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NEWS FOR THE NEW YEAR - "GOOD FUNDS" LAW REVISITED
With the new year upon us, the “Good Funds” section of the Title Insurance Act is now one full year old. Illinois home buyers (and the professionals that represent them) are the beneficiaries of a bit of a "birthday present" from our friends down in Springfield - an amendment that addresses the three biggest issues that were complicating closings over the last 12 months. The good funds rule regulates the way anyone bringing money to a closing can deliver it to the closing agent. Basically, funds in excess of $50,000 must be sent by wire transfer. Funds less than $50,000 can be delivered by wire or cashiers, certified, or (approved) title company check.
As amended, • Earnest money held by a real estate broker or attorney is no longer aggregated with the buyer’s bottom line. As long as those funds are less than $50,000, title companies can now accept a realtor's or attorney's check drawn on a trust account. Note: this is not a slam dunk - the title company must has reasonable grounds to believe that sufficient funds are available for withdrawal from the account - so there is some measure of discretion here. • A purchaser wired funds of $50,000 or more, but comes up short due to a last minute change in the closing figures may now be able to bring in a supplemental cashier’s check or other “non-wired funds” to closing to cover the difference, again, subject to the title company's personal check limits. • purchasers, sellers, and lender are all considered "single parties" to the transaction, regardless of the number of purchasers, sellers, or lenders involved in a transaction, in other words, two buyers cannot each each bring a $50,000 cashiers check. Their aggregate $100,000 would need to be wired in to the title company.
A good many closings last year were delayed as buyers (and sellers) failed to appreciate the strict compliance that the original rules demanded. I know a great many real estate offices were having trouble getting earnest money wired to title companies and most were grousing about the bank charges assessed when wiring. Buyers who were wiring in "exact" bottom line amounts were also being frustrated by last minute changes in the numbers that required $10 or $20 supplemental wires. The revisions should make their closings a whole lot easier.
NOW, if we could only legislate a way to get the banks to timely wire their funds to our closings.....
Set aside any discussion of climate change for a moment. It’s winter. It’s Chicago. It snows. As a homeowner, you owe it to your friends, family, neighbors and delivery people to keep the sidewalks free of snow and ice.
Paying property tax bills before the end of the 2017 may help some owners save on their federal income tax liabilities.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been called the most sweeping tax reform bill in decades. Like it or
not, tax reform is coming. Others might wring their hands with glee or with worry. We are already working on ways to minimize the pain this reform might cause.
One aspect of the pending tax reform plan presents a clear challenge for most Chicagoland home owners, the elimination of deductions for State and Local Taxes (SALT). The house and senate plans both limit deductibility to $10,000. Once the tax reform is signed into law, we will pay federal income taxes on the money we use to pay our local taxes exceeding that $10,000 threshold.
Some homeowners who have the foresight (and lets face it, the savings) to act swiftly may want to pre-pay their first installment 2017 property tax bills this year before the tax laws kick in, so that those payments …