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Showing posts from 2015

Heroes Home Advantage - happy Veterans' Day

by Michael H. Wasserman

I am happy to announce my affiliation with Heroes Home Advantage, a real estate program designed to reward military veterans and those serving our country on active duty, with fire or police departments, teachers and as medical professionals - the everyday heroes who make our lives better and safer.

The Heroes Home Advantage "Caring Community" offers local heroes a chance for real savings on the cost of buying or selling a home and on key services homeowners need. There are participating Realtors, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, and insurance agents. All offer discounts that can add up to substantial savings for qualifying consumers.

Sharon Tuckman of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Chicago Property Hunters is the Real Estate Broker partner for the program. A big thank you to Sharon for inviting me to participate in this venture.

If you know someone in law enforcement, firefighting, healthcare, a first responder, a teacher or the military they coul…

Ghoulish Web-Site Offers New Information for Curious Home Buyers

by Michael H. Wasserman
Home buyers on the hunt for information about a prospective new home have a new arrow in their quiver - This web site provides a service just exactly as its name suggests. Customers willing to pay a nominal fee ($11.99) receive a report on whether or not anyone has ever died at a given United States address. 
Does this matter? I suppose that depends on how curious any given buyer (or homeowner) is about such macabre things. This could certainly effect one's comfort level living at the scene of a past crime or other tragedy. And certainly, there is the money thing - according to Trulia (as reported in Forbes) a prior death or violent crime in a home can reduce its value by up to 30%!
Illinois home sellers have no duty to tell prospective buyers about a home's violent past or about deaths that have taken place there.  In fact there are only three states of our 50 that impose any duty to disclose such events within 1-3 years of a purchase…


Like them or not, zoned parking in Chicago presents a terrible challenge for Realtors showing properties to their prospective buyer-customers - risk a ticket to show a potential home or park the car blocks away?

Finally, City Clerk Susan Mendoza is moving a forward on a long wished-for proposal that will be a godsend for these Brokers - an all-access-parking-pass-for-real-estate-agents.

more details here


by Michael H. Wasserman 
We live in a terribly unsafe world transacting real estate purchases and sales. There is a lot of money passing between Buyers and Sellers and Lenders and Title Insurance Companies. Unfortunately, there are a great many scammers out there trying to divert those funds away from the deal and into their pockets.
In the coming weeks, I intend to write about several new rules and protocols being implemented to try to avoid calamities of this sort. For now, I wish to alert Realtors and other lawyers about an increasingly common email fraud. 
I am seeing multiple emails every day from lenders and title companies with the seemingly innocuous email caption: HUD-1 Approval***.
Hud-1, of course, the form number for the federally mandated settlement statement used in most every residential purchase/sale and mortgage re-finance transaction. We need these forms in order to advise our clients of their closing costs and the amounts of money they need to deliver (or expect to…


by Michael H. Wasserman
Cook County property owners can now see their 2014 1st Installment property tax bills online at the County Treasurer's web site. Tax bills are due on or before March 3, 2015.  The first installment bill is not a predictor of what the final annual tax bill will look like. This is merely 55% of last years bill and is simply an estimate of what the final levy may look like.

IF YOU ESCROW FOR TAXES WITH YOUR LENDER: Property tax payers who escrow for taxes with their lender need not take any action - the lender is supposed to pay for you. (OK, maybe you should check to make sure that your lender actually does pays the bill.).

IF YOU PAY YOUR OWN TAXES: Make sure that you pay on time! The County charges 18% per anum interest on delinquent taxes (1.5% per month). You can pay any number of ways, including -

Payment the County directly, in person at the Treasurer's Offices or by mailat any local (Illinois) Chase Bank branch locationat other select Community Ban…