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Showing posts from July, 2010

Fallin' & Flying

I really enjoyed watching  Crazy Heart on the Netflix with Susan last week. A whole lot more than I expected to.  The scenery and music were really nicely captured. A fair mix or sweet/sappy romance and fortune re-gained. Nice show, with one significant problem - every time Bad Blake hit the chorus on Fallin' & Flyin'  my mind kept wandering from whatever west Texas bowling alley or honky-tonks he was singing in to that other Southwester icon, Wile E. Coyote. More specifically, the look on Wiley's face every time he ran off a cliff while chasing road runner, just after he lost all forward momentum, and looked down. In terms of Chicago area real estate transactions, I wonder - where are we on the falling/flying continuum?

This weeks' Illinois Association of Realtors news release certainly has a lot of  pundits feeling lighter than air. The headline says it all really: Illinois Home Sales Up 10 Months in a Row, Chicago Region a Full Year, Statewide Home Prices Stabil…

Buyers/Sellers Prepare to Pay More to Close your Contracts - Title Rates are Going Up

Chicago Title Insurance Company sent out notice today that, effective August 1st, it is increasing escrow closing fees and title insurance premium charges for residential closings.  Escrow services will cost an additional $100 per transaction. Fees charged for Owners and Lenders insurance policies will also rise, $50.00 each.

I have not yet checked with any of the other title insurance companies but do not be surprised if others follow suit with rate increases of their own in the coming months. For the records, this is CT's 4th rate increase in the last in the last three years. Owners policy premiums have increased 20% since July, 2007. Lenders policies are up 33%. The cost of escrow closings, depending on the amount of insurance purchased, have increased as much as 55% in that time span as well.  (To be clear, these historical rate increases span the whole Chicago Residential Market, not just at CT). 

Chicago Title remains my preferred source for title services. I am an attorney-…

Illinois Housing Development Authority Awards $2.8 Million to First Time Home Buyers

Last week, the I.H.D.A. announced that it awarded a total of $2.8 million to 436 first time home buyers in the form of down payment assistance and contributions towards closing costs of up to $5,000 and subordinate financing (0% loans of up to $30,000). The funding for this program is derived from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which itself is funded from property transfer taxes.

Has the economic slowdown impacted this very important and valuable program? You betcha. In 2009, the IHDA awarded $4,178,000.

Welcome to the Machine: the Illinois Anti-Predatory Lending Database Now Playing in Peoria. Kane & Will Counties, Too

Two years ago today, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation initiated the Illinois Anti-Predatory Lending Database (IAPLD) project. Since then, details of most every Cook County mortgage transaction have been manually entered into the State's super computers, not once, but twice, sometimes even three times.... all at additional expense to the borrowers the process aims to protect. Closing are taking longer too. Predatory lending, while "discouraged," remains legal.

Today, the program expands to three neighboring counties, Kane, Will and Peoria. As with Cook, all three have been hit hard by foreclosures, many the result of those too-good-to-be-true loans we saw so much of  back in those go-go days before the bubble burst.  
The APLD law requires loan originators to enter details of proposed loans into a state database. The state computer screens the loan and - where appropriate - mandates that would-be borrowers attend  loan counseling from a HUD a…