1031 TAX DEFERRED EXCHANGES
APPOINTMENT OF HEALTH CARE AGENT
Whether you are Buying, Selling or Refinancing your home I want to be your Real Estate Attorney. I have conducted hundreds of real estate closings and I have the experience to help you achieve your real estate goals. I take the time to get to know each client individually - listening to your specific needs and wishes - and I will be with you every step of the way, from the moment you decide to buy, sell or refinance to the final signing of papers.
I can also assist you in For Sale by Owner, Foreclosure Defense, Loan Modifications, Short Sales, Reverse Mortgages, I.R.C. §1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges, Landlord/Tenant Issues and Evictions.
Call me today at (203) 631-6207 for a free one hour consultation.
© 2009 - 2013 Wendy S. Thomson, Attorney at Law. All Rights Reserved.
All information in this website is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only.
It should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationship is established by virtue of visiting this site.
Practice limited to Connecticut cases.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
After you have met with your attorney, the next step in buying your new home is to find a real estate agent you feel comfortable working with. The agent will ask you to sign a contract, often called a Buyer Broker Agreement or Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer Agreement. You should read this Agreement carefully before you sign it because it will obligate you to do certain things. Often the Agreement will contain your promise that the agent will receive a certain percentage of the purchase price of your new home, called the commission. In addition, many Agreements require you to pay a fee to the agent at the closing, ofter called an "administrative" or "transaction" fee. I would be happy to review this Agreement with you to make sure you understand all of its terms prior to signing.
Once you have found the home you want to purchase, the next step is to make an offer. Your real estate agent will provide a standard Board of Realtors Purchase and Sale Agreement form which can be used for your offer. It allows you to enter all of your offer information, including the purchase price, deposit amount, mortgage information, inspections to be performed and closing date. You should pay close attention to all dates entered on the offer as these are deadlines you must meet or risk losing your deposit. Make sure these dates are realistic. I would be happy to review this offer with you to make sure it reflects your intent prior to signing. Your real estate agent will then submit your offer to the seller's agent and the seller will either accept your offer, reject it or make a counteroffer. If the seller accepts your offer, he or she will sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement. It then becomes a binding contract and both you and the seller become obligated to comply with all of its terms and conditions. If the seller makes a counteroffer, he or she will change some of the terms of your offer, initial his or her changes and sign the Agreement form. You then have the option of accepting the seller's changes, rejecting the counteroffer or making your own counteroffer. If you accept, you must initial all of the changes and the Agreement will then become a binding contract. If you make a counteroffer, you make your changes to the Agreement, initial your changes and all of the seller's changes with which you agree, and your agent will resubmit your offer to the seller. Once you and the seller agree to all the terms and conditions on the Agreement and have initialed all changes the Agreement becomes a binding contract.
You have many options when selecting your lender. You may choose to work directly with a bank or other mortgage lender, or you may choose to engage the services of a mortgage broker to find the best lender and loan for your situation. Whichever you choose, I will work closely with your lender or broker to ensure that all documents they require are provided quickly and accurately. You should also be diligent in providing all required documentation to your lender so as not to delay your closing. I am always available to review any documents you receive from your lender in order to make sure that you understand and agree with the terms of your loan.
Once your lender has received and reviewed all necessary documentation, they will notify me that your loan is "clear to close". I will then schedule the closing with you, your real estate agent and the seller's attorney. I will do my best to schedule a day and time that is convenient for you, but keep in mind that we must also accommodate the seller's attorney and the seller. At your closing you will be asked to sign numerous documents required by your lender, including your Note and Mortgage. I will review each document with you to make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your loan. During our review of these documents you should feel free to ask me any questions you may have to help you better understand the documents you are signing. When we have finished with your loan documents, the seller and his or her attorney will join us to turn over your Deed and conclude your closing.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
After you have met with your attorney, the next step in selling your home is to find a real estate agent with whom you feel comfortable working. It is in your best interest to interview several agents to ascertain which agent will do the best job for you. The agent should provide you with a market analysis showing list and sales prices of similar homes in your neighborhood so that you may set a reasonable listing price for your home. Find out how your agent intends to market your property and make sure your agent is aware of your expected time frame for a sale. The agent will ask you to sign a contract, called a Listing Agreement. You should read this Agreement carefully before you sign it because it will obligate you to do certain things. The Agreement will contain your promise that the agent will receive a certain percentage of the purchase price of your home, called the commission. It will also state your listing price as well as the duration of the Agreement. Most real estate agents expect a commission of five or six percent and it is normal for the Agreement to remain in effect for six months to one year. You may negotiate these details with your agent. In addition, many Agreements require you to pay a fee to the agent at the closing, ofter called an "administrative" or "transaction" fee. This fee is also something you may negotiate. I would be happy to review this Agreement with you to make sure you understand all of its terms prior to signing.
A buyer who wants to purchase your home will normally use a standard Board of Realtors Purchase and Sale Agreement form in which they will enter all of their offer information, including the purchase price, deposit amount, mortgage information, inspections to be performed and closing date. Your real estate agent will present this written offer to you for your review. You should read this offer carefully before you decide whether to accept the offer, reject it or make a counteroffer. I would be happy to review this offer with you to assist you in making your decision. If you accept the offer, you will sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement. It then becomes a binding contract and both you and the buyer become obligated to comply with all of its terms and conditions. If you decide to make a counteroffer, you will change some of the terms of the buyer's offer, initial your changes and sign the Agreement form. The buyer then has the option of accepting your changes, rejecting the counteroffer or making their own counteroffer. If the buyer accepts your counteroffer, he or she will initial all of the changes and the Agreement will then become a binding contract. If the buyer makes a counteroffer, he or she will make their changes to the Agreement, initial their changes and all of your changes with which they agree, and your agent will present you with the buyer's counteroffer. Once you and the buyer agree to all the terms and conditions on the Agreement and have initialed all changes the Agreement becomes a binding contract.
Preparing for Your Closing
When the buyer's lender is ready to close the loan they will notify the buyer's attorney. We will then schedule the closing with you, your real estate agent and the buyer's attorney. I will do my best to schedule a day and time that is convenient for you, but keep in mind that we must also accomodate the buyer's attorney and the buyer. The closing will normally take place at the buyer's attorney's office. Once you arrive at the closing the buyers should already have signed their loan documents. I will review the HUD-1 Settlement Statement with you to make sure you understand all of the adjustments and expenses associated with your sale. You will be asked to sign several documents including the Deed, a State of Connecticut Real Estate Conveyance Tax Form, an Owner's Affidavit regarding the title conditions of the property and IRS tax documents. I will review each document with you to make sure you understand what you are signing. During our review of these documents you should feel free to ask me any questions you may have. We will then give these original documents and your keys to the buyer's attorney and you will receive your proceeds check. After your closing I will immediately forward your mortgage payoff to your lender.
Prior to your closing I will ask you for information regarding your mortgages and home equity lines of credit. I will have you sign a form authorizing me to obtain payoff information from your lender and I will contact your lender to obtain a payoff statement. You should tell me if you know of any other liens on your property, such as judgment liens or lis pendens. You should also tell me if you know of any other title issues such as if your taxes or water and sewer charges are delinquent or if your condominium dues are in arrears. I will need this information as soon as possible so that I may take the appropriate measures to ensure you are able to deliver clear title to the buyer when you close. Once the buyer receives mortgage commitment his or her attorney will conduct a title search regarding your property. The title search will confirm that you own the property and will show any liens or encumbrances. Occasionally the title search will show a lien or other title issue of which you were not aware. In such a case, I will work with you to resolve the issue and clear your title. A few days prior to your closing you should ask your oil company to read your oil tank and provide a statement of the value of the oil left in the tank so that you can be reimbursed by the buyer at the closing. Depending on the custom in your town a water reading may also need to be done. If so, I will order the water reading and advise you of the day and time if the town requires access inside your home.
I accept pro bono cases that have been pre-qualified through legal aid agencies within the state of Connecticut. If you believe you may qualify for pro bono legal services, please contact one of the agencies listed at the bottom of my "Links" page.
FHA loans with case numbers assigned on or after June 3, 2013 with LTV's greater than 90 percent will be assessed MIP for the first 30 years of the loan regardless of the equity established in the home. To get a case number before the deadline borrowers should be contacting their lenders now. Contact me at (203) 631-6207 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a Free One-Hour Consultation to learn more.
New FHA Mortgage
Insurance (MIP) Rules
If you choose to sell your house on your own, I can prepare your Purchase and Sale Agreement, provide you with the required disclosure forms, and make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities as a seller. If you are purchasing a home directly from a seller I can review the Purchase and Sale Agreement provided by the seller and make sure the seller complies with all the legal requirements of the sale.
If you are selling your home but owe more money on your mortgage than your home is worth you may need to ask your lender to approve a short sale. Your lender will review the buyer's offer and will ask you to provide certain financial documentation and a "hardship letter" explaining the reason you cannot pay your mortgage in full. They will then order a broker price opinion (BPO) or appraisal of your home to get a third party opinion of its value. Once they have all the required information they will either accept the buyer's offer, make a counteroffer, or reject the offer. The negotiation of a short sale is a complex matter and can take several months. I will work directly with your lender to ensure they receive all required documentation as quickly as possible and I will follow up on the status of your application regularly. I will carefully review your lender's short sale approval letter to ensure that you fully understand all of its terms. It is important that you also work with a real estate agent who has experience in short sales so that they can effectively market your home and ensure that your buyer's agent understands the procedure and time frame.
If you are unable to make your mortgage payments you may quickly find yourself in foreclosure. Some lenders file foreclosure actions after only two missed payments. Once you have been served with the Complaint it is important that you do not delay in filing your Appearance or retaining an attorney. Your lender will move the case quickly if you do not offer any defense. The State of Connecticut provides a Foreclosure Mediation Program but you must file a Foreclosure Mediation Certificate within 15 days of your Return Date in order to participate. If retained, I will diligently represent you in the Mediation Program and will work with your lender to try to negotiate a modification of your loan so that you may remain in your home. I will also review your original loan documents to look for any viable defenses.
If you are 62 years of age or older, own your home with substantial equity and want to supplement your income you may benefit from a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is a government backed loan that pays you out of your home equity while allowing you to remain in your home. You can receive regular monthly payments, a lump sum payment, an equity line of credit or a combination of these three payment options. The closing costs can be financed into the loan so you will not be required to bring any money to your closing. You do not make monthly mortgage payments to payoff this loan, it must be paid off only after you are no longer living in your home. You can never be foreclosed or forced to vacate your home and you are not personally liable for the amount of the loan.
Under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code real estate investors can defer capital gains taxes when they sell a qualified investment property and purchase another similar qualified investment property within a specified timeframe. You must identify the property you are selling as a Section 1031 property BEFORE you finalize the sale. I can handle the coordination of these two transactions so that they fully comply with the Code and allow you to legally defer any capital gains taxes that would otherwise be realized.