Homeownership has its perks. Resolving to buy rather than to keep renting can be an excellent financial decision. Here, we take a look at five top benefits of going from renter to owner—and a few key things to consider before you make the move.Continue reading “Five Top Benefits of Owning a House or Condo”
Are generations different in their approach to buying real estate? The fundamentals of buying real estate arguably haven’t changed, but financial and technological trends have. And with more people seeking houses than houses to be found, home prices have taken an upward path. Despite low mortgage rates, all first-time home buyers face a challenging market.Continue reading “Buying Real Estate: Are the Generations Really Different?”
This story, alas, is unfolding. Physical signs of a heating world and its shifting weather patterns appear in tropical storms and in sea level rise, in heat waves, droughts, and wildfires. The economic and physical impacts of climate change are making their mark on real estate.
Affected cities have already paid heavy costs in repairs and reconstruction, insurance premiums, and loss of trade and tourism. Real estate markets are seeing severe weather events steadily chip away at property values. Public initiatives to mitigate risks will increase taxes, code compliance burdens, and financing costs.
In other words, the risks go well beyond destructive incidents from specific disasters. They include higher capital and maintenance costs related to fire, water, and weather damage on properties over time. To anticipate the risk of climate-related damage, analysts are mapping properties—feeding site-specific data into geophysical, hydrological, and economic models.Continue reading “New Risks for Property Owners: Economic and Physical Effects of Climate Change”
A new owner of real estate receives a real estate deed. But what about a real estate deed warranty? What are the common deeds, and what assurances do different deeds make? Here’s what’s at stake for a new owner, depending on the deed involved in the real estate sale.Continue reading “You Have the Deed and Keys to Your New Home. What About a Guarantee?”
Corey McCann is closing on a condo. Corey has just one more question for the title company agent:
I wonder why, in the definitions in the mortgage agreement for the recorder’s office, I’m called “Corey McCann, a single woman.” Only my name is relevant. I could understand declaring the single status—if there is a firm reason that the record must show, for example, that there is no co-habitant or person who might try to claim an interest in a divorce. But I don’t voluntarily identify myself in public documents or online by gender. I’d rather not do so now.
The title company agent answers:Continue reading “Preferred Pronouns in Real Estate Deeds”
If you are married and live in a community property state, you and your spouse may not think about whether certain assets are community or separate property. The former is generally all property acquired during the marriage, and the latter consists of property owned by each spouse before they wed. Separate property also includes assets inherited by one spouse or gifted to the individual. Say one spouse inherited a house from their parents, and rent out the dwelling. The rent received by the inheriting spouse is considered separate property.
Perhaps the marital home is actually separate property, as one spouse owned it prior to the marriage. Even though the spouses may share financial responsibility for the house, such as paying the mortgage and taxes together, or other expenses such as insurance and repairs, in reality the home belongs to just one of them. No matter how much the non-owning spouse may contribute to the property’s upkeep, it’s not a marital asset. For fairness’ sake, it may make sense to change the property from separate to community, via a process known as transmutation.Continue reading “The Transmutation of Real Estate Ownership Between Married Couples in Community Property States”
A power of attorney enables an agent (also called the attorney-in-fact) to conduct transactions on another person’s behalf.
The POA document often appears in the world of real estate transactions. A person (called the principal) might require a stand-in to sign financial documents, on account of absence or disability. A limited power of attorney can enable the agent to carry out any and all real estate transactions or even give an agent specific authority to sell one home (“for the sale of 123 Smith Avenue only”), and for a specified price.Continue reading “Conveying Real Estate Through a Power of Attorney”
Congratulations! Paying off a mortgage is an impressive milestone.
Now that you have paid off all the debt on your property, your home state’s law will direct your lender to take certain actions.
The lender will send you a certificate of satisfaction. This certificate, which the lender records in your home county, notifies the public that you have satisfied your obligation, and the lender has removed the lien from your property.
A few details of this process depend on what state your property is in, and whether your debt was secured through a deed of trust.Continue reading “You’ve Paid Off the Mortgage. What Happens Now?”
Most states and the District of Columbia impose a deed transfer tax when real property changes hands. This sales tax is based on the value of a given property. It applies to a transfer of full ownership from seller to buyer. It is also applied to any percentage of the property that is conveyed short of the entire property. Thus, if one co-owner relinquishes joint ownership in the entire property, the tax is calculated on half of the value.Continue reading “Real Estate Transfer Taxes”
For a valid real estate deed conveyance, two key actions must occur:
- The giver (called the grantor) must deliver it the recipient (called the grantee).
- The grantee must accept it.
A Recipient May Refuse to Accept a Deed.
Circumstances are not always right for taking on new ownership and new responsibilities. Moreover, not every piece of real property is desirable. Even with a significant estimated value, it might have hidden liabilities.
Thus, the gift of a deed can, and sometimes should, be turned down.
This can get difficult if the grantor has the conveyance recorded with the county anyway, without the grantee’s knowledge. The grantee will then be obliged to file a court petition to void the conveyance.Continue reading “Refusing to Accept a Deed”