December 21, 2016
As we approach the New Year I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit the pitfalls surrounding real estate tax pro-rations.
The commonly used Purchase Agreement provides that taxes will be prorated on the last certified tax amount. As a closing agent, we are bound to complete the transaction on those terms. This does not always result in a fair pro-ration between the parties and can have an adverse effect on tax escrow calculations.
The amount of the 2016 pay in 2017 taxes will not be known until mid-March when those taxes are certified. Tax pro-rations for closings that take place between January 1, 2017 and mid-March will be based upon the 2015 pay in 2016 taxes. It is possible that those taxes will not correctly reflect significant increases in the assessed valuation or the status of homestead and other exemptions.
Transactions especially prone to these circumstances include new construction, sales from an estate, sales of bank owned property and sales where the sellers have relocated and no longer live in the property. After the purchase agreement is accepted, it is difficult to address these problems.
These risks are best addressed when the parties first enter into the Purchase Agreement. Current information can be requested from the Auditor for exemptions or the Assessor for valuations so that the offer accurately reflects the situation. Compounding the problem is the fact that the Property Record Card and the County’s GIS system inconsistently reflect changes to exemptions and valuations. And, the County has no protocol for recording the date that changes are made to the records.
During November, our closing team completed seller-side closing statements two or more day prior to settlement in 86% of our transactions. And during November our title team averaged 3.75 days to produce a title commitment.
Finally, thanks to all our clients for continuing to trust us to help you with your transactions during 2016! We had a spectacular year and are looking forward to more of the same in 2017. Best wishes to all for a terrific holiday season and New Year!
~ John Bethell
Options for holding title:
As a result of recent questions that we’ve received, we thought it would be beneficial to summarize for you options for holding title to real estate.
The three options are
- Tenants by the Entireties
- Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
- Tenants in Common
Tenant by the Entireties is available only to married couples. Besides affording survivorship rights, it is unique in that judgment liens and state tax warrants against one spouse do not attached as liens against property held jointly in this manner.
Legally married same-sex married couples have all of the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities as other married persons under Indiana law. Therefore, for the purpose of holding title to real estate all married couples enjoy the same options, including tenants by the entireties, whether they are opposite-sex or same-sex.
Joint tenancy is available to all people holding title to real estate without regard to marital status. Upon death, a joint tenant’s interest will pass by operation of law to the surviving joint tenants. Judgments and tax liens however are a lien against the joint tenant’s interest in the property.
Tenants in Common is also available to all people holding title to real estate without regard to marital status. There are no survivorship rights so a deceased’s interest passes to their legal heirs or devisees. Judgments and tax liens are a lien against the individual’s interest in the property.
A qualified estate attorney can help your clients decide the best option for holding title. The deed will establish how parties hold title. Prior to closing we need to be advised of your client’s choice so that we can correctly prepare the deed.
- We helped 283 people buy, sell or refinance their property.
- Our average turn-around time for title Monroe County title commitments was 2.94 days with 93% produced in four days or less.
- Seller-side closing statements were provided three or more days prior to closing 66% of the time and at least two days prior to closing 82% of the time.
Thank you for the continued opportunity to help you and your clients with such an important event in their lives!
October 13, 2016
The 2016’s purchase market’s robust first half cooled somewhat in the third quarter. While still strong, the year over year comparison to 2015 is flat. Sales marked as non-primary residence were up a bit – primarily in the $125K to $200K price range. (page 15) Sales designated as primary residences were slightly down – primarily in the $50K to $125K range.
Conforming mortgage numbers for the quarter were better than last year. Based upon our current order mix, I attribute that to a modest increase in refinance business. (pages 9 & 10)
With no significant regulatory changes from the CFPB (Constitutionally Flawed Protection Bureau) on the horizon, the fourth quarter outlook is considerably better than last year. Especially from a maintaining sanity perspective.
Last month at John Bethell Title, our team continued to provide a great experience.
We helped over 409 people to buy, sell or refinance their property
- We averaged 3.2 days to issue a Monroe County title insurance commitment and 84% were issued within 4 days.
- We issued seller side closing statements 2 or more days prior to closing over 90% of the time.
Thank you for your continued confidence in us. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to be part of meaningful moments in our customer’s lives.
~ John Bethell
September 8, 2016
Our team is especially proud of the work they do — both the quality and the quantity of it. We count and track a number of activities and tasks so that we know how we’re doing at providing a great experience to you and your clients.
During the month of August the team at John Bethell Title:
- Helped at least 431 people and corporations buy, sell or refinance their properties.
- Averaged 3.48 days to issue a commitment on Monroe County property with 87% of those commitments produced within four days.
- Delivered seller side closing statements 3 or more days prior to closing 64% of the time and 88% in 2 or more days prior to closing.
These three measurements give us good insight into how we’re doing. Helping people complete real estate transactions and create a great experience doing so is why we’re here. When we relate our role to the number of people we help, we can appreciate the important relationships that we create along the way.
How long it takes us to issue a preliminary title insurance commitment after we receive the order is a fundamental metric. The sooner we can do that, the more time everyone involved has to meet the requirements necessary to complete the transaction. And since a title commitment is usually necessary to get loan approval, it contributes to accelerating that process as well.
A number of activities must be completed in order to produce seller side closing statements two or three days prior to closing. Authorizations and payoffs must be obtained. Title requirements must be cleared. Purchase agreements are reviewed, interpreted and clarified. There are literally dozens of details and tasks to finish.
We’ll be sharing our key metrics with you each month, good or bad. We think that you should know. And we think it will make us more accountable to providing a great experience for you and your clients.
~ John Bethell
Here is the July 2016 Mortgage Market Report. We hope you are having a great summer.
~ John Bethell