What Goes Into a Remote Closing and Could It Help You?

What Goes Into a Remote Closing and Could It Help You?

When unable to attend an in-person for the purpose of buying a home, you can carry out the entire process from any location on the planet. Thanks to recent technological advances used to conduct virtual meetings, such as Zoom and Skype, and DocuSign for securely transferring critical documents, doing a remote closing is easier than ever.

You Can Do All In-Person Procedures Remotely

Traditional closings call for many moving pieces, including:

  • Notarized copies of all documents from the builders or title company’s office
  • Purchasing information about the home
  • Appraisals and home inspection documentation

After completing the closing, the courthouse must receive copies of all contractual data. Handling these activities remotely requires some extra time and energy. However, it’s extremely helpful for those whose schedules don’t permit in-person transactions. Many buyers today already carry out remote closings.

You Can Also Do Remote Notarizations, Document Signings, and Payments

Most documents for real estate deals require notarization. However, you can handle notarizations without having to hold in-person meetings. For instance, in a virtual meeting via Zoom, individuals can show ID to a notary, who can then scan and fax the documents with the appropriate signature. You can also handle virtual conferences in conjunction with services like DocuSign. They offer options like eSignature, which is a system for signing documents electronically on various devices.

Where a traditional closing may require a cashier’s check or certified funds, virtual closings often use wire transfers. The technological advances of recent decades now allow almost all such business transactions to be accomplished virtually. However, it’s important to consult the professionals involved in a given case to fully understand how to complete a virtual closing.

For More Help with Remote Closings, Contact Bell & Shah Law Today

For top-notch help in carrying out a remote closing, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today. We will have you discuss your situation with one of our knowledgeable real estate lawyers, who can assist you with completing all stages of the process.

Understanding Bylaws before Buying a New House

Understanding Bylaws before Buying a New House

Purchasing a home in a development with a homeowners association (HOA) can look like a wonderful idea until you violate one of the HOA’s bylaws, which are designed to maintain an orderly community and prevent members from actions that might bring down property values. However, these rules also control members’ decisions in modifying their property and other areas and are at times seen as encroaching on individual freedom. Bylaw violations can result in hefty fines for those who fail to follow the rules.

Fines are regulated by state laws and are intended to be reasonable, with their purpose being to generate compliance, not income for the association. Whatever their function may be, it’s important to understand an HOA’s bylaws, and the following are some steps to take before joining one of these communities.

Study the Contract

If you own a vehicle that bears your company’s name, and your HOA’s bylaws forbid that, you’ll have to either buy another vehicle or live somewhere else. Don’t be concerned that the documents are legal contracts. Appropriately written HOA texts should contain wording that any layperson can understand.

The covenants that delineate what can and can’t be done with the property are filed with the local county, so potential buyers can study them before deciding if they want to live there. However, HOA bylaws, which may also contain limitations, are not submitted to the government, so they need to be acquired from the homeowners association.

Learn about HOA Fees and How the Money is Used

HOA fees typically levied as yearly dues, cover the cost of insurance, landscape maintenance, and other communal operating costs. Check to see if the dues are capped and how frequently they can be increased. It’s also a good idea to learn about the association’s financial reserves, checking if the reserves are fully funded and if they contain enough money to cover emergencies.

Look into Insurance Coverage

HOA insurance should cover disasters such as fires and tornadoes, but make sure to learn how much and what type of insurance your HOA has. For example, the outside of your property should be covered by the HOA. Insurance can also protect an association against lawsuits.

Complaint Resolution

An HOA’s bylaws establish the number of seats on the board of directors, and this number may be influenced by the developers. The fewer board members, the better the chances are that developers will have disputes ruled in their favor.

The contract should detail how to file complaints, which is best done in writing, along with documentation, such as bills for work that the HOA should cover.

If you’re planning to buy a home in a community with an HOA, give us a call anytime at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC. We’ll be glad to assist you with any questions you may have about the ins and outs of HOA bylaws.

As a Landlord, Do You Have Obligations with Security Deposit Funds?

As a Landlord, Do You Have Obligations with Security Deposit Funds?

Usually provided by a renter during or before the signing of a lease, a security deposit is an amount of money, typically one month’s rent, held by a landlord or property manager to cover repairs for damages beyond ordinary wear and tear or any outstanding rent after a renter has moved out. In many states the amount of funds used for security deposits is limited by law. In Illinois, a security deposit needs to be included in most types of residential leases and rental agreements. The following is a discussion of Illinois laws dealing with the limits of security deposit funds, along with their use and return.

Amounts Charged for Security Deposits

Illinois law does not regulate the amount that can be charged for security deposits, but city and county laws vary on this subject, so it’s a good idea to check if your municipality or county places a cap on security deposits made by residential renters.

Deadline for Returning Security Deposits

Illinois law stipulates that for properties containing five units or more, renters’ security deposits must be returned from 30 to 45 days after the renters move out, depending on if the renters question deductions taken from their deposits or if landlords provide detailed statements and receipts.

Other information Landlords Need to Know Regarding Security Deposits

Besides adhering to Illinois laws on security deposit limits and returns, landlords in Illinois have to pay interest on security deposits held for more than six months if renting 25 or more units in either one building or in a group of buildings on adjacent properties.

Since security deposits are refundable, minus the above-mentioned deductions, it’s important to know the state regulations and best ways to handle these funds. Keeping itemized records is also advisable in order to be well-prepared should a dispute with a renter arise. If you have any questions or concerns about the state laws that apply to your rental property, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable real estate lawyers will be glad to assist you.

What to Know about a Closing Settlement Statement in Illinois

What to Know about a Closing Settlement Statement in Illinois

A closing settlement statement often completes a real estate transaction. You can also call them a settlement sheet or a HUD-1 statement. These documents present a comprehensive itemized listing of the funds and credits exchanged in the transaction, along with the parties by whom and to whom the money and credits are to be paid. Closing agents prepare and write up closing statements or settlement sheets. They are professional individuals that operate mainly on the part of buyers by communicating the selling interest from buyers to sellers, guaranteeing the systematic transmission of legal titles from the sellers to the buyers in conducting the closing procedures. The sheets delineate the final terms and costs of mortgages. Closing settlement statements are very important when it comes to closing on some types of purchases. It is vital that you study them carefully before signing.

What to Include in an Illinois Closing Settlement Statement

An Illinois closing settlement statement covers real estate transactions where the transaction is all cash or owner financing. After completing the closing statement, closing agents will review, verify, and sign the documents. The buyer and selling also sign, recognizing acceptance of all financial aspects of the transaction. Some of the expenses recorded on the closing statement include the following:

  • Agents’ commissions
  • Mortgage insurance costs
  • Deposits of property taxes
  • Expenses related to the loan origination process
  • Appraisal and mortgage broker fees, and
  • Inspection costs.

Fees for obtaining the borrower’s credit report, for title searches, and for the services of attorneys, notaries, and closing agents may also be on the sheet.

For transactions employing closing settlement statements, buyers and sellers typically meet with a professional such as an attorney, a real estate agent, or a closing agent to look over the statements and make sure that all the details are accurate and acceptable. Even after completely preparing the statement, last-minute changes require both the buyer and seller need to review for correctness.

Trust Bell & Shah Law to Help

Contact Bell & Shah Law, LLC today for help with your Illinois closing settlement statement. Our experienced real estate attorneys look forward to hearing from you.

Tips When Creating a Landlord and Tenant Agreement

Tips When Creating a Landlord and Tenant Agreement

By describing your conditions and expectations about rent payments, use of your property, and related topics, a well-fashioned landlord and tenant agreement provides the foundation for successful communication between you and your renters. The agreement also functions as a guidebook when issues arise. It can alleviate problems before they occur if written in the clearest and least ambiguous terms possible.

The following are some tips for producing a top-notch landlord and tenant agreement that can save you a lot of trouble, lost time, and legal aggravation.

1. Customize Your Agreement to Meet Your Individual Needs

Although a rental agreement template may be helpful to use, it is also essential to customize your agreement based on (1) local, state, and federal laws; and (2) your unambiguous rental terms and conditions. Each state has its own regulations about security deposits, mandatory disclosures, and other issues. Make sure to tailor your agreement in accordance with these laws by including the appropriate disclosures and clauses.

Your agreement must also reflect your particular rental terms and requirements. If you have rules beyond those of the city regarding pets, automatic renewals, or other topics, they should be part of your agreement.

2. Include Unambiguous Terms about Paying Rent and Security Deposits

State laws are precise about the first month’s rent and security deposits. So, make sure your agreement includes clear wording about rent payments, your security deposit return policy, property damage, and related matters. Also, it’s important to require an application from potential renters. Explain if you will do background, reference, and credit checks to avoid problems later.

3. Establish Clear Policies on Keeping Pets, Subletting, and Other Activities

If your policies on subletting, having pets, and other actions are all clearly spelled out in a lease signed by the tenant, he or she can’t later claim a lack of knowledge about the rules. Make sure these are all clear.

4. Describe Any Other Fees and Responsibilities

Make sure to delineate all additional fees or services, such as utility bills and connection fees, for which the renter will be accountable. It should also cover maintenance, for example, lawn care and snow shoveling, along with the costs. Is an added fee required, or will the renter be responsible for hiring a provider or doing it themselves?

5. Spell out Penalties for Breaking or Violating the Agreement

If the renter wants to break the agreement, will he or she have to pay rent until a new tenant can be found? And will there be additional penalties for breaking the agreement? What if the agreement’s terms are violated? Do you want to maintain the right to terminate?

Contact Bell Shah Law, LLC today for help with creating a top-quality landlord and tenant agreement. Our team of knowledgeable real estate attorneys can guide you in crafting a document that will meet all your needs and ensure that your rights are protected.

Benefits of Having an Attorney Attend Your Closing for You

Benefits of Having an Attorney Attend Your Closing for You

When it’s time to close a real estate transaction, should you have a real estate attorney present at the closing to protect your best interests? Legal experts generally agree that you should. We recommend that you have your attorney at your settlement because you may not be comfortable with sifting through and trying to comprehend the mountain of documents related to closing a mortgage loan. Buying a home is likely to be the most important financial transaction of your life. That means it’s essential to have the protection of an attorney with extensive knowledge of real estate law.

The Attorney’s Role at a Closing is Crucial

When a buyer hires an attorney to attend the closing, they offer a valuable service in studying the paperwork to ensure that all of the documents are accurate. Since most homebuyers do not often deal with contracts, and a home purchase generally requires a significant investment, it’s helpful to have an attorney verify that the documentation is correct. At the very least, they can help ensure the sale closes if issues come up.

Attorneys are especially beneficial if your transaction includes unusual circumstances. This includes things like renters living on the property. Perhaps the sale requires a complex financing arrangement. There may even be an imminent lawsuit related to the property. Having an attorney makes these situations much easier.

You Can Resolve Unforeseen Issues More Easily

Attorneys are also helpful when issues crop up without warning during the closing. For example, the buyer may get cold feet and want to back out of the deal. What if a brief online search uncovers a lien against the property? What if an eleventh-hour boundary issue arises? Attorneys can assist in resolving such issues and ensure that the deal goes through as planned. So, if there’s a real estate closing in your future, an experienced attorney can help guarantee that you won’t be signing anything you may later regret.

At Bell & Shah Law, LLC, our attorneys are well-versed in the ins and outs of real estate closings. For more information on how we can help with your real estate transaction, contact us today.

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