Posts Tagged ‘Real estate laws’

Homeowners: New CA Law to Protect Your Property From Probate

Monday, December 14th, 2015

California Assembly Bill AB-139 will take effect January 1, 2016. It will allow homeowners to avoid probate and designate one or more beneficiaries to inherit their properties upon their death, without the creation of a trust. Upon the death of the homeowner, ownership would pass immediately to the beneficiary, without having to go through probate proceedings. dreamstime_5338072

Designation of a beneficiary in the deed does not take away any rights of the property owner during her/his lifetime. She/he retains 100% control over the property during lifetime, and can still sell, place liens on the property, or borrow against the property with no need to inform the beneficiary named in the deed. The homeowner is also free to revoke the designation at any time during his or her life.

This low cost alternative is a great way to protect your property from probate. If you would like to discuss taking advantage of this new law, contact my highly recommended colleagues at In a Pinch Business Services at 760-536-3637, or visit www.inapinchonline.com The fee for creation of this document is $95. You can also contact your attorney.

For more information on the new bill please Click here

 

 

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New Supreme Court Ruling May Impact Short Sales

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The latest case on the Supreme Court docket could affect the number and difficulty of future short sales, so if you are short selling, purchasing/planning to purchase a short sale, or if you are an agent who may be selling one, please read on. dreamstime_6795077

In Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court will soon rule as to whether a borrower has the right to void a second lien through bankruptcy when his home is not worth the value of the first mortgage. In simpler terms, if you have two loans and file bankruptcy, and your home is not worth the amount of the first mortgage (say you owe $500,000 on the first loan and $100,000 on a second loan, and your home is worth $450,000), filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy would allow you to void the second loan. The home could then be sold via short sale and the second lienholder would get nothing and have no rights to intervene.

Back during the short sale wave of 2008-2011 many second lienholders were successfully able to block negotiated bankruptcy settlements that benefitted the borrowers and first mortgage holders; thus many short sales fell through, and those homes eventually ended up going into foreclosure. When the economy worsened many of these foreclosure proceedings got pushed to the back burner and homeowners stayed in their homes for long periods of time, even years, without paying anything. This led to damaged and neglected homes, and in some parts of the U.S. entire neighborhoods deteriorated. This of course resulted in cost increases for taxpayers and the bank bailout.

Not long after this all started many first lienholders began to offer small sums to the second lienholders (usually about $10,000) in exchange for their blessing on the short sales, and this became standard practice. But not all second lienholders acquiesce. If they are now given the legal right to block these agreements in bankruptcy it could create problems that would be passed along to taxpayers.

Two of the Justices – Kennedy and Sotomayor – have indicated that they do not think it fair that a second lienholder would be able to hold hostage a bankruptcy settlement reached by the borrower and first lienholder.

Keep an eye on this case and the outcome, which should be decided in June, especially if you are a homeowner in this situation, a short sale buyer or an agent who sells short sales. The decision could affect short sales as we know them…stay tuned.

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New Real Estate Laws for 2012

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

With a new year there are new laws, so here is my annual list of some of the new real estate laws you may want to be aware of going into this new year:

Landlord Right to Prohibit Smoking. California Senate Bill 332 gives landlords the right to prohibit smoking in their residential rental properties, including outside areas. The non-smoking areas of the property must be designated in the lease agreement. Existing tenants must be provided 30 days notice if a landlord wishes to impose these restrictions on current leases. Law effective January 1.

Foreclosure Postponement Notice Requirement. Senate Bill 4 requires specified notices of how to postpone a foreclosure sale be provided to owners who receive foreclosure notices. Lenders seeking foreclosure are required to make a good faith effort to provide such information to those who seek it. Law effective April 1, 2012.

Owners Right to Rent Condominium. Senate Bill 150 allows an owner of a unit in a common interest development to rent or lease out the property despite homeowner rules to the contrary, as long as the rules were not in effect before the owner took title. Law effective January 1.

HOA Restrictions Against Excessive Fees. Senate Bill 771 requires HOAs (home owner associations) to limit the costs of preparing and delivering HOA documents and disclosures. Once the HOA estimates a fee for doing so, and the fee is paid, it cannot tack on unreasonable fees beyond the estimate, nor can it threaten to withhold release of the information to sellers until extra fees are paid. Law effective Januart 1.

Restricting Actions of HOA Boards. Senate bill 563 requires HOA boards to provide at least 2 days notice to owners for HOA meetings, with the exception of emergency meetings. Boards are not permitted to take action on any business items outside of a meeting, with the exception of those that have been delegated to managing personnel or others. Law effective January 1.

School Residency Attendance Can Be Established Via Parent Workplace. Under Senate bill 381, residency requirements for specific school districts may now be established by parent workplace, if at least one parent/legal guardian of the pupil is “physically employed within the boundaries of that district at least 10 hours per school week.” This is determined by the district, and “may” be allowed should the district choose to do so. This law was already in place, but is now extended through July 1, 2017.

Small Claims Court Judgment Increase. Under Senate bill 221, small claims judgments are now increased from $7500 to $10,000 if the claim was brought by a natural person (if brought by a corporation the limit is still $5,000). Law effective January 1.

Real Estate Agent Licensing/Discipline Changes. There are numerous changes to discipline in regards to real estate agents, including those related to license suspension for failure to pay taxes, and the requirement to report any disciplinary actions and escrow activities to the DRE. Senate Bills 53, 706. Laws effective January 1.

For a complete list of all new 2012 laws go to www.leginfo.ca.gov for California laws or http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ for federal laws.

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Recent Real Estate News, and How it Effects You

Monday, October 24th, 2011

There has been plenty of recent housing news that could effect the value of your home, so here are some of the latest updates:

Bill to allow visas to foreign home buyers. Congress is considering a bill that would allow foreign homebuyers to purchase residential property in the U.S., in an effort to stimulate the housing market. Buyers would need to spend at least $500,000 to obtain the visas, and would be allowed to split the money and purchase more than one home, as long as one property was at least $250,000. The buyers resident visa would be in place for as long as the buyer owned the home, and the buyers will have to live in their U.S. home for at least six months out of the year.

Mortgage rates may be lowered. The Federal Reserve is considering lowering the mortgage rates again, as the current low rates do not seem to be stimulating housing and the economy. They plan to purchase more mortgage backed securities, with the goal that banks will be able to help homeowners with refinancing and stimulate purchasing, without causing inflation. Since most of the problems with refinancing involve problems with fees or restrictions, will this really help? This could create more mortgage rate risk for the Fed, and realistically how many people will it help? It certainly won’t do anything for the millions of underwater homeowners. It seems to me this is digging a deeper grave, but I am not a mortgage expert so I will leave this to those who are, but my gut feeling says this is not the best solution.

Next generation of homeowners have little confidence in housing. A new study released by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has found that the younger generation is less willing to purchase homes. Older respondents seemed to be more confident about homeownership after large declines, while younger participants felt opposite. Older respondents saw the drop in the market as cyclical, with the expectation of recovery, whereas their younger peers view the current situation as more permanent. Could this have an effect on housing in the long term?

Study says bank owned property sales may not peak until 2013. The latest study claims that we will see a lot more foreclosures, and therefore many more bank owned homes, until 2013. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts claim that although we will not see price drops as steep as those of 2008, we could see a 10% increase in these REO (bank-owned) properties from 2012 to 2013.  For more details of the study click here.

State court voids home sale…could this happen across the country? A Massachusetts state court recently ruled that a home recently sold post-foreclosure was improperly sold, as the lender did not hold the title. The sale was found to be void. So what happens to the new owners? Certainly there will be a big lawsuit against the title companies. But if this becomes the standard who is going to want to purchase a post-foreclosure home? Home buyers rely on title companies to convey clear title…so isn’t this punishing the purchasers and not just the bank? After all, if the title company certifies title is clear and escrow closes, how would a homeowner have any reason to know that there was  a problem with the title? I’m not even going to speculate as to how badly this would fare for housing and the economy in general.

HUD homes for only $100 down: In the spirit of stimulating housing purchases, HUD has decided to offer buyers the chance to purchase a HUD REO (lender owned home) for  only $100 down…yes, you read that right, one hundred dollars. Of course there are restrictions: the home must be a HUD home (a home that is the result of a foreclosure on a FHA home loan), the sale must be for list price, FHA guidelines apply (you have to qualify for a loan), and the state of your purchase must be one that is listed. To find out more search the internet for HUD’s $100 downpayment program orvisit their site.

 

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Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Are Sellers Liable?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

You may or may not have heard that as of July 1, 2011 carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in every single family residence. So, what is your liability if you are a seller – do you have to install them before the close of escrow?

While it is true that carbon monoxide detectors must be located in every home, it is not a requirement to install them in order to close escrow. However, the seller is responsible for disclosing in the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) whether or not the home has carbon monoxide detectors installed.

Keep in mind that if you do not install them in your home you are technically in violation of the law – but whether that would actually be enforced is anyone’s guess (I suspect local law enforcement officers have better things to do).

If you are a buyer and would like the seller to install the detectors during escrow you can ask your agent to write that into your contract. If you are a seller, my advice to you is to spend the money on carbon monoxide detectors and forget about it – there are some great deals if you check. I recently purchased a set of two for about $20.

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New Real Estate Laws You Should Understand

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Starting January 1, 2011 there will be some new laws effecting buyers, sellers, homeowners and renters, as well as foreclosures. To read the full text of the laws you can go to http:// www.leginfo.ca.gov. Here they are in a nut shell.

Short Sale Deficiencies Not Allowed. Lenders may not go after borrowers for the short sale deficiencies any longer after January 1. Once the lender has given written permission to accept the short sale price it is bound to accept that price as payment in full of the obligation. This law applies to first trust deeds only, in residential 1-4 unit properties, and still permits the lender to seek damages for fraud or waste committed by the borrower in relation to the sale. Senate Bill 931.

Home Inspection Report Energy Audit Inclusion. Buyers will be allowed to ask that an energy audit be included in their home inspection report, according to the standards of the Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS). Assembly Bill 1809 and California Civil Code Section 2079.10.

Adverse Possession Claim Restriction. A person or entity may not initiate a claim for adverse possession (taking of property of another) without certified proof that all taxes–state, county and municipal–have been paid for the five year period the property has been occupied and claimed. Assembly Bill 1684.

Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) Enforcement. One who acts as a MLO without a license endorsement as such will be guilty of a crime. Senate Bill 1137.

Post-Foreclosure Tenant Protection. Tenants remaining on property after a foreclosure sale must receive a notice of tenant’s statutory rights. There is another part of this bill that also protects residential tenants’ credit. Senate Bill 1149.

Tenant Protection and Domestic Violence. A landlord cannot terminate a tenancy based on domestic violence that occurred or is alleged against the tenant or his/her household members. There are some exceptions. A landlord is also required to change exterior locks on leases entered into after January 1, 2011 upon written request of the tenant and within 24 hours of a request. For details and exception see Senate Bill 782.

Real Estate Fraud Protections. There are several new laws pertaining to foreclosure consultants, mailed solicitations and grant deeds, and for renting out dwellings without owner permission. See Assembly Bills 2325, 1373 and 1800.

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