no exception.  The Illinois Security Deposit Interest Act requires covered landlords to pay interest on certain residential security deposits based upon “the interest paid by the largest commercial bank, as measured by total assets, having its main banking premises in this State on Continue reading

Chicago ups price of Certificate of Zoning Compliance on 1-1-13

The City of Chicago has announced an increase in the cost of a “Certificate of Zoning Compliance” needed for the sale of all non-condominium/co-op residential properties consisting of five or fewer units.  The certification indicates the number of “legal” units in a residential property.  Real estate sellers in the City can expect to pay an additional $30 for the certification that is required to sell most residential property within the City.

Here comes the drop! Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act to expire

mdfraexpUPDATE:  As part of the “fiscal cliff legislation”, congress has extended the MFDRA until December 31, 2013.

In 2007, congress passed the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, a law that allowed taxpayers to exclude “forgiven” debt after a shortsale, foreclosure, or loan modification to be excluded from a person’s “income”.  That law is set to expire on December 31, 2012.  Prior to the enactment of the law, any forgiven debt was considered “income” to a borrower and the borrower had to pay income tax despite not actually receiving actual “cash-in-hand” income.  If Congress does not extend the law, a number of real property owners will face increased income taxes in the wake of transactions related to distressed properties.  Many short sales currently in progress will be effected.  Attorneys General from a majority of states have urged the congress to extend the law when they go back to work in December.

Corporate minute scammers target Illinois corporations

If you are a registered agent for an Illinois corporation, you may have received a notice in the mail from a company called “Corporate Records Service” offering to prepare annual minutes for a fee of $125.  Because I am a registered agent for many of my clients’ companies, I have seen it.  The paperwork they send looks “official”.  Continue reading

The problem with pre-approvals

preapproval doesn't mean much in a Chicago real estate transactionPre-approval letters in Chicago real estate deals really don’t mean anything.  There, I said it.

I’ll say it again.  Pre-approvals don’t mean a thing.  I know it is hard to believe, but it’s true.  I probably average one telephone call a month from a confused seller-client who wants to know why the buyer needs a mortgage contingency extension when “they were already pre-approved”. Continue reading

Estate planning for digital assets?

One estate planning topic sure to become more and more important as we advance in the digital age is the issue of what to do with a person’s digital assets.  Our own Richard Magnone was interviewed about the topic for an article in the August 26, 2012 Chicago Tribune.  Right now, it seems, the most important task for estate planners is making their clients aware of the issues related to digital assets.  Few people feel the need to plan for digital assets but that does not mean that they should not do so.  There are a variety of types of digital property – more than people might guess.  A few years back, Rich did a series of blog articles on the topic that deserve a fresh look.