Monday, February 16, 2015

Foreclosure Rates Drop, But Empty Chicago Homes Remain

According to recent data, foreclosure rates are dropping nationwide. Despite this news, the time it takes for a property to be foreclosed upon and then clear the market is taking longer. According to a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, the longest foreclosure process in the country takes place in Chicago, where it takes almost 2 ½ years from initial filing of a foreclosure through the auction of the home. Part of the reason for the delay, the article notes, is the large backlog of foreclosure cases still going through the Illinois court system.

Foreclosure Defense

The law allows for several strategies to defend against foreclosure. One strategy involves seeking an alternative to the foreclosure process. Some alternatives to foreclosure include deed in lieu of foreclosure, short sales, and loan modifications. Each case is different and, therefore, an experienced and aggressive foreclosure defense attorney should be retained. Don’t take the risk of trying to protect your home without qualified assistance. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact an experienced Illinois foreclosure defense attorney right away.

Another strategy involves finding out whether or not you’ve been a victim of fraud. During the economic recession, thousands upon thousands of homeowners in America lost their properties to banks and service companies who were “robo-signing” foreclosures. Due to a prevalence of individuals with little to no training in the field, documents were rushed through the foreclosure process with false signatures, inaccurate information, and minimal (if any) document review.

Still, another strategy used in foreclosure defense is challenging the bank’s right to retake ownership of the property. Before a lender can foreclose on a residence, they must be in possession of certain items relating to the loan. Specifically, the bank must present the original note to the court. Because of the mortgage-backed securities market, many loans were sliced into multiple parts and resold to third parties as investment opportunities. As a result, many notes were separated from the actual loans.

We Are Here to Help

An experienced Illinois foreclosure defense attorney can provide a homeowner with legal advice on rights and obligations relating to the property at issue and find options still available under the law. Contact the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm for help with foreclosure defense. Our firm services clients in Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Hoffman Estates, and Hanover Park areas. With over 35 years of experience, our firm’s attorneys will be adamant in protecting your rights during the foreclosure process. Contact (847) 559-9109 to schedule your initial consultation.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some Chicago Wrigley Rooftop Owners Facing Foreclosure

Shortly after the dust settled from the recent destruction of the bleachers in Wrigley Field, the second oldest baseball stadium in the majors began to experience even more threats. Some of the stadium’s iconic rooftops are now facing foreclosure. Allegedly owing more than $36 million in back payments of principal, interests and fees, the owners of these famous Sheffield Avenue properties were sued in federal court recently, according to a Chicago Curbed report. Facing foreclosure can be a traumatizing time in the life of anyone. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact a Hanover Park foreclosure defense attorney today to learn about your rights and obligations under the law.

Market Slowly Improving

According to a study conducted by Progress Illinois, Chicago’s six-county region reported foreclosure rates that were comparable to pre-recession levels. Foreclosure filings, the first step in the foreclosure process, dropped 38 percent in the first half of 2014 when compared to the previous year. The final step in the foreclosure process, the foreclosure auction, did not see this downward trend.

Numerous cities across the nation, including Chicago, are still suffering neighborhood plight as a result of the backlog of foreclosures on the judicial system’s docket. In 2013, Illinois ranked third in the nation in foreclosure rankings behind Florida and California. Several years after the real estate market bubble burst, approximately 18,000 homes still sit vacant in Chicago. In fact, 18.1 percent of residential homes in the Englewood neighborhood remained unoccupied for more than two years, according to a study conducted by DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies.

Banks Still Use Predatory Lending

Lenders and mortgage servicers, who have had a history of questionable business practices in the past, are once again being exposed for unfair lending. Chicago’s own Cook County recently filed suit in federal court, accusing Wells Fargo of predatory lending, according to a Bloomberg report. This legal action is not the first in the nation, as municipalities in Miami and Los Angeles filed similar suits earlier in 2014. Cook County seeks $300 million in money damages as well as a court order demanding the bank stop its predatory lending practices. Most recently, Bank of America reached a multi-million dollar settlement with U.S. regulators regarding allegations of wrongdoing in mortgage lending.

Hanover Park Foreclosure Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, or may be participating in any other type of real estate transaction, contact a Hanover Park foreclosure defense attorney today to find out your rights and obligations during this process. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm have more than 35 years of legal experience providing guidance. Contact the firm today at (847) 559 – 9109 to schedule your initial consultation.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

All About Short Sales

Despite the slow upswing of the national economy, one in every 789 housing units in Illinois received a foreclosure filing in 2014, according to an article published by While the national average of struggling homeowners is much higher, at one in every 1,232, Illinois still ranks in the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates. Underwater borrowers have alternative options to foreclosure, including a short sale of their home, which involves a sale of the property for less than the balance owed. Nevertheless, consumers should consider all the options and contact an experienced Arlington Heights short sale attorney before moving forward with any decisions.

Disadvantages of a Short Sale

A short sale can be beneficial to both buyer and seller. The former homeowner is able to avoid the foreclosure process, and the buyer is able to find a home well below the market value that is likely not distressed. Nevertheless, short sales are not always a saving grace and not for everyone; below are a few issues that should be considered before moving forward with this alternative to foreclosure.

·           Short sale does not equal spared credit – contrary to popular belief, a short sale isn’t necessarily better when it comes to affecting credit scores. In fact, it shows up as “not paid as agreed” on a person’s credit score, just like foreclosures and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosures, according to MyFICO, a consumer credit reporting website.
·           Even after a short sale, a seller may owe the bank  - known as a “deficiency judgment”, short sales do not necessarily automatically cancel the remaining balance owed on the loan from the bank.
·           If the balance is forgiven, a borrower may owe taxes – the government may consider any amount remaining on the loan by the lender income and, consequently, require payment of state and/or federal income tax. Federal law may allow the exclusion of the amount forgiven in a short sale, but only if specific requirements are met.
·           Other options are available  - short sales often require a lengthy approval process and much sweat equity without a guarantee that the sale will go through. Sellers should consider other foreclosure alternatives such as loan modification, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, and/or refinancing, before embarking on the short sale process.
·           Short sale approval can be difficult – if there is a second (or third) mortgage on the property being sold, the loan is covered by insurance, and/or other creditors hold liens on the property, approval will likely be needed for all properties prior to short sale approval.

Short Sale Help in Arlington Heights

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure and considering a short sale as a viable option, contact an experienced and knowledgeable Arlington Heights short sale attorney to learn more about whether or not a short sale is the best alternative. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm have over three decades of experience counseling homeowners in the greater Chicago area, including Arlington Heights, Palatine, Mt. Prospect and Hoffman Estates. Don’t face foreclosure alone. Call (847) 559 – 9109 today to schedule your initial consultation. 

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SunTrust Reaches $320 Million Settlement for Delayed Loan Modifications

Earlier this year, SunTrust Banks and federal prosecutors reached a settlement agreement after an investigation into the bank servicing practices found chronic delays in approving loan modifications, according to an article published in the New York Times. The almost $320 million SunTrust bank will be required to pay will go toward housing counseling services, as well as consumer relief. Thousands of consumers may be affected by this negotiation settlement. If you or someone you know is struggling to keep up with mortgage payments, contact a Mt. Prospect loan modification attorney today for an initial consultation on your rights and obligations.

Home Affordable Modification Program

The time-intensive investigation conducted by federal prosecutors and investigators from several branches of the federal government found that Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank delayed processing applications of struggling homeowners; additionally, SunTrust Bank was found to have made misrepresentations to financially strapped owners seeking loan modification. Just like other large banks in the United States, SunTrust Bank was issuing modifications through the government’s Making Home Affordable Program (MHAP). MHAP was designed to keep underwater homeowners from losing their real estate by modifying the terms of the original loan.

Details of the settlement agreement are specific and targeted at numerous issues including restitution, education, and government refund. Particular details of the settlement include SunTrust providing between $179 million and $274 million in consumer restitution, $20 million being placed in a fund dedicated to distributing dollars to organizations that provide housing counseling services for consumers, a $10 million payment being made to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $16 million being forfeited to the Treasury Department. According to the government, of the approximately 26,000 borrowers who applied to SunTrust for a loan modification, thousands will be eligible for relief.

In response to the settlement, SunTrust Bank conceded to deficiencies in administering the federal loan modification program and assured the public it has implemented changes that will improve efficiency and transparency.

We Are Here to Help

Loan modification is complicated. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact a Mt. Prospect real estate attorney today to learn about your rights and obligations during the loan modification process. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm have decades of experience providing legal guidance in all types of real estate transactions. Contact the firm today at (847) 559-9109 to schedule your initial consultation.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Hanover Park Real Estate: Types of Property Deeds and How They Differ

All real estate transactions for the purchase or sale of property require a conveyance of title, which is facilitated through the valid execution of a deed. A deed is a legal document that transfers some property right in real estate. Three major types of deeds are often used in real estate transactions to convey title, or ownership of the property, although other types of deeds exist. Those commonly used in real estate contracts include the general warranty deed, special warranty deed, and quitclaim deed. Each deed contains some or all of the covenants, or promises, connected with the subject real estate, which are passed from the previous owner (grantor) to the new owner (grantee) of the property.

Deed Covenants

There are covenants, or warranties, that a grantor /seller may convey to a grantee/buyer in a real estate transaction, depending on the type of deed that is used to transfer title. A grantor who conveys property is legally bound by the warranties of title, whether expressly written on the deed or implied by law, and a buyer may have recourse if a breach occurs.

  • Covenant of seisin – a grantor warrants having possession (seisin) of the property and, therefore, has the legal right to convey the real estate to another.
  • Covenant against encumbrances – a grantor warrants the real estate, unless specifically stated otherwise in the deed, is free of any liens or encumbrances.
  • Covenant of conveyance – this is a promise by the grantor that he or she has the right to convey, or transfer, the title property.
  • Further assurances – a grantor promises to deliver any and all documents or instruments necessary to convey good title.
  • Covenant of quiet enjoyment – the grantor promises to protect the grantee in the event a disturbance occurs with the buyer’s right to possess or use the property.
  • Covenant of warranty – this promise is a covenant not only to defend the grantee’s mere right of possession to the land, but also the land itself and the estate within it.

General Warranty Deed

A general warranty deed is the highest caliber of deeds a buyer can receive because it contains all of the present and future covenants. Even more, the covenants contained in a general warranty deed cover not only the period during which the present seller held title to the property, but these covenants go back to the origin of the property itself. Consequently, the present seller would be liable for any defects in title before and through owners of the property.

Special Warranty Deed

The second best type of deed a buyer can receive, a special warranty deed contains the covenant of seisin and the covenant against encumbrances. The main difference between a general and a special warranty deed is that in the latter the seller only warrants against any acts or omissions that occurred while holding title. In other words, no issues in the title are warranted against prior to the seller taking ownership of the property.

Quitclaim Deed

Offering the least protection for the buyer, a quitclaim deed only conveys the rights and interest the grantor has in the property and nothing else. No warranties or covenants are provided to the buyer and, as a result, the seller is not liable for any issues that may arise regarding title. More often than not, quit claim deeds are used to cure defects in title and can be seen in property transfers between family members.

Contact a Hanover Park Real Estate Attorney

The purchase and/or sale of real estate is an important decision and often one of the largest transactions in one’s lifetime. As such, both the buyer’s and seller’s interest should be protected during all stages of a transaction. If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing property, contact a Hanover Park real estate attorney today to learn about rights and obligations associated with real property. The Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm has provided legal advice to clients regarding real estate for over 35 years and services the areas of greater Chicago including Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Heights and Roselle, among others. Call (847) 559-9109 today to schedule your initial consultation.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Most Common Mistakes When Buying an Arlington Heights Short Sale

Despite the upturn in the real estate market, non-foreclosure short sales increased four percent in 2012. Banking regulations have tightened as a result of the lax lending during the real estate boom, however, buyers are still able to get financing if they can qualify. Even more, short sales and foreclosures are still available for purchase if a potential buyer can navigate through the complex process of buying a distressed property.

Top Mistakes Buyers Make

Understanding the short sale process, which can be complicated, and what you are getting into as a buyer will help you to avoid making a bad investment.

  • Forgoing a home inspection – a home inspection should be done by a potential buyer whenever purchasing any type of property, whether distressed or not. Not only does this inspection reveal potential issues with the property but may also provide negotiating leverage when making the offer.
  • Ignoring legal issues associated with the property – a typical home purchase includes a disclosure statement revealing unpermitted renovations or other legal issues associated with the home; however, because bank-owned properties often sell “as-is” a potential buyer needs to conduct his due diligence before entering into a purchase contract.
  • Not investigating the neighborhood – looking around the area and talking to neighbors brings added value that cannot be found through a real estate listing.
  • Falling for the property without considering the numbers – a buyer may believe he or she may have found an incredible bargain, however, other factors should be taken into consideration when falling for a home including needed repairs and latent defects in the home not readily visible from the onset.
  • Not accounting for delays – short sales often take longer than traditional sales because of backlog of homes, lien issues or other problems with the property.
  • Not writing contingencies into the offer – although a buyer may want to bring their best offer forward, including contingencies (such as financing or satisfactory inspection) will help protect a buyer’s earnest money deposit should the deal not go through.

The purchase of a home, short sale or not, can be complicated. It is important for both buyers and sellers to obtain legal representation to ensure the rights and obligations of all parties are protected.

Arlington Heights Real Estate Attorneys Available

If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing a short sale property, or any other type of real estate, contact an Arlington Heights real estate attorney today to find out your rights and obligations during this process. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm have decades of experience providing legal guidance in all types of real estate transactions. Contact the firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Waiting Game: Schaumburg Short Sales Approvals

If you are in the market for purchasing a home, you may have looked into distressed properties as a way to get a bargain. It is important to keep in mind that timeline in purchasing these types of properties can be lengthy. Short sale buyers need to realize that the particulars of every case are different. That being said, below are a couple of factors that a potential buyer should think about and possibly do to ensure a smoother process.

Things to Consider

Whether buying or selling a short sale, the process can be complicated. Consider these tips before making any final decisions.

·           Qualify first, and then make an offer – at the minimum, a pre-qualification letter should accompany all offers; having financing in place makes you a better candidate, especially when multiple offers are involved.
·           Use an Agent Experienced with Short Sales – whether you are the buyer or the seller of a short sale property, experience is key. There are numerous issues that can delay – or derail – the process.
·           Your Agent Should Conduct Due Diligence – matters for consideration for a buyer include comparable sales, the number of offers received, and whether the seller’s short sale package is complete.
·           Patience is a virtue – how quickly (or slowly) a short sale will close will depend on the lender involved. That being said, the process can take as much as 120 days.
·           Part of the Process is Out of Your Control – factors that may delay the process include the involvement of a third-party negotiator, infrastructure issues of the bank, or a significant discrepancy between the appraisal and your offer.

Legal advice should be sought when considering purchasing or selling a short sale property. Aside from the complicated proceeding involved, tax implications – as well as other legal matters – should be discussed with an attorney prior to making any decisions.

Contact a Schaumburg Attorney for Guidance

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, contact an experienced Chicago foreclosure attorney for advice on the best way in which to proceed. A home is the biggest investment during one’s lifetime; don’t navigate the complex avenues of foreclosure alone. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm have decades of experience in real estate law and can guide you every step of the way. We serve clients in Palatine. Call (847) 559-9109 today to schedule your initial consultation.

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