Requirements for Insuring Trusts

In today’s world of busy probate courts and exorbitant death taxes, the living trust has become a common manner of holding title to real property. The following may help your understand a few of the requirements of the title insurance industry if title to property is conveyed to the trustee of a living trust.

What is a Trust?

An Agreement between a trustor and trustee for the trustee to hold title to and administer designated assets of the trustor for the use and benefit o… Continue Reading Requirements for Insuring Trusts

Statement of Information

What’s in a name? When a title company seeks to uncover matters affecting title to real property, the answer is, “Quite a bit”. Statements of Information provide title companies with the information they need to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from others with similar names. After identifying the true buyers and sellers, title companies may disregard the judgements, liens or other matters on the public records under similar names. To help you better understand this sensitive … Continue Reading Statement of Information

Change of Ownership Tax Assessment Reappraisal

Joint Tenancy – Under this method of holding title, each owner holds the property jointly with the other owners. Upon the death of one owner, the property passes to the surviving joint tenant. For assessment purposes, the termination of joint tenancy (other than husband and wife or parent/child transfers) causes a reappraisal.

Trusts – In this method of holding title, there is only a reassessment if there has been a change in beneficial interest or control. For example, revocable trusts (i.e…. Continue Reading Change of Ownership Tax Assessment Reappraisal

Solar Access – A Potential Problem

Interest in solar energy is growing as more and more homeowners, as well as businesses, are taking long serious looks at this alternative source of power. As with any new technology, however, there are potential problems. For example, a sun’s rays must reach the solar collectors in order to produce energy from either active or passive systems. If the sun were always directly overhear there would be no problem. It is not, or course, and this brings up the question of solar access – the availabili… Continue Reading Solar Access – A Potential Problem

What is a Payoff/ Sub-Escrow?

Sub-Escrow (loan payoff) is an extremely important service provided by title companies to facilitate the handling of money in the closing of a real estate transaction. The performance of the payoff function, exclusive of escrow service, is unique to Southern California. This is because the majority of our customers are independent escrow companies, and the majority of our title orders require payoff service. The sub-escrow department does not draw escrow instructions or documents( i.e. Grant Dee… Continue Reading What is a Payoff/ Sub-Escrow?

Proposition 8 – Decline in Value

What is Proposition 8?

In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to Article XIII A that allows a temporary reduction in assessed value when real property suffers a decline in value. A decline in value occurs when the current market value of real property is less than the current assessed (taxable) factored base year value as of the lien date, January 1. Proposition 8 is codified by Section 51(a)(2) of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

Real property may declin… Continue Reading Proposition 8 – Decline in Value

Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

If you’re not behind on your mortgage payments but have been unable to get traditional refinancing because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP is designed to help you get a new, more affordable, more stable mortgage. HARP refinance loans require a loan applicable and underwriting process, and refinance fees will apply.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

1. The mortgage must be owned or guarante… Continue Reading Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

Is Your Credit Report on Target

Whether you’re making a big purchase like a house or a new car, or a less ambitious transaction like applying for a credit card, your prospective lender always runs a credit report on you. But is everyone getting a fair shake when it comes to credit scoring?
Many call credit scoring a simple, objective way to determine one’s ability to repay loans—where race, nationality and income are not considered. Others, however, believe certain scoring systems have unequal impact on mino… Continue Reading Is Your Credit Report on Target

As Prices Rise, So Do Taxes

As the housing market improves, many California homeowners will see the downside of the recovery; an increase in their property taxes.

Many homeowners believe their property taxes are limited to increase of no more than 2 percent annually because of Proposition 13, the landmark voter initiative approved in 1978.

However, Proposition 8, a companion ballot measure that passed the same year (not to be confused with the 2008 ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California), allows assess… Continue Reading As Prices Rise, So Do Taxes

Understanding Withholdings on Real Estate Sales

When did withholding start for California residents?

The withholding law applies to dispositions of California real estate by both residents and non-residents which close on and after January 1, 2003. Previously, withholding was only required of non-resident sellers.

Why was this withholding law enacted?

As part of attempting to balance the state budget, this withholding provision was added to legislation on the last day of the Legislative session in 20… Continue Reading Understanding Withholdings on Real Estate Sales