Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Loan Modification Scams Spring Up in Schaumburg Area

According to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, the state has seen an increase in solicitations to the general public in the form of direct mail, advertisements and other marketing mediums offering foreclosure-related services. These unsolicited businesses are claiming assistance to struggling homeowners in the form of loan modifications in addition to loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention. These services purportedly provide consumers assistance in the negotiation and resolution of delinquent accounts with lenders in exchange for fees paid upfront. If you or someone you know has been the target of a loan modification scam, contact an Illinois foreclosure attorney right away to protect your rights.

Schaumburg Loan Modification Lawyer

Loan Modification Explained

A loan modification occurs when an underwater homeowner, or the homeowner’s authorized representative, successfully negotiates with the mortgage lender to obtain a permanent change in the terms of the underlying loan resulting in reduced and affordable payments. It is possible that a successful loan modification may reduce the interest rate on a mortgage to as low as two percent, for the life of the loan. Additionally, a loan modification may allow the borrower to add overdue payments to the back end of the modified loan in order to make the loan current. An alternative to foreclosure, if approved, a loan modification helps to keep a homeowner in the property.

How to Avoid Being Scammed

If you or a loved one is facing foreclosure, contact an Illinois foreclosure attorney right away to protect your interests. Some examples of current loan modification scams include mortgage payments to a third party without prior approval of the lender, stating that signing the deed over to a third party will save the home, requiring an upfront fee in exchange for mortgage counseling or modification services, and charging a fee to obtain assistance through the federal Making Home Affordable program.

Should mortgage counseling be of interest, ensure that the agency providing the services is one approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development before conducting any business with the agency. Do not pay money unless you know exactly what services will be provided and clear away from agencies that only accept cashier’s checks or money orders. Beware of “guarantees” promised by anyone assisting in this process as the final decision in approving a loan modification is made by the lender. Moreover, do not sign any paperwork that hasn’t been read – or reviewed by a reputable foreclosure attorney – especially if the documentation relates to transferring title to a third party.

Schaumburg Foreclosure

Contact a Chicago Loan Modification Attorney

If you believe you have been the target of foreclosure fraud, contact an Illinois foreclosure attorney today for advice on your rights. With over 35 years of experience fighting for clients’ property interests, the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm can provide competent and reliable legal assistance to you or a loved one. We service the Chicago area, including Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, Des Plaines, Schaumburg and Streamwood. Call (847) 559-9109 today to schedule your initial consultation.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Illinois Secures Part of $25 Billion National Bank Foreclosure Settlement

The Illinois attorney general, Ms. Lisa Madigan, in conjunction with the Department of Housing & Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Justice and other state attorneys general procured a national settlement agreement with the largest banks in the nation providing $25 billion in aid for homeowners affected by fraudulent mortgage and foreclosure practices. The settlement is the second largest in history obtain through collaborated efforts of state attorneys general, and occurred after months of negotiations and investigations into the questionable lending practices utilized by banks during the real estate boom.

Schaumburg Loan Modification

In addition to providing financial assistance to eligible homeowners, the national settlement also established stringent new rules governing lending servicing standards that are aimed at thwarting abusive practices by lenders in the foreclosure process and complicated procedures homeowners had difficulty navigating when seeking a loan modification.

Relief for Illinois Communities

Attorney general Madigan set aside $70 million in funds from the national settlement to provide housing-related counseling services in addition to community relief efforts for areas most affected by foreclosure burdened with dilapidated neighborhoods filled with vacant and abandoned homes. The funding allocations were determined by a coalition, known as the Attorney General’s Blue Ribbon Advisory Council, of housing and community development experts from state not-for-profits, private and government sectors. Awards were distributed based on housing data relating to foreclosure and vacant homes.

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, taking no action to attempt to save the home may not be the best option. Homeowners facing foreclosure have a limited amount of time to assert rights and actions that may help in keeping the property. There are proactive steps that can be taken when dealing with the stress and personal crisis of losing a home. Some actions that should be taken in these circumstances include:

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- Seeking legal help: the emotions involved with the possible loss of a home can cloud an otherwise logical mind, and it is in your best interests to find an experienced foreclosure attorney to guide you through this difficult time.
- Communicating: contact the mortgage lender and explain the circumstances that led up to falling behind on payments and ask what steps can be taken to bring the loan up to date.
- Weighing the options: alternatives to foreclosure are available and include short sales, deed in lieu of foreclosure and loan modification.
- Protecting the value of the property: it is possible that significant equity exists in the home being foreclosed on and, as such, it is in the homeowner’s best interest to protect this wealth.

Schaumburg Foreclosure Attorney

Legal Help is Available

If you are facing foreclosure of your home, contact an Illinois foreclosure attorney today to learn about your rights and obligations. Don’t navigate this complex process alone. An experienced attorney can help pursue alternatives to foreclosure and help to save your home. With over 35 years of experience fighting for clients’ rights, the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm can provide real estate advice and serves the Chicago area including Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, Des Plaines, and Streamwood. 

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Reasons Why Real Estate Transactions Don't Close

The purchase or sale of real property is an exciting time, however, procuring a signed real estate contract is only half the battle. Once an offer is accepted and a contract is signed, a number of issues may arise that may hinder the ability to close. This time frame between the signed contract and the actual closing is known as the executory period. For this reason, a properly drafted purchase and sale contract along with appropriate representation for all parties involved by experienced real estate attorneys is essential to protect the seller and the buyer during this transaction.

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Obstacles to Closing

The most common issues that arise during the executor period that can cause a real estate closing to fail include:

Contingencies are not met – it is not uncommon for the closing of the contract to be dependent upon the occurrence of events, known as contingencies. If the contingency does not occur within the stated time frame, the transaction can be canceled. The closing may depend upon the buyer obtaining financing, the property appraising for at least the contracted purchase price, the sale of buyer’s property, and a satisfactory inspection report.

Title is clouded – the transfer of interest in real property requires marketable title, meaning the deed to the property must be free and clear from valid claims by outside parties. If title is not clear, the closing cannot occur.

Discoveries found during final walkthrough – it is possible to find the property for purchase in a different condition than when it was first seen and, as such, final walkthroughs are strongly suggested.

Erroneous documentation – simple mistakes in paperwork such as typos including misspelled names, transposed numbers in the property address, incorrect loan or interest amounts and missing documents, are all ways that will halt a closing.

Delay in loan documentssometimes, due to no fault of their own, the parties arrive at the closing at the scheduled time and the loan documents have not arrived. At the least, the closing will be rescheduled unless a “time is of the essence” clause was included in the contract, which may result in cancellation of the sale.

Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm

Chicago Real Estate Attorneys Available

The purchase or sale of a home can be one of the largest transactions during one’s lifetime. Contact an Illinois real estate attorney today if you are considering purchasing or selling a property. Prudent investment in legal fees upfront will save you thousands of dollars in the long run by avoiding legal consequences from mistakes or omissions during the sale. The Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm has over three decades of experience and serves the real estate needs of residents in the communities of Mt. Prospect, Hanover Park, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows and Roselle, among others. 

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Contingencies in an Illinois Home Purchase Real Estate Contract

Buying and selling real estate, especially a home, has always been a big purchase for most Americans. This is especially true with Illinois home prices rising and inventory tightening. A properly drafted real estate purchase contract and proper legal representation can protect both the home buyer and seller.

Chicagoland Residential Real Estate Offers To Purchase

Recent reports indicate that Illinois home prices are continuing to increase but home sales are down almost 11 percent compared to a year ago. In the nine-county Chicagoland area, home sales were down almost 10 percent due to low inventory.  In Illinois, buyers who wish to purchase real estate make a written offer using a real estate purchase contract. The real estate purchase contract must include a description of the property, all of the fixtures and personal property included with the sale, any warranties, and the purchase price.

The real estate offer to purchase also may include contingency clauses (or contingencies for short), which outline actions must be met in order for a real estate contract to be binding. If contingency conditions are not satisfied within the time frame specified, then the sale becomes void, unless the contingency is waived by the party who benefits from the contingency.

Chicago Real Estate
Purchase Contract Contingencies
Purchase contract contingencies must be satisfied within certain time frames in order for the sale to go through. Contingencies protect a buyer from major issues or concerns. However, the seller can require that the contingencies be completed or dealt with within certain time parameters. Therefore, assuming both the buyer and the seller are interested in completing the sale, it is important to keep track of when and how any contingencies must be satisfied.

Four of the most common contingencies include—
The most common contingency clause is a financing clause. The clause makes the offer conditional on the buyer being able to secure a mortgage for the amount and terms specified in the offer, including interest rate, as well as the type and duration of loan (i.e., 30 year fixed).

An appraisal contingency is used to make sure that the real estate property appraises, or is valued at, a minimum, specified amount. If the property appraises at an amount less than the specified amount, the buyer can terminate the real estate purchase contract. Typically, the buyer may waive the contingency if he or she wishes to proceed with the sale despite a low appraisal value. Generally, if a buyer fails to notify the seller that the property did not appraise at the required value by the time specified, the contingency is deemed satisfied and the buyer cannot use the appraisal to back out of the deal.
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Sale Of Buyer’s Property
Buyers sometimes make the purchase of a new real estate property contingent on the sale the buyer’s current residence. This contingency is often used if the buyer needs proceeds from the sale of his or her current residence in order to have sufficient funds to close on the new property.

An offer to purchase that is based on the sale of the buyer’s property is a weaker offer to the seller and may cause the seller to reject an offer to purchase, especially when housing inventories are low. A seller may also counter with a “kick-out” clause, which allows the seller to accept the buyer’s offer but also continue to market the property. If the seller finds another qualified buyer, the seller can then give the first buyer a specified amount of time to remove the contingency clause in order to keep the original purchase contract alive, otherwise the seller can sell to the new buyer.

An inspection contingency gives the buyer the right to have the real estate inspected within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted. Depending on the terms of the condition, the buyer typically has two options in the event of an unsatisfactory inspection: (1) cancel the contract and demand that the earnest money deposit be returned; or (2) notify the seller within a specified amount of time regarding the concerns revealed in the inspection and give the seller the option of making repairs or offering to reduce the purchase price, depending on the issues and wording of the contingency.

Chicago Real Estate Lawyers

Buying and selling a home is a big deal. It is important to make sure that you have someone on your side, representing your interests. At the Law Offices of Gilbert C. Schumm, we have over 35 years of experience representing clients in Schaumburg, Illinois and the surrounding area, including Chicago, Arlington Heights and Palatine.  If you are in Cook, Du Page or Will County please call us for a free consultation at (847) 559-9109.

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