On Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., Governor, J.B. Pritzker issued a public order (“Order”) directing Illinois residents to shelter-in-place. The shelter-in-place is, for now, effective through April 7, 2020. During this time frame, how is your real estate transaction going to be affected?
The short answer is that real estate transactions will proceed as planned. Under the Order, there are several exceptions or permissible activities that may still be performed. These are called “Essential Businesses and Operations.” Under this category, Financial Institutions (i.e. banks, title companies) and Professional Services (i.e. legal services, accounting, appraisals) are allowed to continue operating. As such, real estate transactions can proceed as planned and deals can still close during this period.
However, as an added precaution and based on recommendations from the title companies in our area, the following procedures will be followed:
All cash transactions will be closed electronically via e-mail and/or DocuSign. Any funds to be provided at the closing will need to be sent via wire transfer to the title company. Documents required by the title company to be an original (i.e. Deed) should be dropped off or sent via overnight courier to the title company prior to closing. Once the transaction has concluded, copies of the pertinent documents will be sent via overnight delivery to all parties. Any proceeds due will either be wired or a check sent via overnight delivery. There is also the option to pick up your documents and check at the title company.
Transaction with a Lender
Seller(s): It is very common for sellers to sign their closing documents in advance, give their attorney a power of attorney for closing day and not attend the closing. Our office has always offered this service and will continue to do so during this time period. Moreover, title companies are encouraging sellers not attend closing and send their documentation prior to closing. Therefore, for our seller clients, our office will coordinate with you to get your signature on the necessary documents in advance of closing. The few documents requiring signing on the day of closing we will execute on your behalf under a power of attorney.
Once the transaction has concluded, copies of the pertinent documents will be sent via overnight delivery to all parties. Any proceeds due will either be wired or a check sent via overnight delivery. There is also the option to pick up your documents and check at the title company.
Buyer(s): Due to the fact that many loan documents are required to be wet signed and notarized, buyers must still attend the closing. Title companies are requesting that only the buyers required to sign the loan documents and their attorney attend the closing, so as to limit the number of people at the title company. The title companies have implemented some safety measures to ensure a safe and clean environment. All closing rooms will be cleaned with disinfectant after every closing. The pens used will be new and disposed of after closing. Also, they will limit the number of people allowed in the facility and practice social distancing recommendations when possible. Some title companies are also offering drive by closings, where buyers can pull up, sign the documents in their car, and hand them back to the title representative.
Once the transaction has concluded, copies of the pertinent documents will be sent via overnight delivery to all parties. Any proceeds due will either be wired or a check sent via overnight delivery. There is also the option to pick up your documents and check at the title company if you choose to wait after signing.
In short, your real estate transaction should proceed as planned with just some slight modifications for the closing. Lenders, attorneys and title companies are still working during the shelter-in-place period. Fournier Law Firm, Ltd. is committed to assisting our clients in making your closing as smooth as possible. As your closing nears, our office will be in contact with you to coordinate the necessary steps to get your deal closed.
Despite the best efforts of the federal government, lenders, builders and even realtors, the housing market is still falling short of benchmarks for normal housing activity. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times explores some of the reasons the housing market continues to struggle. One major contributing factor according to the article is the shortage of first-time home buyers. The National Association of Realtors reports that first timers represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in the last 18 months. This is the lowest percentage in 30 years. Another issue is the increase in doubled-up households. Adult children are living with their parents more than before, leaving the homes they would have otherwise purchased still sitting on the market. Market experts, however, are hopeful that as the economy improves those adult children will strike out on their own and help swing the market back in the right direction. (more…)
In a unanimous decision this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, in certain cases, borrowers may back out of their mortgage within the first three years simply by writing a letter of intent to rescind the mortgage. Lower courts have ruled that the borrower must file a lawsuit against the lender to rescind the mortgage. The high court disagreed stating, “… so long as the borrower notifies within three years after the transaction is consummated, his rescission is timely. The statute does not also require him to sue within three years.” According to an article by RISMedia, this ruling could make it easier for homeowners to walk away from upside-down mortgages. (more…)
Consumer optimism about the ease of securing a home mortgage loan has reached a record high according to a new report released by Fannie Mae. Earlier this week, the mortgage giant shared the results of their February 2015 National Housing Survey, which revealed that 54 percent of consumers believe it would be easy for them to get approval for a home mortgage loan today. The survey also revealed another record high: 47 percent of respondents believe the economy is headed in the right direction. In a recent HousingWire article, Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, said the survey results “lend support to our expectation that 2015 will be a year of the economy dragging housing upward.”
Illinois realtors are the highest paid real estate agents in the country according to a new list released by HomeInsurance.com. The online insurer compared data on agent salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and factored in the cost of living in 200 different metro areas. Real estate agents in Lake County, IL topped the list. With an average salary of $97,480, Lake County agents earn more than 2.5 times the national average for realtors. The county’s wealth of multimillion dollar homes for agents to sell, coupled with a reasonable cost of living in surrounding areas, make it an enviable market for realtors. Real estate agents in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area came in second place with an average salary of $82,780.
Read the entire article to learn which areas round out the top 10 list.
Image credit: Kevin Dooley
Investment interest in commercial real estate continues to rise with more than 70 percent of commercial investors saying they are looking to increase
their commercial property portfolios in the next year. This promising report for the commercial real estate industry is based on Marcus & Millichap’s third quarter Investor Sentiment Survey Index. According to the commercial real estate investment firm, which has offices throughout the United States and Canada, investors in the apartment, hotel and industrial sectors expect to experience the highest property value increases in the next 12 months. (more…)
The spring homebuying season is off to a promising start with existing home sales reporting their highest annual rate in 18 months. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops increased 6.1 percent from February to March for a total of 5.19 million homes sold. The housing market, which so far this year had been more stagnant than analysts projected, has not seen March’s volume of sales since September 2013. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, attributes the sales boost to “the combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market.”
Successful real estate agents rarely get that way by accident. On the contrary, they conduct themselves in a specific way that makes people want to work with them and for them. Andrew Gale, founder of FlyerCo.com and a guest contributor for Inman News, pinpoints the six principles of persuasion that successful real estate
agents use to improve the quality of their influence with buyers, sellers, and other agents. Gale taps into popular wisdom espoused by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, best selling author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion in this insightful article tailor-made for real estate professionals.
Vacation home sales reached record high levels in 2014 according to a new report released this week by the National Association of REALTORS®. With an estimated 1.13 million vacation homes sold last year, vacation home sales experienced a 57.4 percent increase over 2013 sales of just 717,000 properties sold. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, attributes the dramatic increase in part to stock market growth and improved confidence among affluent buyers in the housing market. He also says the boost reflects an increase in the “numbers of baby boomers moving closer to retirement and buying second homes to convert into their primary homes in a few years.” In contrast, the same report also revealed that investment home sales decreased by 7.4 percent.
If the findings of a new Coldwell Banker report are true, summer homebuyers may find themselves engaged in a bidding war for their dream home. According to the residential real estate franchise’s report, 47 percent of home sellers have received offers from multiple buyers since 2014. Twenty-seven percent of those home sellers say at least one of those offers was above their asking price. So, what can a homebuyer do to gain an advantage? Well, the report indicates that sellers “want to feel emotionally connected to the buyer.” With 36 percent of home sellers admitting to accepting an offer based on emotion, homebuyers who share how much the home means to them may have a better shot than those who make the better offer.