Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2009

Proposed Law Would Protect Some Condo Landlord's

Some people buy condominiums to live in. Others buy condominiums and then offer the units as rental properties to others. Still others rent out condominiums when they want to sell but cannot find a buyer and they need the income to cover their expenses.

It turns out however, that many condo owners do not want to allow rentals in their buildings. In those instances, efforts are undertaken to impose rental restrictions of the association, by means of amending the governing rules; the Condominium Declaration and/or By-Laws. Naturally, this can be a terrible problem when the rules change after a rental situation has been created.

Enter West Suburban State Rep.s Sandra M. Pihos & Karen A. Yarbrough who have introduced legislation to address this issue. House Bill 821 proposes to amend the Illinois Condominium Property Act by offering "grandfather" protection to such landlords. If a condo owner's association changes the riles, he or she would be allowed to continue the r…

Foreclosure Properties never die....and won't just likely fade away either.

We were reminded this weekend that the housing market turmoil is taking its toll on us; the (former) home-owners; their pets; and ALL THE REST OF US WHO OWN or WISH TO OWN HOMES.

The Tribune devoted extensive coverage to the phenomenon of "ghost towns" in Englewood, Garfield Rogers & Washington Parks. Foreclosures force families out of their homes. But those homes remain leaving neighborhoods without neighbors. I first wrote about this problem back in January, 2008. Two more Sunday Trib articles here, and here.

The Indianapolis Star reports on increasingly dogs & cats are being abandoned as owners lose the ability to care for their pets.

But the foreclosures are effecting ALL of us, even if we do not live in those worst hit areas. A new study by Deutsche Bank confirms something I wrote about three weeks ago: there is a large (and growing) inventory of bank-owned (foreclosed) properties. As banks release those properties back into the marketplace, the resulting torrent …

A Cautionary Tale for Real Estate Agents

I have posted before about various mortgage frauds. Others have reported about problems with bogus deeds. Here is a new one(to me, anyway) that might keep a realtor or two awake at night. This comes from Kelly Willey, a realtor in Abingdon, Maryland on Active Rain: A crazy internet "Nigerian" hijacks a realtor's listing, assumes her name on craig's list and offers the home for rent below market to lure "tenants." C.I.N. tells the "tenant" to send him a check and he'll mail the keys. Yikes!

I had not heard of this type of rental scam before, stealing an agents name and listing. Judging by the feedback to Kelly's post, this is an emerging problem in a number of communities. Only a matter of time before we start seeing it here. I suppose that it is inevitable that scamming and thievery increase when times are tough.

Kelly found out about the scam when "tenants" started calling her So what can be done to guard against frauds

Jones Day: Block Shopper's Chop Blocker ?

Blockshopper has been around Chicago for several years now, and recently rolled out a significant expansion of both its local and national coverages. I first wrote about them a year ago.

The beauty of the site is clearly in the eye of the beholder. If you want to know (even more about) who bought the house up the street (and what they paid), the site is just the cat's pajamas. If you just bought a house and want to hold on to a hopeful thread of a delusional belief that there is still a conceptual right to privacy in such matters, the site is a veritable nightmare.

At the end of the day, you really have to hand it to the folks who launched the website. They only publish data already available to the public at large, so its not like they are creating anything new or showing the world anything that the world doesn't already have access to. They are simply aggregating it in a way that no one has before them.

What can the common man do? Not much. Which is why we have lawyers.

Credit …

More Good News for Buyers - for the rest of us? not so much...

Downtown 2008 4th quarter condo sales cratered. As the kids might say, Duh!
Lets try to quantify that. According to Crain's, quarterly sales were actually negative 253 for the quarter.Put another way, more buyers walked away from contract than signed new ones. For the entire year, only 644 new construction condos sold. Compare that to 2007 when 3,724 units sold or 2005 (the market peak) when 8,162 units closed.
So where is the good news for buyers? Another 4,734 condos are expected to be completed this year downtown. This is on top of thousands of other condos that are completed but haven’t yet sold.
Developers are going to be stressed to the max, trying to sell off unsold units. Their lender's are going to start pressuring for loan repayments. The likelihood of developer defaults and foreclosures seems pretty strong.
Then consider the folks who did not walk away from their downtown condo contracts. A great many were "investors" who wanted to buy and flip. Those specu…

GLASS HALF FULL - a Lesser Home Buyers Tax Credit Due

Real Estate professionals were a twitter all week about the Senate's proposed $15,000 home buyers tax credit. Alas, it was not to be. It appears that the final version of the Recovery & Reinvestment Act will have a much lesser sort of tax credit.
A credit of up to $8,000for first-time home buyers only (have not owned a principle residence in three years) If they buy before December 1But, phases out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000. Must be repaid if the property is sold within three years. a summary of the act, here:

Good News for Real Estate Investors

While I may have my doubts about the proposed home buyer tax credit, I have no such doubt about Fannie Mae's latest pronouncement.

On Friday, Fannie Mae announced that it is removing the "four property" cap it imposed on real estate investors last year and will now fund loans to "high-credit quality, bonafide investors" for the purchase of up to ten investment properties.

The loan guidelines are reported as:720 minimum credit score
75% maximum loan to value for purchases70% maximum loan to value for refi's, including "cash-outs," to the limit (ok, that assumes that you have that still much equity left in the property)Starting March 1, 2009Ok, truth be told, the four building restriction was only announced last fall and went into effect in December, so it was only a thorn in our sides for what, five weeks? But it most certainly was a thorn in the side of many investors. Why did the government stick it? Lenders needed to try to stem the tide of defa…

Reflections on the Proposed Homebuyers Tax Credit

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment to the proposed economic stimulus plan that is of particular interest in the real estate community. The Liberman-Isakson Amendment, as proposed, would extend and broaden last years first time home buyers tax credit. (Keep in mind that the Senate has not yet voted on the bill; the House still has to agree, and the President must sign the law before it might take effect.)

Here are the essential points as proposed:

Home Buyers will receive a pure tax credit (a reduction of the taxes otherwise owed)The credit would be 10% of the purchase price, up to $15,000.00. Provided that the home purchased becomes the buyers primary residence, for at least two years
You can only use the tax credit one time.If the home is purchased in the first year this law exists, you can elect to take the credit as if the house was purchased on December 31, 2008 (that is, the credit can be applied on 2008 returns.Or, if a home buyer prefers, the credit can be s…