What is your New Year’s resolution? Are you going to commit to working out more often? Spend more quality time with your family? Start saving money for retirement? Read one book per week?
If your 2018 goals include buying your first home, re-sizing, or refinancing, these should be your resolutions:
1. Find out your credit score and history;
2. Establish and maintain good credit practices (ie. pay your bills on time, monitor your credit report for fraud, close unused lines of credit);
3. Save a reasonable down payment for the house that you want to buy;
4. Find the right home buying team for you. Identify a realtor, lender, and attorney that work together often.* If the team know one another and work well together, the process will be so much easier and less stressful for you;
5. Get organized: gather pay stubs, federal and state tax documents, current photo identification, bank statements, as well as any divorce, bankruptcy, and investment property documents, if applicable;
6. Obtain a mortgage pre-approval; and
7. Be smart: do not make any large purchases or big changes to your finances.
Laws are always evolving and changing. Some changes are fairly significant, like the child support guidelines taking effect next month, but others are slight clarifications of existing laws, like the one that we recently posted on Facebook regarding easements in condominiums; however, some just don’t make sense, like these real estate ones:
Yea….you found a new home! You have so much to do. You need to pack. You may also be busy shopping for necessities, such as furniture, towels and dishes. You may also need to hurry up and WAIT??
Closing attorneys, lenders, and real estate agents do their best to make closings happen on the date stated on your Purchase and Sales Agreement (“P&S”). We work as a team, along with many other professionals. During this time, lenders coordinate with appraisers and insurance companies. Agents insure that certificates are obtained and utilities paid. The closing attorney teams with engineers, title researchers, local tax officials, and sellers (or their attorneys). A good team of agents, lenders, and attorneys will be in constant communication with one another and will be focused on the same goal of closing on time.
Once everything is ready, your lender will send a Closing Disclosure for your approval. The Closing Disclosure contains all costs and credits involved in the transaction. Buyers must wait three days after the document is released to “close” or purchase the home.
What happens next? Make sure that you have your photo identification ready, your funds available, and stretch those fingers!
Typical closings involve 150(ish) pages of paper, some from the lender and others from the attorney. Some of the documents will be familiar to you, like your Closing Disclosure, tax forms and loan application; other documents may be less familiar to you, like an Owner’s Title Policy or Declaration of Homestead. The closing attorney will highlight the content, show you where to sign or initial, and (sometimes) date. The entire process usually moves very quickly and is done under one hour.
Once the documents are signed, some need to be recorded at your local Registry of Deeds. As soon as that happens, you are officially a homeowner. Congratulations!!
** In most cases, a Closing Disclosure is used; however, there are exceptions, such as a property being paid for in cash and reverse mortgages.
Have you ever noticed that when a doctor walks into a room, everyone suddenly has medical ailments? The question usually starts with, “I hate to ask you this when you’re not at work, BUT….”
We have a sweet as pie cousin who happens to be a pediatrician. We try not to ask her questions, but, inevitably, small talk among parents often leads into something medical. As we kick ourselves for letting the words escape our lips, she is very always gracious to share her opinion and experience as a parent, family member, and (yes) pediatrician.
The same thing happens regardless of what you do for work. Everyone has a situation that they want to discuss or question that they want to ask. Like our cousin, we are always happy to help and share our knowledge and experience. So, before you ask, we will share the answers to our most often asked real estate questions:
“I heard that mortgage rates have gone up lately. Should I wait to buy or refinance a house until the interest rates drop?”
It is still a great time to buy a new home or refinance your current home. Yes, rates have increased very slightly over the last few months, but they are still really low at this point. We have all been really spoiled with the ridiculously low mortgage rates for the last few years. Have you ever asked your parents or grandparents about when they purchased their home? They probably told you that their house cost $26,000.00, but also that their interest rate was 17-20%. With mortgage rates still so slow and such a variety of lending programs available, it is definitely worth exploring whether it makes financial sense to buy or refinance now, before the rates rise.
“Should I have an attorney review my Purchase and Sales (“P&S”)?
In a profession where our answer is frequently “it depends,” our answer to this question is it is verywise to do so. The most important reason is that, once it is signed, you have committed to the terms and cannot change them.
Most real estate agents use a standard form created by REBA, the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts. Are the forms any good? Yes, but our experience guides anticipation all of the legal problems that might arise during your transaction and which cannot be added to the document by an agent. We attach addendum which offer important, additional protections, related to condition of the premises, delivery of Deed, survey review, potential defects to title, ability to obtain property and Title Insurance, damage to the property, deposits, contingencies for mortgage or sale of other property, and other important aspects of the home.
“Do I need Title Insurance?”
We often get this question at the closing table. Lenders typically require a policy for the loan and which is paid by the buyer. An Owner’s title policy is optional; however, it’s one of the smartestinvestments that you can make in your home and it is reasonably priced, especially when compared to the cost of fixing issues that might arise later.
For purchases, we look at a 50 year history of the premises. Even the most meticulous search may not unveil hidden risks with your “title (aka ownership),” because those risks have not yet become evident by the time of closing. Some specific hidden risks that can be protected by Title Insurance are:
* fraud or mis-representation in connection to the execution of the documents;
* undue pressure on the seller or personal representative of an estate;
* false impersonation by people claiming to own the property;
* incorrect statement about the marital status of a Seller (which is more likely if the premises is being sold during a divorce);
* issues related to a seller who has passed away, including disclosed or missing heirs, birth of additional potential heirs after the creation of the will, misinterpretation of a will or trust, and estates which were not properly probated;
* inadequate survey;
* incorrect legal description;
* non-delivery of deeds;
* claims or liens not yet on record;
* confusion regarding similar or incorrect names;
* delivery of deeds after the death of a grantor;
* incorrect indexing at the Registry of Deeds;
* unrecorded easements; and
* zoning violations.
As always, please call or email us if you have any questions regarding this or anything else.
“No one really knows how the
Parties get to yessssss
The pieces that are sacrificed in
Ev’ry game of chessssss
We just assume that it happens
But no one else is in
The room where it happens.”
-Lin Manuel Miranda
I have a friend who lives in a charming town located a couple of hours outside of London, England. She lived in the United States for some time and still has an acute interest in what happens here. I recently asked her about how her local friends, family and colleagues perceived our President- Elect, Donald Trump. Part of her response included this inquiry, “Giving some states more votes doesn’t seem fair. Surely one person, one vote works best?”
Electoral and popular votes usually point in the same direction, but not always. Regardless of whether you favor it, the process was established by the Founding Fathers many, many years ago. We have journals and drafts which documented their process, but nobody knows for sure what fully happened in the negotiating sessions. There are two primary theories to why the Electoral College was created:
The most known theory is that it was developed to balance the influence of the small states with the larger ones. Current sub-beliefs are that that the process was developed to account for the slave population in the South. Although slaves were unable to vote, inclusion of them greatly increased a state’s population (even though they were only counted as 3/5 of a person), the state’s representation in Congress and their number of electoral votes.
An alternative theory, and the one recognized by the National Achieves and Records Administration, is that the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College as part of the Constitution as a compromise. Many historians believe that there were heated arguments about how a President should be selected. The exclusive group, which included Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, argued whether Congress should appoint a President or qualified citizens should be allowed to vote.
More likely than not, the reasoning of the Founding Fathers was a combination of both reasons. We will probably never know the full story, because none of us were in the room where it happened. mpt estate plan planning will power of attorney old republic title company living will Norton Franklin Bellingham Canton Easton Marin School Association Representative Town Meeting Junior League of Boston Contractor Disputes Personal Injury Landlord Tenant Deed paternity South Attleboro Cub Scout pack 6T Alexander Hamilton
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