Language stemming from outdated DC law should be removed from lender's loan packages

Several mortgage lenders continue to require borrowers to sign a statement at closing as to whether a borrower has a non-borrowing spouse or domestic partner living with the borrower.  

The recitation provided by the lender reads, "Washington, DC law provides that a mortgage, deed of trust, or assignment for the benefit of creditors is not binding or valid unless it is signed by the spouse or domestic partner of the debtor who is living with his or her spouse or domestic partner. Consequently, a non-borrowing domestic partner or spouse may have an ownership interest in the property of the borrowing domestic partner or spouse.  As a result, the Lender will require that both spouses or registered domestic partners sign the security instrument in order to ensure it is fully enforceable."

The recitation comes from an outdated DC law, and your legal counsel should have it eliminated from the loan package since it creates much confusion among the borrowers at closing.

DC law used to provide:

§ 15-502. Mortgage or other instrument affecting exempt property 

   (a) A mortgage, deed of trust, assignment for the benefit of creditors, or bill of sale upon exempted articles is not binding or valid unless it is signed by the spouse or domestic partner of a debtor who is living with his or her spouse or domestic partner.

This purports to say that these instruments are not valid without a spouse or domestic partner’s signature, but this was an error, and legislation in 2006 corrected it.

In 2006 § 15-502(a) was changed to add the following language at the end:  

"This section shall not apply to instruments related to property exempted in § 15-501(a)(14)."

Under § 15-501 (a)(14), which was also amended in 2006, instruments related to property exempted means deeds of trust, mortgages, mechanics liens, and tax liens related to a debtor’s residence.

The effect of the amendments is to make clear that a spouse or domestic partner’s signature is not required on security instruments. 

In addition, more generally, in 2001, DC abolished dower rights. (DC Law 13-292, Omnibus Trust and Estates Amendment Act of 2000.)

Close It!™ House of the Week: FHA-approved and priced to sell

This week we're changing things up a bit by looking at an FHA-approved 1BR condo across the street from the National Cathedral. It was last renovated in 2004.

This little sunny gem with southern exposures is located on Wisconsin Avenue in DC's Glover Park neighborhood. It's got hardwood floors throughout, its own washer/dryer unit, 9-foot ceilings and a private condo park with dog run and picnic area. 

Assuming a buyer put down 3.5 percent on an FHA loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $17,965.63. The monthly payments would then be around $2,014.11 per month including the HOA fee. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app

Headlines: Do home renovations impact tax assessments? What's in store for fall real estate?

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate around the District of Columbia and beyond.

Top 10 ways to strengthen your purchase offer and beat out competing buyers

Sometimes buyers and their agents don’t realize that there are many different ways to strengthen a purchase offer besides just the obvious one, the purchase price. This is always something to seriously consider when making any offer, whether or not competing with other buyers. — Inman News

MRIS and Federal Title launch comprehensive closing costs calculator

Federal Title, a technology pioneer in the title industry, initially launched the consumer-facing Close It! app in May 2013 to simplify homebuying costs. The app, along with the MRIS version, can compare costs in different jurisdictions and show the difference in closing on the first of the month compared to at the end of the month. — PR Web

Real estate matters | Failure to list second bathroom with tax office could be costly

Let’s start by differentiating between your property’s tax assessment and the many real estate sites on the Internet. You should know that most real estate sites on the Internet compile information about your property from public records including real estate tax assessment sites. — Washington Post

Arlington, VA listed among top places to live in the US

Known worldwide for Arlington National Cemetery that was established during the Civil War, Arlington is an upscale community whose largest employer is the Government of the U.S., with 34,000 employees. The median home price in Arlington is $600,000, and local students can attend classes at the campuses of George Mason University and Marymount University. — Livability

Fall predictions: DC Area home prices to rise just 1 to 2 percent this fall

As fall approaches, there are a number of questions floating around about the DC area housing market. Will inventory continue to come online making it a buyer’s market? Will the slew of new apartments entering the rental market push rents down? Will mortgage rates head higher as experts have predicted? — DC Urban Turf

Close It!™ House of the Week: Enchanting colonial with beautifully landscaped gardens

This week take a look at a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house detached colonial with massive deck overlooking a beautifully landscaped garden. 

The house has hardwood floors throughout with a bright and clean kitchen plus a finished attic and basement and also off street parking. The house was last sold over ten years ago and is now listed at $799,999.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $183,510.19. The monthly payments would then be around $3,665.10 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Headlines: First-time DC homebuyers flourish. And there's an app for that.

Fall predictions: Watch the inventory

The prospects for the region’s housing market for the rest of 2014 and into 2015 will be determined by the inventory trends over the next few months. If the ratio of inventory to sales continues to increase, sales price growth will remain modest at best. However, if the pace of sales picks up or inventory begins to diminish, prices should recover. — DC Urban Turf

MLS arming agents with app that calculates buyer and seller closing costs

The app, MRIS Close It!, allows agents to calculate cash-to-close and net proceeds for real estate transactions. Users can instantly create, edit and share nonbinding HUD-1 Settlement Statements and net sales sheets for their buyer and seller clients. — Inman News

DC area housing costs are highest in America

But in aggregate, Washingtonian (and nearby suburbanite) households spent an average of $17,603 on housing costs in 2012, beating out (or losing to, really) every other metropolitan area that the BLS looked at. D.C.-area expenses were nearly twice those in Cleveland, which sits at the bottom of the list. — Washington City Paper

Why DC is the No. 1 market in the country for first-time homebuyers

DC's real estate market has some serious advantages when it comes to national rankings. In addition to a metropolitan area with a lot of inventory that keeps moving and local closing costs that are some of the lowest in the country, the District's nature as a city with high-paying jobs tends to attract a lot of first-time homebuyers. — In the Capital

MRIS teams with Federal Title on closing apps

Through the partnership, MRIS, which facilitates nearly $125 million a day in real estate transactions, now offers a custom, specially licensed version of Close It! to calculate total cash-to-close and net proceeds for real estate transactions. — Geek Estate

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