Throughout the years of your mortgage, you’ll likely ask the
question more than once: Is now the right time to refinance? First, note
that refinancing may be no easier than getting that existing loan. Moreover, from
2020 on, expect lenders to have stringent
requirements for mortgage approvals.
The answer will depend, too, on varied factors specific to
your own situation.
Here are a few reasons refinancing could make a lot of sense
— or not.
Appealing to work-from-home buyers can boost your home’s profile. How much? To get an idea of the value placed on the work-from-home economy today, note that Apple, in September 2020, introduced its holiday subscription sets of TV shows, games, news, music and home workouts — all designed to cater to the work-at-home set.
The office has shifted, and the work-from-home life is here
to stay. With that in mind, let’s look at what work-from-home buyers are
seeking in a home itself, and how a seller can use this knowledge
Know what’s in your stash of papers — and how to store
them all for safekeeping.
Congrats! You’ve bought a home. You walk away from the
closing table in triumph, a pile of documents in your arms. OK, so what are the
key documents, how do you keep them, and when will you need them? Let’s look over
When businesses don’t get paid for working at someone’s
home, their super power is the mechanic’s lien. Recorded in the county where
the work is done, it attaches to the title of the home. The last thing a
homeowner wants is a cloud on the title. Liens make a home hard to sell, to borrow
money against, or to refinance until the lien is resolved. So, warning the
client of an intent to record a lien usually has the desired effect: the client
pays the bill.
Strong stuff! It’s said that Thomas Jefferson introduced the mechanic’s lien into U.S. legal practice, to encourage construction workers to build in the early days of the country. In those days, construction workers were called mechanics. Today, the instrument is interchangeably referred to as a mechanic’s lien or a construction lien.
Some sellers are willing to help hopeful home buyers avoid
the mortgage process, using the contract for deed. Often, these instruments
are put to use when the seller has a family member or close friend who’d like
to own, but has a non-traditional job or financial situation.
Also known as an installment sale agreement, a contract for
deed is a home purchase — it’s just financed by the seller, not a financial institution.
After the parties close on the agreement, the buyer lives in the house as the
owner, and sends the seller monthly installments. The length of the loan and
the installment amounts are negotiable. There might be no down payment, or a
relatively modest one.
Will you have a survey done before your coming real estate
deal? Of course, a professional will be examining the title. But a title search
does not include a survey. With a title search, the title company reviews the
chain of title, up to the present ownership. It does not reveal specific
physical details of the property.
Depending on the region of the country (and even the state)
in which the home exists, the mortgage company might or might not require a
survey. Nevertheless, either the seller or the buyer may want to hire a service
to produce an up-to-date survey. Here, we make the case for having this done —
so you can decide for yourself.
Whether you plan to co-own property with a United States citizen or
a non-U.S. citizen, the rules of the game aren’t too different. Noncitizens can
inherit property. They may be named as beneficiaries on financial and insurance
accounts, just as citizens may. And whether you own jointly with citizen or resident,
you’ll each qualify for the current annual gift tax exclusion.
You’ll also qualify for the current estate tax exemption if you’re under the cap. Specifically, there is no estate tax on the wealth of people who pass away with (as of 2020) less than $11.58 million (twice that amount per couple). The non-U.S. citizen spouse can inherit up to the annual cap without owing federal estate tax. (This attractively high estate tax exemption could expire within the next few years.)
Now, those basics aside, here are a few special property ownership
rules and tax provisions worthy of note.
Previously, that provision of Indiana law said any conveyance, mortgage or other document to be recorded must simply have the signer acknowledge the document with a notary. Or the document could be proved with a notary and an additional witness. The key term is or — you needed either one or the other. Now, that section of the code has the word and instead of or.
So, two different notarizations — an acknowledgement and a proof with a witness — must accompany any paper or electronic instrument submitted for recording. You can see samples of both notarial formats here.
As Indiana senators will henceforth never forget, the
tiniest word change in a law’s language matters. The statute is slated to be amended
and corrected when Indiana’s General Assembly reconvenes in 2021.
For many buyers, the home shopping experience involves gazing
wistfully at hardwood floors, kitchen countertops, new appliances, and the
sunny views from the windows over the garden. As the purchase decision gets
closer, the focus turns to the AC efficiency and the state of the roofing, electric
outlets, vents, and ducts. Even then, an unknown lien
on the title might be the furthest thing from a buyer’s mind.
Liens represent debts that must be resolved before the home
can be sold. A mortgage lien, for example, represents a buyer’s obligation
to repay the lender.
Before the title can be conveyed to a new owner, a title
search will look back over the chain of title to find easements, covenants and
restrictions in the records. If a preliminary title report comes back clean, it
means nothing substantial was unearthed in the records. Typically, then, the
buyer can then access financing, and the parties may proceed with the deal.
But what about unrecorded liens? No one likes surprises that
could delay closing. Potentially even more problematic are liens that escape the
title company’s attention entirely, only to be discovered after the new owner
has lived in the home for some time.
To avert these problems, it helps to know the basics of
Co-buying a home as a couple signifies a serious commitment
on multiple levels. If you have spoken with your real estate lawyer and financial
expert, and decided to buy property together as a couple, congrats! You’ll want
to make informed decisions about financing and titling your property together.
You’ll be forging an estate plan as you go — because the way ownership is vested
on the title tells the world what should happen with your property ownership even
beyond your life.
It’s good to know that the language of the chain of title
can co-exist with respect for the homeowners’
sexual identity. Even so, certain things will be on LGBTIQ home buyers’ radar.
Here, we outline some frequently noted issues, to help orient your
conversations with your financial and legal advisers, and your mortgage and