property buyers - New York State, real estate attorney, title insurance

Title insurance: Buyers do have a choice!

Hallmark Abstract Service New York State title insurance

If you or someone you know is buying residential or commercial property wouldn’t reducing the closing costs be a very good thing?

Well you are legally entitled to try!

When you sit at a real estate closing table with your attorney as the purchaser of a piece of real estate, at least in New York, it can seem as if you have just entered a marathon of check writing.

The fact of the matter is that there is really no way around the majority of these expenses, but what if you could try and reduce the amount of money that you need to pay the company providing the title insurance?

A property buyer is free to choose their title insurance provider!

You may not realize that you have this option because the attorney representing you will typically take care of ordering the title insurance, but using that firm may not always be the most cost effective way to go!

While the actual title insurance premium is set by the State of New York and is non-negotiable, there are other fees involved with generating the title that can vary greatly from firm to firm.

These fees include those for searches and items such as a property survey.

While one company might charge $300 for a basic search that costs them $150, another firm may simply charge the property buyer the cost, $150.

If you were to combine all of these required additional searches and other items, also known as “junk fees”, and then add together all of the mark-ups being charged by some firms over and above their cost, the excess expense for the property buyer could be well in excess of $1,000.

Once again property buyers often assume that they have no say in the choosing of the company that will be providing the title insurance for their transaction.

But they can!

It may take an extra phone call to ask a title insurance firm what the title bill would be for your given transaction and then compare it to the company that your attorney or bank is recommending that you use.

But if you have the potential to save hundreds or maybe even over $1,000, wouldn’t it be worth it to try?

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC
Michael Haltman, Partner
131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205
Jericho, New York 11753
516.741.4723 (P)
516.741.6838 (F)

Email:       mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com
Website:   Hallmark Abstract Service
Blog:         The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel

At Hallmark Abstract Service, we work harder to make your closings easier!

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commercial mortgage, real estate attorney, real estate investor, Uncategorized

Commercial mortgage recording tax refund in New York State!

title insurance,commercial mortgage tax refund,New York State

Commercial mortgage recording tax refund in New York State!

I was meeting with a CPA on Friday who described a program in New York State that exists but that is not well advertised by the state for obvious reasons.

It applies only to commercial mortgages but the bottom line is that it provides for a mortgage recording tax refund of $2,500 per $1MM of mortgage amount and can be applied for by simply filing the proper paperwork with the state.

The refund is limited to commercial mortgages originated within three years of any given date, after which the refund will no longer be applicable.

In our discussions he said that not that many CPA’s are aware of the program.

If you or someone you know is involved in the buying, selling or financing of commercial real estate it sounds as if this is program that most definitely needs to be explored.

If interested in learning more, please let me know.

Mike Haltman, Partner

HALLMARK ABSTRACT SERVICE

“We work harder to make your closings easier!”

Visit us at our website here.

For any title insurance questions in New York or if you would like to meet with Hallmark Abstract Service, please contact us using any of the following:

Email: orders@hallmarkabstractllc.com

Phone: 516.741.4723

Mail: 131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205

Jericho, New York 11753

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Hallmark Abstract Service makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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commercial real estate, home sellers, new home buyers, real estate, real estate attorney, real estate transaction, residential real estate

What stuff will the buyer and the seller in a transaction need to collect?

In a real estate transaction both the buyer and the seller need to collect a lot of stuff!

There is nothing greater than the anxiety surrounding a real estate transaction for the buyer and for the seller. In order to help alleviate some of the dread entailed in the process, it would be helpful if they knew before the process even started what they will need and the information that they are going to have to collect.

In this way both they and their attorney can focus on getting the deal done in as short a period of time as possible. While this list is certainly not complete, it is a good start.

  1. ID (e.g., driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport). Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers. Why? Uh, hello!?! Lender wants to know that you are who you say you are, buyers, and the title insurance company wants to make sure, sellers, that you actually have the right to sell the home. Funny enough, this commonly goes unrequested until you get to the closing table, when the notary requests to see it before signing, but some mortgage brokers and even some real estate brokers and agents may ask to see it earlier on.
  2. Paycheck Stubs. Who must produce it? Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage. Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale. Why? Buyers’ purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.
  3. Two months’ bank account statements. Who must produce it? Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers’ lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own. Short sellers? It’s all about the hardship.
  4. Two years’ W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it? Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes (attn: all business owners!). And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.
  5. Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months – even years! – on today’s market. During the time between contract and closing it’s not at all unusual for underwriters to demand buyers produce updated mortgage statements, checks stubs, and such – and its quite common for them to call your office the day before closing to request a last minute verification of employment!
  6. Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it? Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property. Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately. Why? With the Quitclaim Deed, the other spouse or owner signs any and all interests they even might have had in the property over the the selling owner, making it possible for the title insurer to guarantee clear, undisputed title is being transferred in the sale.
  7. Divorce decree. Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce. Why? Again, to ensure that the seller has the right to sell. Recently single buyers might need to prove that they shouldn’t be held to account for their ex’s separate debts or credit report dings.
  8. Gift letters. Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment. Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give. They also want the relative to confirm in writing that it’s a gift, not a loan – a loan would need to be factored into your debt load.
  9. Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred, like some cities which require a sewer line be video scoped and repaired, cities which require a checklist of items be met before a certificate of occupancy be issued (usually relevant to brand new and really old homes, the latter of which are often subject to lead paint concerns) and energy conservation ordinances which require low-flow toilets and shower heads to be installed. Ask your real estate pro for advice about which, if any, such ordinances apply in your area.
  10. Mortgage statements. Who must produce it? Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use them to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property’s title can be transferred.C

Courtesy of Trulia

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assignments of mortgages, country records, foreclosure crisis, foreclosures, MERS, MERSCorp, Mortgage Electronic Registration System, mortgage recording fees, real estate attorney, taxes

MERS 101 (Video)

If you have heard anything about the foreclosure crisis, you’ve heard about MERS!

This video discusses some of the background of MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System. With over one half of the nations mortgages “held” in its database, MERS is at the center of the controversy surrounding foreclosures.

http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

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auction on courthouse steps, clear title, foreclosure crisis, foreclosures, insurability of title, MERS, owner's policy, real estate attorney, real estate law, REO, standing to foreclose, title insurance

Title insurance and protecting yourself in a foreclosure purchase

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Protecting your investment being purchased within the foreclosure crisis maze

As we discussed through the example we gave in the article on Saturday of a denied title policy, it is critical for buyers of foreclosed property to be absolutely certain that they are getting good, clean title and that they buy an owner’s policy.

This goes for an REO or a property purchased through an auction.

There are too many questions swirling around this sector of the market to do otherwise. Equally as important is that the buyers attorney, or the buyers themselves if they are arranging the title insurance, is sure that the title company being used is current and knowledgeable on any new court decisions that may affect them now or in the future.

This is our Example #2 of a transaction that we denied to issue a title policy on.

Example # 2- Non-insurable Title

Indymac Federal Bank gives a mortgage to Mrs. Orange and records the mortgage in MERS as “nominee”.

Mrs. Orange stops making payments on her mortgage and Indymac starts an action to foreclose on August 12, 2008

MERS assigns the mortgage back to Indymac (see attached).

Indymac proceeds with the foreclosure and gets the property back via a referee’s deed.

REASON FOR TITLE UNDERWRITER’S REFUSAL TO INSURE

Although Indymac got an assignment of the mortgage, the assignment was signed and notarized on August 15, 2008. Even though there is language in the assignment stating that the assignment was “as of August 11, 2008”, the title company will not insure this title without an indemnification from the bank.

Hallmark Abstract Service of New York is always available for interviews on the subject of title insurance and the foreclosure crisis.

For information please contact Michael Haltman at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or call him at 516.741.4723.

Hallmark Abstract Service: Have you ever been to a closing where the title wasn’t cleared? We haven’t!

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auction on courthouse steps, clear title, foreclosure crisis, foreclosures, insurability of title, MERS, owner's policy, real estate attorney, real estate law, REO, standing to foreclose, title insurance

An example of a denied title policy due to the foreclosure crisis


Foreclosures, REO’s (real estate owned) and auctions on the courthouse steps have one thing in common:

A critical need for the buyer to make sure that they can get clear title, owner’s title insurance (owner’s policy) and, in the case of an auction on the courthouse steps, to ascertain beyond a reasonable doubt that the property is in fact insurable before having to risk a 10% deposit!

At Hallmark Abstract Service we devote a good deal of our time staying abreast of any and all new developments that occur in the area of foreclosures and the insurability of title on properties. As some recent court decisions around the country have shown, being absolutely certain that a buyer is getting clear title to the property is as critical as any other aspect of the transaction!

An example of transaction Hallmark Abstract Service declined to insure

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Example # 1- Non-insurable Title


Fremont Investment and Loan gave a mortgage to Mr. Green and recorded the mortgage in MERS as “nominee”.


Mr. Green stopped making payments and Fremont began a foreclosure action against Mr. Green (Fremont was the plaintiff).


While Fremont held the note the mortgage was never assigned back to Freemont.


Fremont then sold the loan to U.S. Bank.


Fremont had MERS assign the mortgage from MERS to U.S. Bank directly.


U.S. Bank continued with the foreclosure and got a deed through the referee at the foreclosure sale.


REASON FOR TITLE UNDERWRITER’S REFUSAL TO INSURE


According to the current interpretation of foreclosure law by the title companies, in order for this foreclosure to have been done legally, MERS would have had to assign the mortgage back to Fremont Investment before they started their action.


It is the opinion of the title companies that Fremont was not the holder of the mortgage at the time it started its foreclosure so it did not have the STANDING to foreclose and therefore unless the bank signs an indemnification agreement (which most are refusing to do) they will not insure the sale.


Hallmark Abstract Service
of New York
is always available for interviews on the subject of title insurance and the foreclosure crisis.

For information please contact Michael Haltman at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or call him at 516.741.4723.

Hallmark Abstract Service: Have you ever been to a closing where the title wasn’t cleared? We haven’t!

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