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maximum fha loan amount

Federal Housing Finance Agency “FHFA” Raises FHA Loan Limits for 2017 – First Increase Since 2006

FHFA Announces Increase in Maximum Loan Amounts for Conforming “FHA” Mortgages

There is some good news for those people looking to buy a home in 2017. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, has announced that for the first time since 2006, they will be raising the maximum conforming loan limits for FHA mortgages.

FHA mortgages, for those that may not be aware, are those that are insured by the Federal government. FHA mortgage loans are popular because they allow prospective home buyers to put as little as 3.5% down to buy.

How is the FHA Maximum Mortgage Loan Limit Calculated?

The baseline loan limit for FHA mortgages was set back in 2008 through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). HERA sets the baseline FHA mortgage loan limit at $417,000 with a yearly review and adjustment based on the average home price nationally. However, we all know that home prices vary greatly across the country. Therefore, the FHA raises mortgage loan limits in high-cost areas; where the median (or mid point) of home values is greater than 115% of the baseline loan amount. The maximum increase in high-cost areas is to 150% of the baseline.

What are the 2017 FHA Mortgage Loan Limits?

The FHFA Housing Price Index for the third quarter of 2016 increased for the first time since the third quarter of 2007, on which the HERA baseline was calculated. The increase in the Housing Price Index between the two periods was about 1.7%. Therefore, the baseline FHA loan amount for conforming mortgages is being increased from $417,000 to $424,100. The maximum FHA mortgage loan amount is further increased to up to $636,150 for high-cost areas.

Fairfield County, Connecticut is considered to be a high-cost area under the FHA guidelines. The Maximum FHA mortgage loan amount for Fairfield County is $601,450. This is just $34,700 less than the FHA absolutely maximum allowable mortgage loan amount for the highest cost areas in the country.

Why Buy With An FHA Loan?

A stated above, FHA mortgage loans are popular because they allow the Buyer to put less than 20% down, often as low as 3.5%. Additional benefits are refinancing without appraisals and FHA mortgages being assumable by future Buyers.

However, FHA loans require mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for any loans with less than 20% down. There is both an “up front” fee that is paid at closing as well as monthly payments. MIP is an additional expense that home buyers should consider when deciding between FHA and other loan types.

 

 

What is the Connecticut Real Estate Conveyance Tax?

What is a real estate conveyance tax?

A real estate conveyance tax is a tax paid by the “Transferor” in a real estate transaction, typically this is a Seller. However, there are some clever Sellers that put the burden of paying the conveyance tax on the Buyer in the real estate purchase and sale contract. The conveyance tax is paid BOTH to the State of Connecticut as well as to the municipality in which the property is located. The real estate conveyance tax MUST be paid to the Town Clerk (note: not the tax collector) at the time that the Deed transferring title is recorded on the land records. You must also present a completed  and signed OP-236 – Connecticut Real Estate Conveyance Tax Return. A fillable online version is available here.

How much is the real estate conveyance tax in Connecticut?

The amount of the conveyance tax is dependent on the value of the real estate property being conveyed. In Connecticut, the real estate conveyance tax is .0075 of every dollar to the State (thts 3/4 of 1%) and .0050 of every dollar to the local municipality (that’s 1/2 of 1%).

If a home sells for $200,000.00, the Seller will have to pay $1,500.00 to the State of Connecticut, and $1,000.00 to the Town.

Are there any exceptions to the Connecticut Real Estate Conveyance Tax?

There are 22 exceptions that are noted on the back of the instructions to the return. The most commonly used are conveyances between spouses, conveyance due to foreclosure, and conveyance for little or no consideration.

About the Real Estate Binder

About the Real Estate Binder

What is a Binder? 

A real estate binder is an agreement that is commonly drafted by real estate agents. It is a document that contains all the terms of a proposed real estate transaction and usually contains the names of both parties, who their real estate agents are, who their attorneys are, the address of the subject real estate property and of the course the purchase price.

What is the Purpose of a Real Estate Binder?

A binder serves two main functions: to outline the basic terms of the agreement and to commemorate the intent of both buyer and seller to enter into the deal.

However, is the real estate binder a binding contract? After all, it is in writing and signed by both parties, it identifies the property and the sales price. Sometimes there is even an earnest money deposit that is made. Isn’t that enough to bind the two parties, as the ame binder implies?

Whether the binder is a binding contract depends on the customs of your area and the language of the binder. Even within Connecticut, there are very different customs between say Fairfield County and the Hartford Area. In Fairfield County it is custom for attorneys to draft the final contracts. Therefore, it is common to find binders with language that calls for a further “superseding contract between the parties to incorporate the details stated herein”. In northern parts of Connecticut, some real estate agents specifically draft binders that are meant to binding real estate purchase and sale contracts, with language that allows for an attorney review period that is often 7 or 14 days from date of signing.

The three factors to look for when deciding when a binder is meant to be the contract are (1) does the language indicate intent to be bound without further contracting, (2) due the circumstances of the transaction indicate an intent to be bound, and (3) was the purpose of signing the binder to bind the parties to a final deal?

What Are the Real Estate Binder & Contract Customs in Fairfield County, Connecticut?

With the Fairfield County custom being that the attorneys draft the real estate purchase and sale agreement, how does this process with binders play out? It all starts with the real estate agents.

The real estate agents in Fairfield County know the custom and therefore, they use binders that call for a superseding contract. Many realtors do not use a binder, per se, but chose instead to use an “Information Sheet”, which has all the same contents as a binder, but does not have the signatures of the buyer or seller.

The binder or information sheet need to find their way to the Seller’s attorney. The Seller’s attorney then drafts a proposed contract using those terms and sends two unsigned copies to the Buyer’s Attorney. The Buyer’s Attorney reviews the contract, negotiates any changes that may be necessary, and has his client sign both originals, as well as provide a check for any deposit amounts due at contract signing. Both originals and the deposit funds are sent back to the Seller’s Attorney, who has the Seller sign both originals, and returns one original to Buyer’s Attorney and keeping one original for their file.

Get A Real Estate Attorney ASAP

Please understand that the sooner you get a real estate attorney involved in your transaction the better. You should have somebody to call and ask questions about the documents you are expected to sign BEFORE you sign them. After you sign, all we can do as your real estate attorney is explain what it says and means.

 

Multi-Family Disclosure

New Connecticut Fair Housing Notice Disclosure for Purchase or Sale of Multi-Family Real Estate

CT Multi-Family Purchase Disclosure Requirement

Connecticut Creates Mandatory Disclosure Place Buyers of Multi-Family Real Estate On Notice of Equal Opportunity Housing Laws

We live in a heavily regulated legal landscape. Often we perform a task we think is relatively simple, but it may expose us to a host of legal issues, some of which we may not even be aware of. However, as the old saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

In an attempt to weed out some of the lack of understanding in housing laws, the Connecticut Senate passed Public Act No. 16-16, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISCLOSURE OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AND FAIR HOUSING LAWS, which went into effect on September 1st, 2016.

The law creates a mandatory disclosure that must be PROVIDED BY THE SELLER and SIGNED BY THE BUYER any time a multifamily property is bought/sold.

What is a Multi-Family Property?

A multifamily property is any piece of residential real estate containing two or more units. These are very popular in cities and big towns such as Danbury, Waterbury, Stamford, Norwalk, etc. They are often bought by real estate investors who rent the individual units out to tenants.

What is in the Multi-Family Disclosure?

The disclosure places the Buyer on notice of State and Federal fair housing laws. It notifies the Buyer that race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, creed/religion, disability, family status, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age and marital status are all Protected Classes for which it is illegal to discriminate against in the housing market.

Further, it gives examples of fair housing violations based on those protected classes:

  1. Refusing to rent, sell or show the dwelling;
  2. Steering towards certain neighborhoods;
  3. Increasing security deposits;
  4. Requiring “employment” when other legal sources of income exist;
  5. Failure to negotiate or refusal of rent based on source of income;
  6. Refusing to waive “no pet” policies for tenants with disabilities; and
  7. Refusing to allow tenants with disabilities to build a ramp.

What needs to be done with the Multi-Family Disclosure?

Idealy, the Multi-Family Disclosure will be attached by the Seller to the Purchase and Sale Agreement, Exchange Agreement, or Lease with Option to Buy. The Multi-Family Disclosure is then signed by the Buyer when signing the agreement/contract. However, the Public Act specifically protects the validity of Agreements where the Seller does not attach the Multi-Family Disclosure; those contract with still be enforceable.

If the Multi-Family Disclosure is not attached to the contract, it must be signed before or at closing on the multi-family property.

Where Can Realtors and Sellers get a copy of the Multi-Family Disclosure?

The Multi-Family Disclosure can be found on the Commission for Human Rights and Opportunities website, and is also attached hereto in JPEG format.

What is the CFPB Closing Disclosure Addendum to Real Estate Purchase & Sale Contract

What is the CFPB Addendum and Why is it Necessary?

The CFPB Closing Disclosure addendum is a document that is often attached to standard form real estate purchase and sales contracts after October 1, 2015. It became necessary because the CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, passed TRID, TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures, a law that changed the settlement practices for real estate purchases and sales.

The purpose of the CFPB Addendum is to set forth the respective responsibilities of Buyer and Seller, and to specify the consequences of failure to comply.

How does the CFPB Addendum modify the Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement?

Due to the strict requirements of TRID, lenders for Buyers have strict time line requirements. Since they have to have the Closing Disclosure acknowledged by the Buyer at least 3 business days before closing, most Lenders are requesting final figures from all parties 10 days and sometimes even 14 days before closing.

The CFPB Addendum contains terms that:

  1. Make parties aware that CFPB regulations of the Lender may cause delays ;
  2. Make parties aware that any delay in getting the Lender figures may result in financial hardship for the other party, and lists the information that must provided to the Lender;
  3. Waive any “time is of the essence” requirements in the contract;
  4. Seller to provide figures 10 days before closing or waive their right to collect the adjustments;
  5. Address discrepancies in real estate adjustment figures;
  6. Seller agrees to meet Buyer requirements for any discovered condition issues during walk through;
  7. Waive any Seller damages that may result from Closing Disclosure acknowledgement delays.

It should be noted that the CFPB Addendum is heavily in favor of the Buyer and drafted against the Seller. It protects the Buyer from Seller delays and Protects the Buyer from Lender delays, however, it places the burden of Buyer or Lender delays on the Seller without compensation.