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Showing posts from September, 2008

PROPERTY DISCLOSURES

Most Illinois sellers are required to give several different disclosures to prospective home buyers, so that those buyers are made aware of various types of possible (or known) defects. Such property disclosures are required in at least 32 states, some are pretty bare-boned, some are 10 or more pages long.

Locally, we have (a) real property disclosures; (b) lead based paint disclosures; (c) radon disclosures; and in the City of Chicago, (d) heating cost disclosures.

Our real property disclosure covers 21 specifically enumerated types of material defects ranging from unsafe drinking water, to defects in the roof or ceiling, to boundary and lot line disputes.

I just learned of a new one that seems to be an emerging trend in some of our sister states. (Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota) now require a seller to disclose whether or not a given property has ever been used as a methamphetamine lab! This disclosure must be made regardless of whether the persons involved in the production…

COOK COUNTY PROPERTY TAX BILLS - the wait is over?

This just in from the WasserlawDepartment of Unconfirmed Facts and Useless Speculation (DUFUS):

2007 Cook County 2nd Installment Property Tax Bills might possibly be mailed out October 3, 2008. That would make them payable on or before November 3, 2008.

This is sourced to a title company closing officer I worked with yesterday and is attributed to a conference call with one of the "higher ups" at the Treasurer's office. The treasurer's web site seems to substantiate the rumor.

I anticipate a rash of louder, more shrill complaints from City of Chicago property owners and from "tax reformer" types when those bills hit peoples mail boxes. More than the usual moans and groans we hear this time of year. We are confronted with a confluence of troubling factors:

For starters, the property tax system is based in part on triennial re-assessments of property values. Chicago properties were last re-assessed for the 2006 tax year, back when property values were (gener…

HELP FOR TENANTS LIVING IN FORECLOSURE PROPERTIES

As of July, one in every 583 Illinois households was in foreclosure. According to RealtyTrac, there were 8,915 foreclosure pending statewide, 5,378 in Cook County, alone. The July numbers represent a 9% increase over June and is 61% higher than in July, 2007.

By now, just about every real estate lawyer in the area has faced a transaction that has involved a bank selling a property already lost to foreclosure, a seller with a pending foreclosure, or a pre-foreclosure "short sale." Sadly, I've seen them all.

Most of the time, these properties are (or were) the seller's principal residence. Others however have been investment properties. A couple of those investment deals have been complicated by the fact that a tenant is/was living in the distressed property.

There is much uncertainty about tenant rights in a foreclosure action. Most often, the lender does not know that a tenant is living in the building and the tenant does not know that the landlord is losing the buildi…