Chicago Real Estate Agents – Avoiding TRID Delays

  These days “TRID” is about the worst four-letter word an agent can hear. It seems to mean delay, delay and more delay. Although the vast majority of TRID’s requirements are aimed at lenders and title companies, there are some things that the real estate agent can do to help the process.

  1. Send your commission statement to the attorneys and lender as soon as is practical. Generally speaking, the broker commission will not change once attorney review and inspection are complete. By sending your commission statement to the attorneys and the lender early in the process, there is less chance of a delay in completing the Closing Disclosure.
  1. Provide the lender with information regarding any costs that the agents are paying on behalf of the buyer or seller. A good example of this is when the agents are covering the cost of a home warranty. If the lender is not made aware of the broker credit before Consummation, the Closing Disclosure could change, which may trigger a three business day delay!
  1. As soon as possible, send the lender your contact information, including your name, address, email and phone number. The lender must have this information to comply with TRID.

These tips will help smooth the process and help avoid delay!

If It’s Not In Writing, It Doesn’t Exist

We have all heard the saying, but what does it mean for your clients? Let me illustrate by telling you the story of Antonio. After Antonio’s offer on a condo in Lake View was accepted, the seller offered to throw in the $1,500 gas grill on the balcony for no additional cost. At the time, the seller did not want the trouble of moving it. Both agents agreed over the phone to the arrangement, but they did not tell the attorneys, and nothing about the inclusion of the grill was put in writing. Antonio’s agent was familiar with his counterpart, and Antonio trusted that the seller’s agent had everything covered with the seller. However, when Antonio went on his final walk through, the morning of closing, he discovered that the seller had changed his mind and taken the grill. Antonio was understandably upset, because it was going to cost $1,500 to replace the grill, and he had already promised to grill for his friends who agreed to help him move. Alas, there was nothing Antonio’s attorney could do about the missing grill, because the agreement was not in writing!

The moral of the story is that no matter how much you trust the other agent, any agreement that is not reduced to writing is generally unenforceable! It is crucial to reduce any agreements to writing. Otherwise, your client is at the mercy of the other side’s kindness, which is a bad place to be. Although the seller’s agent apologized up and down for the seller’s change of heart, it was little consolation for Antonio and his agent, and it is unlikely that Antonio will use this agent in the future. The best practice is to make sure you let your client’s attorney know about anything that the parties agree to post-contract, so that the attorney can put it in writing.

I am always happy to answer your questions about this and any other topic.  Please feel free to email me at patrick@loftus-law.com or call me at 773-632-8330.  As always, I am honored by your referrals.

Chicago Real Estate Agents – How To Deal With The 2015 Property Re-Assessment

2016 01 17 Pay Taxes

The 2015 triennial re-assessment for City of Chicago property brings a huge increase to real estate assessments on the North and Northwest sides of the City. Although the median increase among the 184 city neighborhood areas is 10.4%, it would be a mistake to think that a 110% tax proration will provide a sufficient credit for all of your Buyers. Individually, the are some properties where the assessed value has increased nearly 50%!

If you have clients who are buying or selling real estate on the North or Northwest Side, especially in East Village, Ukranian Village, Streeterville, River North, Gold Coast, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lake View, Logan Square, Lincoln Square or Lincoln Park, you need to know the impact of the increased assessments, which average more than 28%. Each property with an increased assessment can expect a similar increase in their property tax bill for 2015, payable in 2016. Missing this can cost your clients thousands when the 2015 and 2016 tax bills are issued (and cost you referrals and their future business)!

You can help protect your clients! First and foremost, you should refer your clients to an attorney that is familiar with and understands the impact of the new assessment. The very first thing your client’s attorney must do is obtain all assessment and exemption information for the property from the Cook County Assessor. This information provides crucial guidance for advising clients on the right tax credit to cover the 2015 and 2016 taxes. A Seller’s attorney must also be aware of any the changes, because he or she must be able to evaluate a request from a Buyer’s attorney for a larger than typical credit and advise the client accordingly. The issues get even more complicated where an assessment appeal is involved. Suffice to say, it is crucial for an attorney to be aware of and evaluate these issues, in order to pave the way for a smooth transaction.

Arm yourself with information! Undoubtedly, the question of real estate taxes comes up with most, if not all, of your clients before a contract is in place. Many clients may seem fixated on the issue of property taxes, and providing good advice on this issue will instill the client with confidence in your expertise. It is also important to set realistic expectations about this issue. Although having a reliable attorney available to answer difficult questions is an essential resource, you will find it handy to have additional resources on which to rely. The good news is that Cook County provides information online about real estate taxes and assessments that anyone can use!

There are two websites you can consult for information useful for property taxes:

http://www.cookcountyassessor.com

Using the property PIN, you can obtain information about the current assessment, the previous assessment, exemption history and appeal history. If a substantial increase in the assessment is indicated, it is a good clue that the next tax bill will increase similarly. It is also good to know whether there are any exemptions applicable to the property. A senior exemption or freeze will keep the property taxes low and must be evaluated when dealing with property tax credits.  You can use this information to better estimate the right proration for your contract.

http://www.cookcountypropertyinfo.com

This website aggregates information from several Cook County offices and provides a lot of good information for the real estate professional. In particular, the site shows the formula used for calculating the property tax bill for each property (assessment x state equalizer x tax rate – exemptions) and the numbers used for calculating the previous year’s bill. Using this formula, and the previous year’s figures, a relatively accurate estimate of the next tax bill can be determined by inserting replacing last year’s assessment with the new assessment.

As always, you can contact me at patrick@loftus-law.com or 773-632-8330 with any questions on this topic.  To see what my clients have to say about me, please visit me at avvo.com.