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Chicagoland real estate purchases, real estate sales, short sales, foreclosures, first-time buyer representation, Illinois condominium association representation, estate planning for everyone, powers of attorney, quit claim deeds, landlord/tenant issues, forcible detainer/evictions, civil unions, foreclosure defense and more...

This office serves clients in real estate transactions of all types. I also assist clients with estate planning for everyone, including the GLBT community, and represent Illinois condominium associations as needed. I help real estate investors who are renting their properties deal with difficult renter issues, and I advocate for renters dealing with difficult landlords.
 
I work with clients in Chicago and all over the Chicagoland area, including Wilmette, Skokie, Morton Grove, Plainfield, Wheaton, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Naperville, Oak Park, Winnetka, Des Plaines, Orland Park, Berwyn, Carol Stream, Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake, Barrington, Palatine, Park Ridge, Gurnee, South Holland, Park Forest and more.

My goal is to give each and every client personal, friendly and competent service at a reasonable price. I also strive to use technology in the best way possible to keep my clients informed.
 
My legal background includes working for a major Chicago developer and working for a boutique firm in their real estate division. I am also a landlord of a three flat building in Rogers Park and I am managing broker of a small real estate brokerage.
 
I work with all different types of clients, including developers, first-time buyers, buyers of second (or third!) homes, all sellers and the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

My real estate blog is below. Please make sure to check back on a regular basis to check out what's new. I update my blog about once a week and welcome any questions that you may have.
 
Ask me too about help with personal injury, divorce, and any other legal issues! 

7527 N. Seeley Avenue, Suite 1, Chicago, IL 60645
www.chicagolandrealestatelaw.com
lawgoddess1@gmail.com
773.818.9054 office/cell
866.381.4238 efax

Recommend my site by clicking here!

Check out my interview, Expert Advice on Buying a Foreclosed Home on Illinois Homes, one of the top sites for Illinois homes for sale, including Wheaton, IL real estate. Illinois Homes also services Michigan homes for sale and Pennsylvania homes for sale.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Formula Could Change Credit Scores

The company responsible for one of the most widely used measures of credit health is making changes to its current model that could boost credit scores nationwide.

In an announcement on Thursday, analytics and decision management firm FICO said its new credit model, FICO Score 9, "introduces a more nuanced way to assess consumer collection information," resulting in greater precision for lenders measuring a borrower's credit stability. The model will be available to lenders through the country's various reporting agencies starting in the fall.

"FICO Score 9 uses a more refined treatment of consumers with a limited credit history and those with accounts at collection agencies, so that lenders can grow their credit and loan portfolios more confidently," said Jim Wehmann, EVP for Scores at FICO.

The key difference in the new model is that strikes from medical collections will have a lower impact, reflecting the relatively low level of credit risk they represent. From just that change, the company expects the median FICO score will increase by 25 points among consumers whose only credit dents come from unpaid medical debts.

FICO isn't alone in its push to reassess how medical debts are reflected on a borrower's credit profile. In May, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the results of a study finding that credit scores may underestimate creditworthiness by as much as 10 points for consumers owing on medical costs and by up to 22 points for consumers who have repaid their debt.

Often, consumers aren't even aware their debt has been sent to collections, CFPB said.

Another change in the FICO Score 9 model is that it will also discount any overdue payments that have already been made, leaving only unpaid collections as a mark.

While the changes may have a significant impact on approval rates for credit cards and auto loans, the effects will be more subtle for borrowers and lenders in the mortgage space, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for personal finance website Bankrate.com.

"These changes are going to be a positive for consumers, but it's not something that moves the goalposts," McBride said in a phone call. "These changes aren't going to take a consumer with bad credit and suddenly make them appear as if they have good credit."

Rather, for consumers whose credit scores sit on the threshold between poor, adequate, or good, the expected boost could make a difference in terms of required down payments or interest rates.

The Score 9 model also promises to help lenders make decisions on consumers with little to no credit history—though McBride doesn't expect to see an immediate impact in mortgage approvals for credit-lacking millennials.

However, if those young consumers have an easier time securing lines on smaller loans, however, that could balloon out into the mortgage space in the future.

"You [have to] knock over the dominoes," McBride said.

11:16 am cdt 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Crain's Chicago:

MTV's "The Real World" show, where seven strangers move into a building together and allow cameras to film the inevitable drama for all the world to see, wants to set up shop in the Randolph-Fulton area in the West Loop.

 

An affiliate of Van Nuys, California-based Bunim/Murray Productions is planning to film an edition of the long-running reality show at 1100 W. Randolph St., according to people familiar with the project.

 

"The Real World's" designs for the property is another marker of growing out-of-town interest in the fast-changing neighborhood, which has become a magnet for restaurant operators, real estate investors and tech firms, including Google Inc.

 

On June 20, the Bunim affiliate is scheduled to discuss its plans before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, according to the panel's agenda for this month. The firm must obtain special permits to allow for “a seven-bed, temporary, group living residence” in the property, the agenda shows. A message left for an executive at Bunim, a unit of French production firm Banijay Group, was not immediately returned.

 

The production company said in an application to the city it plans to use the property for five months at most, shooting the show over a 12-week period.

 

Alterations it wants to make to the property, like a new paint job, lighting, security cameras and greenery, “would be compatible with the character of the neighborhood — we want this building to embody Chicago,” the application says.

 

The Bunim affiliate also wants to build shower stalls in the property and a kitchen, the application shows. Security guards will be present 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

The company has held casting calls in Chicago to find people willing to star in the forthcoming show, according to news reports. MTV broadcasts "The Real World."

 

In 2001, a season of "The Real World" was filmed in Wicker Park, with the building at 1934 W. North Ave. serving as the cast's home base.

 

The production drew protesters to the building, one of whom yelled at show participants that the crowd wanted to “to liberate you from the agents of unreality,” according to a Chicago Reader story.

 

For its latest Chicago show, "The Real World" will occupy a property owned by a venture of veteran New York retail broker David Firestein, who declined to comment.

 

Greg Kirsch, executive managing director in the local office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank who's handling leasing at the property, didn't respond to a phone call. 

1:46 pm cdt 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Have a safe and fun weekend.

And a big thanks to all of the people who serve and have served our wonderful military. We appreciate your service! 

9:52 am cdt 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

3:47 pm cdt 

The Spring Market Is Here!
If you have not already considered it, and you're in the market, talk to a real estate agent about selling your home. Buyers are out there in the nice weather looking for homes to buy, and inventory is very low. You may be able to sell your home for more than you thought!
1:05 pm cdt 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Illinois Offers a New First-Time Homebuyers Program

First-time home buyers in Illinois could receive further assistance in the process with a new loan program.

A new program, Welcome Home Illinois, will allow qualified first-time homeowners the opportunity to receive $7,500 toward the down payment or closing costs as well as a 3.99 percent interest rate on a secure 30-year fixed mortgage. Governor Pat Quinn announced the program Tuesday.

Borrowers must be first-time home buyers or haven't owned a home in the past three years, contribute the greater of 1 percent of the overall purchase or $1,000 toward the down payment and have a credit score of at least 640.

Welcome Home Illinois is funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Illinois Jobs Now!

Interested home buyers can find additional information about the program and a list of lenders on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website.

4:03 pm cdt 

What Happens at a Closing?

Many of my first time buyers ask me what exactly happens at closing, and how long it usually takes. Here is a brief outline of what happens at a closing table.

1) First, you will sign loan documents. Your attorney will be there to explain all the documents you're signing, and to make sure the terms that you agreed to in your Good Faith Estimate are the terms reflected in the loan documents.

2) Your attorney will also review Seller's documents at that time, including a deed, affidavit of title (a promise from Seller that title is clear), title policy or commitment that has been "waived" (showing that title is clear from liens and encumbrances) and other pertinent documents for the title company. If you are buying a single family home, and a survey is being provided by the Seller, that will also be reviewed at that time. Keep in mind when you purchase a foreclosed or short sale property, a survey may not be provided at closing.

3) After your loan documents are signed, they will be sent to your lender in order for them to review them. This may take a matter of minutes, or longer, depending on how busy the lender is. There may be some waiting involved, and this is the wild card in guessing how long a closing may take. Some closings will take an hour or two, some may take longer. There's no way for anyone to make an educated guess as to how long it will take because of this.

Once the lender gives a funding "number", or funding approval, you officially have your loan, and you're a homeowner! You will leave the closing table with copies of all documents you signed, keys to the property, and possibly a refund check if you brought too much money to the table. I'll blog more on this in the days to come, and give more detail. 

10:26 am cdt 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Foreclosure Looming?
I have been getting a lot of calls from clients to ask what they should do when they can't afford their home. Please consult an attorney before you do anything. You DO have options. I can help!
2:10 pm cst 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance Taking Effect This Month

The City of Chicago has recently been named the nation’s #1 city infested with bed bugs.  

This summer, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance aimed at putting an end to the spread of bed bugs which will go into effect on December 23, 2013.  

The key Landlord responsibilities are as follows: 

  • To supply a tenant starting or renewing a lease with an informational brochure
  • To maintain a written record of bed bug control efforts
  • To send a written notice to the tenant explaining their responsibilities before the inspection
  • To provide pest control services when bed bugs are found by a pest management professional as many times as necessary to eliminate the problem
  • To inspect within 10 days and treat if necessary the two units on either side as well as the two units above and below of the infested unit

 Tenants also have responsibilities: 

  • To notify the landlord in writing of any suspected or known infestation in the tenants’ unit, clothing, furniture or personal property within 5 days
  • To notify the landlord in writing of any recurring or unexplained bites, stings or sores suspected to be caused by bed bugs
  • To cooperate with the landlord in the control, treatment, and eradication of bed bugs including
  • To grant access at reasonable times upon reasonable notice for inspections and treatments/to not interfere
  • To prepare unit prior to treatment including:  cleaning, dusting, vacuuming
  • To properly dispose of personal property that cannot be treated or cleaned before the pest control services

The Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance also mandates the disposal of bedding, clothing, furnishings or other infested materials.  For example, you may not place, discard or dispose of any bedding, clothing or furnishings infested on the public way (i.e. dumpsters, sidewalks, hallways).  To get rid of infested items, you must enclose the item in a plastic bag and label it as infested.  Doing so should prevent neighbors from bringing to their home infested items, therefore stalling the spread of bed bugs.

Please note that this section of the ordinance does not apply to tenants living in assisted living or a shared housing establishment, when the establishment provides assistance with daily living activities.  

The ordinance will be enforced by the Department of Buildings and the Department of Public Health.  If any person is found violating the ordinancethat person may be fined $300.00 to $1,000 per day for each offense.  By complying with the ordinance, these fees can be avoided.   The full ordinance can be found at www.cityofchicago.org.  You can make a request for a City inspector here.

4:31 pm cst 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Guidelines for FHA Short Sales

Effective October 1, 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the following changes to their Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Short Sale requirements: 

  • Eligibility Requirements: To successfully complete a short sale under the FHA short sale program, the borrowers must meet the following requirements:
    • They cannot list the property with or sell it to anyone with whom they are related or have a close personal or business relationship.  In legal terms, it must be an "arm's-length" transaction.  Any knowing violation of the arm's-length requirement may be a violation of federal law.
    • Your mortgage must be in default, on the date the short sale transaction closes.
    • Before closing, any additional liens against the property must be released. A lien holder who demands a payment to release its lien must submit a written statement, and an agreement to release the lien if that amount is paid.
  • Financial Hardship Validation Requirement: For a standard preforeclosure sale, servicers must use a Deficit Income Test (DIT) to determine a homeowner's financial hardship.  The IRS Collection Financial Standards will be used to verify homeowners expenses not reflected in their credit report.  Only owner-occupied properties are eligible for the standard preforeclosure sale.
  • New Streamlined Short Sale Option: Homeowners eligible for a streamlined short sale may not be required to submit financial information or have a financial hardship.  Principal residences, second homes, investment properties and service members who have received Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Orders are potentially eligible.
  • Property Appraisal: The appraisal of your property should be completed within approximately ten business days.  After the appraisal, the short sale file will be updated and prepared for review.  In some cases, approval may be required by the investor and/or FHA, which may take more time.
  • Cash Contribution: As a new condition, you might be required to make a final payment (sometimes called a cash contribution) before or at closing.  This payment will reduce the deficiency balance.
  • Borrower's Incentive Compensation: If you are an owner occupant, acting in good faith, and successfully selling your property, you may be eligible for an incentive of up to $3,000.  If you are required to make cash contribution, you are not eligible for this incentive.
  • Short Sale Contract Addendum:
    • The revised FHA short sale addendum must be signed and dated by all parties.  Under this addendum, all parties agree that the subject property must be sold through an arm's-length transaction.  An arm's-length transaction is defined as a short sale between two unrelated parties that is characterized by a selling price and other conditions that would prevail in an open market environment.  Also, no hidden terms or special understandings can exist between any of the parties (e.g., buyer, seller, appraiser, sales agent, closing agent, and mortgagee) involved in the transaction.
  • Action Required: Review the Short Sale FHA Program guides located on the Agent Resource Center:
To review additional information about FHA requirements, please log on to www.hud.gov. Questions can be directed to Short Sale Customer/Agent care at 1.866.880.1232.
 

2:11 pm cdt 

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