Solar panels can be a lien

Read this informative advisory for those of you considering a solar panel installation on your home.

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The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has enacted new RESPA regulations which will require all residential lenders to insure that their vendors, including settlement agents, are in compliance with new requirements for the security of closings and borrower’s non-public information.   As a result of these regulations, the American Land Title Association has promulgated “ALTA Best Practices” .  My office is fully in compliance with ALTA’s Best Practices as follows:

  • Licensing – I am licensed as an Attorney with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and maintain insurance licensing for title insurance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island;
  • Escrow Account – My office has adopted and maintains appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation
  • Privacy and Security – My office has adopted and maintains a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information (NPI) as required by local, state and federal law
  • Recording and Pricing – My office has adopted standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that help ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws as applicable to the Settlement process
  • Policy Issuance – My office has adopted and maintains written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance
  • Insurance – My office maintains appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage
  • Customer Complaints – My office has adopted and maintains procedures for resolving consumer complaints.

The  security of the non-public information of your residential lending customers continues to be of  the highest importance  to my office.

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Beware of Deed Copy Scam

Folks who recently closed on a purchase are receiving a scam letter directing them to pay $85 for a copy of their recorded deed!  Do not comply with this letter.  Read the story in the Attleboro Sun.

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Docket Online – Probate and Land Courts

A huge development in Massachusetts – we can now search the dockets for Probate Court for any County and the Massachusetts Land Court in Boston.  For those of us who depend on providing our clients with timely information and updates on their cases, this new tool will be invaluable.

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New Residential Furnaces at 90%

Food for thought for any home sellers having a home with a furnace in need of upgrade.  Starting May 1, 2013, any furnace installed in a Massachusetts home must have a 90% efficiency rating.  This will add thousands to the cost of the upgrade.  Should you do your upgrade now ….. before May 1st?  In any event, be prepared for home inspectors who bring this issue up this coming year.

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Massachusetts Housing Improving?

I am seeing some slight improvements but I think it may be a slow and steady pace of climbing home prices.Image

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Massachusetts Homesteads – Know Your Seller’s Marital Status

As of March 16th, Massachusetts has a new Homestead law and if you are a seller’s broker or lawyer, you need to know a little bit more about your client.  Since Homestead on a person’s residence is now automatic for $125,000 of protection, all deeds will now need to declare the seller’s marital status.  This is because of the fact that even a non-owner spouse has a homestead interest in the property.  If there is a non-owner spouse, he or she will now be required to attend the closing to sign a deed or a release of his or her homestead rights.  If there is no spouse of the seller, the seller will now need to sign an affidavit certifying that fact.  It can get trickier if you have married siblings who own property together.  The non-owner spouses of the siblings will now need to be involved.  Of course, homestead only applies to the primary residence of an owner but since homestead is now automatic, you will find that there will be certifications required for any residential property sales by all owners and their spouses. 

These changes apply to refinances as well.  Non-owner spouses will now need to go the the refi closing in order to sign off on their homestead rights as to the bank.  Finally, to make it even more interesting, closing attorneys are now required to offer borrowers and buyers the option of signing a “Homestead Election” form which would afford them additional protection up to $500,000.

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Snow’s Gone – – Spring is here!

Just a pile or two here or there.  Can it be over?  True sign of Spring will be home buyers making their way to all those open houses!  Prices are down, rates are down, there are deals to be made.  I’m optimistic for a modest recovery this Spring.

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End of Year Push

Well we’ve all had our fill of turkey and pie.  Time to get the deals done from Black Friday to New Years.  Let’s end 2010 with a bang.

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