Everything you should know about your Kane County Tax Bill

Everything you should know about your Kane County Tax Bill

When it comes to issues with local real estate, one of the hardest things for people to understand is the property tax billing process. In Illinois, our property tax bills are billed in arrears. For instance, if you owned property in the year 2016, you will be paying the real estate tax bill for 2016 in 2017. Whenever I am with my clients at the closing table, I understand this is one of the most confusing aspects of the transaction, and I make sure to explain and answer every question regarding the property taxes. When I am reviewing real estate closing statements prepared by other attorneys, the real estate tax proration is the biggest mistake I find. If you do not have an attorney who handles real estate transactions regularly, it can cost you. How does the county figure the value of your property? The Illinois state property tax code requires that your property-assessed value should be about one-third fair market value of the property (based on sales from the previous three years of surrounding properties). What can you do to lower your tax bill? There are a few exemptions that are available if the property is the principal residence of the owner. Available exemptions include: General Homestead Exemption, Senior Citizen Exemption, Senior Citizen Freeze, Home Improvement Exemption, Persons with Disabilities Exemption, Veterans with Disabilities Exemption, and Returning Veterans Exemption. Each exemption has its own qualifications so please visit KaneCountyAssessments.org/exemptions.htm for further information. Need a copy of your tax bill? Visit KaneCountyTreasurer.org How can you pay your tax bill? Most individuals have their tax payments rolled into their mortgage...
Top five reasons why your real estate appraisal could come in low.

Top five reasons why your real estate appraisal could come in low.

If you are in the process of buying a home, I am sure there are a lot of unanswered questions you have. One such question is: will the home appraise out? Everyone on both sides of the transaction wants the home to appraise out for what was offered on the contract, but what happens when it doesn’t appraise out? There are ways to deal with a low appraisal – but only if you know why it happened.   Below are the top five reasons why a home might not appraise out. There isn’t enough data on sales of similar homes in the neighborhood. If the home is in an area where the house might be one of a kind or has different features of other houses, the appraiser might have to have a larger search area to find similar houses that have sold in the last six months. If that is the case, the appraiser is comparing different neighborhoods as well, which could be a huge factor. Does the home have a large beautiful basement? Unfortunately, appraisers use much lower to value per square foot for space below ground. Although this might be a big selling point, in the eyes of the appraiser it could be different. A pool or professionally landscaping are attractive features, but they don’t lead to a much higher valuation on appraisals. Although these homes will have a slightly higher price tag than a home without those features, it won’t be worth what the actually cost of them to be put in is. Home prices in the area are increasing so quickly the comps are not...
Top Five Provisions to check before signing a Real Estate Contract!!!

Top Five Provisions to check before signing a Real Estate Contract!!!

When the time comes for you to sell your home it may seem like a very daunting process. If you are using a realtor, he or she should have the contract properly filled out before you sign anything (if you are not using a realtor, I can make sure the contract is filled out correctly for you). However, the contract is a 13 page document that you have never seen before and with which you are not familiar. What should you check before signing it? Below are the top five provisions you should review before signing your real estate contract: FIVE PROVISIONS TO CHECK BEFORE SIGNING A CONTRACT Purchase price Personal property to be transferred Real estate tax proration Plat of survey inspections Closing cost credits, if any If you review those five specific provisions and all five of them seem correct, you are safe to go ahead and sign the contract. If the seller accepts it by signing it, forward the fully signed contract to your real estate attorney as quickly as possible. There is a short time period during which your attorney can propose changes to any of the provisions that may be incorrect in the contract. This is called the attorney review period. Don’t worry if you feel this is too daunting a process to handle yourself, let us become the law firm that you know, like, and trust by handling it for you. Your time is just as important as mine, that is why all meetings are by appointment only at either one of my convenient office locations: 200 West Main Street, St. Charles, Illinois...
Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

A lot of people are attracted to the comfort of buying a brand new home. The homebuilder makes it so easy now. You get to pick the land and customize the house just the way you want it. They may even make the sale offer extra enticing with additional “discounts” if you use their lender and title insurance company. When you have all the necessary components in front of you, some buyers may feel wrapped in a fake blanket of security. So, the question is, do you need an attorney when buying new construction? The simplest answer depends on how much you trust the title insurance company and lender. When purchasing a new construction home without an attorney, on closing day, you will go to the title office, sit down, and a title agent will place a large stack of papers in front of you. The title agent may tell you where to sign your name on each legal document, but she is not required to and will most likely not explain the documents. Once you sign all the documents, she will send them to your lender for approval. No one there will double-check the transfer documents i.e. deed and HUD form, to make sure they are correct. On more than one occasion, I have found a dollar error made by either the title insurance company or lender in favor of my client. If I weren’t there, the client would have been out that money. In those instances, the error that I found and corrected amounted to more than my attorney fee . So, how much do you really...
What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

When you are buying real estate you have to sign a contract. Once the contract is signed by the seller time becomes of the essence. People believe that once you sign a real estate contract, everything in the contract is final. That is not true. Although I tell my clients to let me know before they sign a contact, the fact of the matter is, once you sign a real estate contract an attorney has five business days for a “review period” and to propose modifications. During the review period the attorney reviews the contract, makes sure all the appropriate signatures and initials are in the proper places, and verifies the contract states what was intended. If the contract does not state what you wanted, it may be cancelled. Also, during this time period, you (the buyer) should get an inspection on the real estate. Once we have the inspection report, we will review the inspection and use that report to ask the seller to fix any items that are covered. If you are unable to get an inspector out within five days, I am able to ask for an extension of the review period. As long as you have something scheduled, asking for an extension should not be a problem. In summary, once you sign a real estate contract you still have time to change the contract if you are within the attorney review period. When considering whether to sign a contract, please get a copy over to my office as soon as possible....
What you need to know to refinance a home if the home is in a trust

What you need to know to refinance a home if the home is in a trust

With mortgage rates still around historic lows, I have had a few clients this past year where banks have given them trouble when trying to refinance their mortgage on property in a trust. The situation usually goes like this: the client’s home is in a revocable trust for estate planning purposes and they want to refinance their existing mortgage. The bank says they will not refinance the mortgage unless the house comes out of the trust. So, what should they do? The easiest and cheapest thing that I would do for my client is draft a quit claim deed transferring the client’s property out of the trust back into their name individually. The client can take that deed back to the bank and continue the refinance process. The bank will record the deed as part of the refinance transaction. Once all of that has transpired and the new mortgage recorded, I can draft another quit claim deed transferring the property back into the trust. Now, this might seem like a headache, but for the small cost of the deeds and recording fees vs. the benefits of a lower interest rate and the long term estate planning, it makes sense. Too complete both deeds, it would only cost a couple of hundred dollars. For that price, you would receive the benefit of the lower interest rate (after you refinance) and you will still get the benefits of having your real estate owned by your trust (once I complete the second deed). If you are thinking about refinancing and your home is owned by your trust, contact me for help....