Archive for the 'Escrow' Category
While you don’t always have control over every aspect of your closing, there is some preparation that you can do ahead of time to ensure a smooth, stress-free experience when you sit down for the last time in escrow. Here are a few hints that will help you be prepared for the avalanche of documents:
- Review your HUD-1 or final closing statement.
- Go line by line and check every fee: lender, title, and escrow.
- Review the credits – deposits, credits due from the seller, etc.
- Double-check the math to ensure calculations are correct.
- Bring a list of any discrepancies or questions – and go over every single one BEFORE you sign anything.
- Review the preliminary report or guarantee of title insurance.
- Verify the property’s legal description.
- Review any liens, encumbrances, or other items that might have come up in the title search.
- Check vesting to ensure the title is being recorded in the proper name(s).
- Bring a list of any discrepancies or questions – and go over every single one BEFORE you sign anything.
- Reinspect the property.
- Ensure corrections and/or repairs that were previously agreed upon have been made.
- Check the condition of the house – speak with your agent if anything may have fallen into disrepair.
- Review the purchase contract.
- Make sure that all conditions have been met.
- Check off any items tasked to the closing agent.
- Confirm that interest rate, points, fees, and the property’s condition are correctly noted before you start signing anything.
With a little “home” work, you can be fully prepared for the stacks of paper you’ll soon be signing. It will not only take pressure off during closing, it will give you peace of mind that you’ve covered all your bases before signing your name on the dotted line.
This stunning, five-bedroom, six-bathroom Mediterranean Estate listed by Ted Clark & Partners is located in Altadena, California, about a half mile east of the Altadena Golf Course. Built in 1927, this classic estate features extensive grounds, orchard, and organic gardens. Situated on a 29,700 square foot lot, the home is full of Mediterranean architectural details, including beamed ceilings, ceramic tile, clay, and hardwood floors.
The main house has been skillfully crafted and beautifully decorated, boasting 4,900 square feet. In addition to its five bedrooms and six tastefully remodeled bathrooms, you will find a formal entry of wood and elaborate tile stairs, guest/maid’s quarters, a breakfast room, a recently remodeled kitchen featuring gorgeous marble counters, and a butler’s pantry.
Numerous balconies and French doors lead to the outdoor living spaces, including an open patio, covered porch, an in ground, heated and filtered pool and spa, and a 950+ square foot studio providing the perfect atmosphere for any creative hobby or passion.
If you are interested in learning more about the property featured above, please visit: http://www.tedclarkandpartners.com/listings/details/54/1691-east-mendocino-street
Understanding contingencies is important when you are considering making an offer on a property. A contingency is a condition in the Purchase Agreement that allows the buyer(s) to remove themselves from the contract with their deposit refunded if certain conditions are not met after their offer is presented.
Some of the most common contingencies are: building inspection, financing or mortgage, clean title, and the appraisal. Other contingencies can be more detailed, such as the seller must fix up the front yard by planting certain flowers, or that the buyer must have time to sell his home before closing. Contingencies must be fulfilled within a certain time frame. Once a contingency has been approved, the buyer and seller must give a signed document removing that contingency from the contract to escrow and the real estate agent. Keep in mind, if the buyer and seller do not sign off on the contingency after the deadline arrives, the contingency will be considered accepted.
Contingencies are critical to the close of escrow because they eliminate any uncertainties over who is responsible for certain costs if contingencies are not or cannot be fulfilled. They protect both the buyer and the seller from any surprises and allow a way out of the contract. The close of escrow will take place after the contingencies are removed.
Los Angeles Times recently published an article that outlines a mortgage scam currently affecting residents across the United States. According to reports by the United States government, the individuals running the scam are selecting current homeowners to whom they are sending letters. The letter explains that the homeowner’s loan payment needs to be mailed to a new address. The new location is not a legitimate company, but rather an address that gets the check to the scammers.
Those who have been affected by the scam may not recognize they have been scammed until months after sending payments to the false address. Often times, the discovery didn’t come until the actual lender contacted the homeowner and explained they had defaulted on their payment. By this time, the homeowner may have already sent several payments to the fake company.
There are times when a lender’s address does changes. Therefore, homeowners should take time to review any requests they receive regarding their payments to identify their authenticity. If the notification is legitimate, the lender will include the loan account number. If this information isn’t present, it is a good indicator that the request may be false.
One other red flag is if the letter is the only form of communication. Genuine requests are usually followed by another package within a week’s time. The package typically includes the homeowner’s payment structure, principal details, and unique escrow details.
Authorities have recommended that if a homeowner is unsure about a request, they should contact the lender directly to verify the request.
Earnest money, also known as a good faith deposit, dates back to ancient times. In the old days, it was known as the earnest penny and represented the payment binding a purchase, often times an animal or a piece of land. It has since evolved to be a fairly important step of the home buying or selling process.
Today, earnest money represents the money that serves as the deposit for a real estate purchase. The money is used to represent that the potential buyer of the property is serious about wanting to complete the purchase. In real estate, when a buyer makes an offer to buy a home, he or she signs a contract that states earnest money will be paid. This amount is completely dependent on the market and the price of the home in question.
In addition, the seller must accept the offer that the buyer has proposed. Often times, negotiations take place until the buyer and the seller both agree on an amount that works for both of them. Once the amount has been agreed upon, the money is held in escrow until the closing of the property. Typically, the money is put towards the buyer’s costs at closing.
If for some reason the offer is rejected, the money normally is returned to the buyer. If the buyer decides that he or she no longer wishes to purchase the property, there are several circumstances that come into play. On many occasions, the buyer forfeits the money if he or she retracts the offer.
While earnest money’s role has changed over the centuries, it still plays a crucial role in the home buying and selling process. If you have any additional questions about the escrow process, please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to assist you!
Whether you are a first time homebuyer or in the process of selling your second home, the escrow process can come across as unfamiliar territory to both homebuyers and sellers. The knowledge and expertise that is required of an experienced escrow officer often takes years to develop and refine, and although your escrow company will take care of each step of the process, we believe it is never a bad idea to educate yourself. So to help, we’ve created a simplified version of the “Three Steps of the Escrow Process.”
Step One: Opening Escrow
This phase entails obtaining basic information crucial to your escrow, which may include names of parties involved, financing information, conditions placed on escrow and sale price of home. Once the escrow officer has this required information, he or she prepares instructions that pertain to the escrow moving forward. These directions entail what must occur for the escrow to successfully close.
Step Two: Processing Escrow
This step also entails a great deal of “information gathering,” ultimately in preparation for closing. Signatures of parties involved, preparation of the Deed, opening the Title order, calculating required funds, and obtaining a preliminary Title Report are all occurrences that take place during this time.
Step Three: Closing Escrow
This step involves working with the Title company, following the instructions initially laid forth as they pertain to lenders involved, preparing statements and checks to parties involved, and paying off old loans. In addition to executing all of these items, the pivotal aspect involves getting them done accurately and in the timeframe set forth by the real estate contract. Once all of these items are complete and the instructions have been fulfilled, the escrow closes and the property and money are transferred.
If you have additional questions about the escrow process, please contact us. We’d be happy to speak with you in further detail.
If you’ve ever purchased a home, or are in the process of buying, it will come as no surprise to you that the home buying process is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make.Although some aspects of your new home purchase will be handled with your qualified real estate agent, escrow officer and title company, educating yourself can also be a huge asset. To help, we’ve compiled a list of items that can help make the transition as stress-free as possible.
1. Ensure that you have an established closing date.
As a team, your real estate agent and title company will work together to schedule the closing date for your new home. Just make sure that this timeline coincides with the sale of your current home or the end of your current lease. This will make the transition much smoother.
2. Coordinate your funds.
A common requirement is that you must bring funds to the closing of your new home. If you have money tied up in stock or a savings account work to make those funds liquid so that they can be easily accessed.
3. Conduct a final walk through of the home.
A final walk through is never a bad idea. Work with your real estate agent to take a peek at the home one final time prior to closing. This will ensure that no major changes have taken place prior to the last time you saw the property. This also gives you the opportunity to verify that all of the agreed upon alterations have been made.
We wish you the best of luck in new home search and hope these tips come in handy! If you would like additional information about the home buying or the escrow process, please feel free to contact us. We’d be more than happy to help!
We know our community is very diverse and understand the importance of making your clients feel comfortable during the escrow process. We believe that delivering exceptional escrow service begins with our team! Our escrow officers will work with one another to help translate in order to best accommodate you and your client.
If your client is foreign or local, and speaks any of the languages listed below, they can be confident their escrow will be managed professionally and expeditiously. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
American Trust Escrow represents service at its best with experience you can trust. All of our escrow officers are licensed and bonded, and we have office locations in Brentwood, Los Angeles, Los Feliz, Pasadena, and San Marino.
One of the common documents a borrower may encounter in escrow is the “Notice of Right to Cancel.” This document is also referred to as the “rescission document” or the “3-day Notice of Cancellation.” This notice will be found in the loan document package, and it states that the borrower can cancel or rescind their loan transaction within three business days after signing the loan documents. Confusion arises for borrowers as to when the right to cancel applies, and if so, exactly what day the borrower can rescind their approval of the loan transaction.
When does the right to cancel apply?
The right to cancel applies to refinances or “home equity lines of credit” extended on a borrower’s “primary residence.” The right to cancel does not apply to borrowers who are purchasing a home, borrowers who are refinancing their second home, or on investment or rental properties.
Understanding the important dates on the document.
There are two important dates on the document. The first is the date of signing. The second is the rescission date, or final date to cancel. When the lender prepares final loan documents for an anticipated signing, he may indicate these dates by printing them in advance for the borrower on the Notice of Right to Cancel. However, many lenders prefer to leave the dates blank on the document because the exact date of signing may not be known. In this case, the lender may print instructions on the document for determining the correct dates, or the lender may insert an instruction sheet into the loan package with the Notice of Right to Cancel. If the dates are already printed on the document in advance, but are incorrect, the instructions will provide information on how to properly correct, or how to properly interpret the dates to determine the rescission date.
Determining the rescission date.
The borrower has the right to cancel until midnight on the third day after signing. To determine the correct rescission date after signing, the borrower or his qualified escrow and loan document-signing agent (Notary Public) will count three days beginning with the first day following the signing date (the transaction date is not counted). Sundays and legal federal holidays are not counted, and are therefore skipped. Saturdays are counted because banks conduct lending business on this day. To help with the determination of the correct rescission date, free “rescission calendars” are available and can be found via the Internet.
Several new laws affecting the real estate industry became effective this year. In a previous post, we discussed SB 1149: Foreclosure Protection for Tenants, where a landlord is prohibited from harming a tenant’s credit score by revealing unlawful detainer records, unless the landlord prevails in court, and AB 1809: Energy Efficiency Audit in Home Inspection Report, where a home inspection and inspection report may include a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) home energy efficiency audit if requested by a client.
In this series of posts, we will highlight and give an overview of the other laws that also went into effect in January.
Adverse Possession Claim Requires Timely Payments
For a claim of adverse possession, existing law requires proof that taxes have been paid on the property for a five-year period. Effective January 1, 2011, Assembly Bill 1684 will further require that all state, county, or municipal taxes have been certifiably paid in a timely manner for the five-year period the property has been occupied and claimed. Read More
Effective January 1, 2011, Senate Bill 1137 requires those who act as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) to hold a MLO license endorsement issued by the Department of Real Estate (DRE) in order to be employed or compensated by a real estate broker. Those who act or advertise themselves as an MLO without a DRE MLO endorsement are guilty of a crime punishable by a $20,000 fine, six months imprisonment, or both. Corporations acting as an MLO without the endorsement by the DRE are punishable by a fine of $60,000. Read More