Real Estate Articles

Foreclosures 101: Part 1

Note: The nature of the foreclosure process and the parties involved can vary state by state. This article is based on the laws in the State of Maryland and is not a reflection of or guidance on the laws of any other state.

Chances are someone you know is going through the painful process of a foreclosure. It might be the person sitting next to you at work or at shul. Anyone in foreclosure is already dealing with the gut-wrenching experience of potentially losing their home. What makes this process even more challenging is the perplexity that surrounds it. This general overview of the foreclosure process is to provide clarity and guidance to those who are unused to the vagaries of the legal system, and may not know where to turn to for help.


Let’s first explore the identity of those involved in the foreclosure process. Often, the parties listed on the initial notice include only the names of banks or law firms. This can be very confusing and leads to questions like “Who is this lawyer and why have I never heard of him?” or “Does one of these parties represent my interests?” To help clarify, the main parties are the investor, the servicer, the law firm/substitute trustee(s), and the homeowner.

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The Housing Market: Move-Up Buying Activity Is on the Rise

Now is the time for trade-up buying. Although the recession and housing downturn left many Americans with underwater mortgages, the housing market has come a long way, and homeowners are finally seeing their equity increase – some to the point that they can trade up for a more expensive home. 

According to a report from FNC, a real estate data firm, home price gains have enabled many Americans to move up when purchasing a new property. “An important sign of a healthy and sustainable recovery is increased housing turnover driven by trade-up buying, which is more or less discretionary spending,” said FNC director of research Yanling Mayer. “These buyers are typically more responsive to market conditions and financial incentives.”

Mortgage rates generally are on the rise (although rates dipped slightly during December 2013), so buyers are recognizing that the historically low rates of today might not be around tomorrow. Move-up buyers with sufficient equity are finding that now is the time to make a purchase. Eric Tan, a Redfin real estate agent in Los Angeles, said that these move-up buyers know that if they don’t act now, they may be kicking themselves in the months ahead.

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The Basics of the Closing Process

Buying a house is usually one of the largest transactions of your life. Without proper advice and guidance from an experienced professional, the process can be overwhelming. A little help can go a long way towards easing the stress of a home purchase. Here are the basics of what you can expect once you have finally found the home of your choice. 

Starting the process: If a real estate agent is involved, he or she will prepare the contract. If not, I recommend that an attorney prepare the contract to make sure it follows statutory requirements and that your interests are adequately

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The Advantages of Home Ownership

Ahh, Pickwick Apartments. As young newlyweds, my wife Leslie and I rented a two-bedroom apartment on Elray Drive. It had a large kitchen, a washer-dryer, and a beautiful walk-in closet.

Our initial monthly rent, in the spring of 1974, was $190. As time passed we were blessed with two beautiful daughters, and the second bedroom had ample space for them. The monthly rent had increased to $210.

The landlord took care of any repairs. There was no grass to cut, no property taxes to pay, and when a neighbor complained about our sukkah, we were given two weeks to take it down.

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Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent

Buying a home is usually the biggest purchase of one’s life. You can’t afford to be uninformed and leave things to chance. You are more likely to be satisfied with your purchase if you understand each step, as well as the nuances of market conditions in the area in which you want to buy. At present, in our community, the demand for homes in some areas has exceeded the supply. Finding the right home in the right location at the right price can be difficult. Good houses sell quickly, sometimes with several competing offers. Having the guidance of a seasoned professional, who understands the market dynamics, can be the difference between getting what you want or having to settle for something else.

Being an informed buyer and getting the right assistance means working with an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). This can make a big difference in your home buying experience and final results. The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), a subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), award the ABR professional designation to experienced real estate agents who have completed advanced training on representing the interests of home buyers.

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Understanding Title Companies

Understanding Title Companies


People often ask, “What does a title company do and why do I need one?”                       

A title company makes it possible for a homeowner to pass ownership (title) to a new owner. Buying a home is easily the largest single purchase a person will make in their lifetime, so it is crucial that no title surprises lurk behind the scenes. To protect the buyer, a title professional will search the public records for any problems with the home’s title. This search typically involves a review of land records going back many years. More than a third of all title

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