To protect your data from being shared with affiliates, opt-out

To protect your data from being shared with affiliates, opt-out

You would be surprised at how many people I meet at the settlement table who have never opted out of their information being shared with their bank’s or lending institution’s affiliates.

People often complain about solicitations via mail, email and phone. If you have a credit card, bank account or mortgage with a lending institution, they are often allowed to share your information with their affiliates unless you specifically ask them not to share.

I hear, “I don’t want to be on the phone for hours waiting to opt out.”

Most of the institutions allow you to set up an account online to handle payment and inquiries. Usually there are privacy settings in the same online account you can set up – opt out of their marketing to affiliates, sharing credit information, etc.

If you would rather be on the phone, you can certainly call and opt out of your information being shared with affiliates or used for marketing. Just a few minutes of your time may save you hours sorting mail and/or emails.

Assignment OF TOPA Rights vs. TOPA Affidavit

I am often asked which is preferable – Assignment of TOPA Rights or a TOPA Affidavit? 

The answer is it depends on multiple factors i.e. is Owner/Seller/Landlord willing to pay consideration to a tenant; is there a ratified contract; how much time is there before settlement; etc.

Assignment

TOPA rights can be assigned with or without a contract – there must be consideration of at least $300 per current underwriting guidelines and this consideration can be in the form of cash, forgiven rent, waiver of rent, moving expenses, etc. If the rights are to be assigned before there is a contract, the agent must send out TOPA Form B via certified mail prior to the tenant signing the Assignment.  Form C will not be necessary, as the rights of first refusal will be assigned at the same time as the rights to purchase. If there is a contract, the agent must send out TOPA Form A via certified mail prior to the tenant signing the Assignment. 

Please note NOTICE either FORM A or FORM B MUST BE SENT VIA CERTIFIED MAIL TO MEET THE STATUTORY GUIDELINES AND TRIGGER THE RIGHTS SO THEY ARE ASSIGNABLE. Once the Assignment is fully executed, settlement can happen immediately – no waiting period.

Affidavit

If the agent wants to use the Affidavit, the appropriate TOPA forms must be sent via certified mail.  Ideally, the Affidavit should be signed after the 45 day period (30 days right to purchase plus 15 days right of first refusal). In most cases, the tenant will sign the Affidavit prior to the conclusion of the waiting period, but the 45 day period must pass. The reason an underwriter requires the 45 day period to pass is the affidavit is “retractable”; in other words, the tenant is allowed to change his or her mind making the affidavit no good. 

In addition, when an affidavit is used; the title company will need to get a Review of File Letter issued from the District (DCHD) prior to settlement. The Review of File letter will confirm there was not Notice of Intent to Purchase filed with the District and solidifies tenant’s intent – to purchase or not purchase.  This closes the underwriting loop and allows settlement to happen.

Judgment Creditor Lien: When does it Automatically Release in DC?

Listing Agent QuestionI have a client with a judgment creditor lien – arising from credit card debt – that has attached to the property we are trying to sell in the District of Columbia. The judgment creditor lien arose from a judgment issued in December, 2005. The judgment was issued in the amount of ~$10,000.00 at a rate of 15.50% per annum – that judgment has ballooned to over $55,000.00 courtesy of the power of compounding interest. This amount would force a short sale and cause major delays for closing. What do we do?

The Listing Agent’s question essentially boils down to this: When do judgment creditor liens automatically release in the District of Columbia?

A judgment creditor is a person or entity that has obtained a valid judgment for the payment of money from a court of competent jurisdiction. Once a valid judgment has been issued, the judgement creditor must perfect the lien by filing the judgment in the land records – this puts the world on notice that the judgment creditor has a lien against the property. Judgment creditor liens encumber the property and prevent debtors from selling the property without paying off the lien. 

DC Code §15-101, titled “Enforceable Period of Judgments; Expiration” states:

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, every final judgment or final decree for the payment of money rendered in the – (1) United States District Court for the District of Columbia; or (2) Superior Court for the District of Columbia, when filed and recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia, is enforceable, by execution issued thereon, for the period of twelve years only from the date when an execution might first be issued thereon, or from the date of the last order of revival thereof.

(b) At the expiration of the twelve-year period provided by subsection (a), the judgment or decree shall cease to have any operation or effect. Thereafter, except in the case of a proceeding that may be then pending for the enforcement of the judgment or decreed, action may not be brought on it, nor may it be revived, and execution may not issue on it.

The ultimate answer to the Listing Agent’s question was that they needed to do nothing! In this particular case, the judgment was issued over twelve years ago. Federal Title & Escrow was able to verify that the judgment creditor had failed to renew their judgment creditor lien prior to expiration.  The lien automatically discharged pursuant to DC Code §15-101, and the settlement closed without a hitch.

 

A Common Misconception about VA Home Loans

A Common Misconception about VA Home Loans

A common misconception of the VA Loan Program is that once you take out a VA loan to purchase a home, it is a one-time benefit that cannot be used again. However, that is simply not the case. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, once a member of the military has met the eligibility requirements and earned the benefit, it can be utilized for the remainder of their lifetime. This re-use of the benefit is what is referred to as “restored entitlement.” In order for a veteran or servicemember to restore their VA loan entitlement, the following must occur:

  1. The property is sold, and
  2. The VA loan is paid in full

However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the veteran or servicemember pays off their VA loan, but elects to keep the property, they can receive a one-time restoration. Examples of this would be if the veteran or servicemember refinances their VA loan with a non-VA loan, or if they purchased the home decades ago and paid off the loan in full but still live in the property. This one-time restoration would allow the veteran or servicemember to keep the home they are currently in and still be able to purchase another home while utilizing their VA home loan benefit.

A VA home loan is a valuable resource for retired and current members of the military to utilize. To obtain more information on VA Home Loans, you can explore the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at this link.

Insurability vs. Marketability: How is a property’s insurability different from its marketability?

The terms “marketable” title and “insurable” title are very common real estate terms that come up in every contract for sale of real property. They are frequently used but commonly misunderstood. First, “marketable” title is generally defined as title that is free from encumbrances or defects that would legally or physically restrict the property owner’s use of the property. Some examples would be: outstanding mortgages/liens; restrictive covenants; easements on the property; zoning restriction violations; and building setbacks. In addition, “marketable” title is free from any reasonable doubt as to its validity. Some examples would be variations in the chain of title; variations in the names of the grantors and grantees; outstanding heir issues after an estate conveyed title; and unrecorded leases. 

So what happens when unmarketable title presents itself? It is at this stage that you turn to a reputable title insurance company. “Insurable” title is title that a reasonably prudent title insurance company is willing to insure at normal market rates. Here, the title does have a known defect or defects in the chain in title.  The determination to insure a property may differ between title insurance companies. Their decision to insure title is made after marketability issues have either been resolved or it has been determined that these issues present a low risk of turning into claims in the future. It is important to note that there are some marketability issues that title companies cannot insure over and these issues, such as easements and building setback lines, are commonly excepted from the title policy.

It is fair to say that unmarketable title presents itself quite often and there exists some form of defect or encumbrance on virtually every property that is sold. It is important to obtain as much information from the seller beforehand as possible, information such as copies of prior title insurance policies or copies of existing surveys. Such documentation and information is helpful and assists in addressing any potential issues early on. Understanding the difference between “marketable” and “insurable” can help facilitate a smooth transaction.

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Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.