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Showing posts from 2013

Washington Post: Underwater homeowners could face extra tax burden in 2014

by Michael H. Wasserman, Attorney at Law

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expires Tuesday at midnight. Sadly and perhaps all to predictably, Congress has three bills pending that would extend tax relief for underwater home owners, but has not acted to move any of them forward for passage.

As new years approaches, several buyer-clients and I find ourselves standing on the sidelines watching several short sales that were "all but" approved but have ground to a full stop over the last several weeks, for no apparent reason.

Waiting to see what happens next, if / when the Sellers lenders approve any or all of these deals next year. 

Will Seller's attorneys advise their clients of the tax liabilities their clients will now face?Will they kill deals outrightDelay closings until (?) Congress acts? (Will Congress act to extend the tax relief law?), or,Will they sell their clients down the (tax liability) river to close contracts (and get paid)?
More on this mess, reported her…

Fortune cookie de jour

by Michael H. Wasserman, Attorney at Law

Cook County Property Tax Bills are Here!

by Michael H. Wasserman, Attorney at Law

Cook County property owners wee mailed last week. Better start asking around if you did not receive yours yet - those bills are all due by March 1st. If you know a property's PIN, you can look them up at the County Treasurer's web site. If you do not know the PIN, you can look that up at the Cook County Assessor's site.


QUICK TIPS FOR HOME BUYERS Home buyers especially for first time home buyers, should not panic after looking at a 1st installment tax bill. Sure it looks like a 10%  increase over last year. Yes, the tax bill may (probably will?) go up, but for now - it is just too soon to tell. First installment bills areestimates only. They are automatically set at 55% of the previous year's levy. County and Municipal taxing bodies still have to finalize their respective budget processes and the actual tax bills will not be computed or sent out until they do, We should see that in late summer or this fall.

Buyers who are closin…

Tools of the Trade - CookCountyAssessor.com

by Michael H. Wasserman, Attorney at Law

Whenever a client hires me in connection with a local real estate purchase or sale, one of the first things I do is check out the local county assessor’s web site. For Cook County transactions, that would be here. The property search function allows home buyers, owners, and the professionals that represent them, many data points that can be critical to their deals. I am on this site every day.

What the Assessor’s Office Does The Assessor sets the valuations (worth) of each of Cook County’s 1.8 millions parcels of property. These assessments are then plugged into the mathematical formula used to calculate our annual property taxes. Your property’s assessed value, in part, determines how much you will pay in property taxes. Taxes are likewise impacted by the use (or failure to claim) any of several recognized tax “exemptions.”

Why I Search A check in with the County Assessor helps me assure clients that their purchase/sale deals are property docu…

How to Keep Your Mortgage Approval Approved

by Michael H. Wasserman, Attorney at Law

A must read from Broderick Perkins over at Realty Times for all home buyers who want to use mortgage financing. A shocking number of folks manage to sink their own ships by making one of these four mistakes along the way.


Do Not make random, large, undocumented cash deposits, transfers, or withdrawels - Your lender is going to see these on your bank statements and unless you can explain / prove where the money came from / is going, you are at riskAvoid Big Purchases - Resist the temptation to buy a new car or furnishings for your new home until after the closing. It will show up on your credit report, lower your score, and scare the bejeezus out of your lender.Pay your Bills - Harken back on the advertising slogan - Just do it. Even if you want or need to dispute the charges with your creditor. Timing is everything and now is not the time to slip up. Credit scores man. They mark down for late payments. Do Not open a new credit line or account (a…

Doing Good, Doing Good Work

by Michael H. Wasserman, Attorney at Law

My clients, and the friends that refer them mean the world to me.  In their honor, I donate a portion of my fee from each successful Chicago area real estate closing to a worthy charitable organization selected by my clients from a list of ten pre-approved organizations.

The Thanks to You program - now in its third year is both my expression of gratitude to my clients and our collective efforts to build a stronger communities.  Together, we have shared nearly $10,000 with worthy organizations that support better education, better health, and the fine arts. 2011 marked the first time a client matched my pledge. 2012 marked the first time a Realtor did so too. I work with some terrific people.

This year's program should be even better. Our 2013 grant recipients will be:


WORKING IN THE SCHOOLS - Promotes literacy and the love of reading among low-income and minority students in Chicago Public Schools by providing one-on-one tutoring and mentori…