Escrow News

What is Escrow?

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As you enter the official process of making an offer or negotiating terms, escrow works as the secure place of holding important items, like the buyer’s earnest money. Your escrow team will safely hold these funds while all of the other details are worked out between the buyer and seller. Like Escrow of the West, all escrow teams act as third party, impartial members of the home-buying experience. Escrow protects all parties involved to ensure no funds and/or property are exchanged until all appropriate conditions have been met. Beyond funds, other required documents may be handled by the impartial escrow team. These contingencies include home inspections, repairs, and other tasks needed to be completed by the buyer or seller before the completed transaction. Once each item on the checklist is met, the transaction moves to the next step until the property is finally sold. If you’re thinking, at this point, escrow seems like an unnecessary step, its purpose is to protect both the buyer and seller and can even work in your favor in the longterm. For the buyer, escrow works as the checks-and-balances for the entire process, confirming every piece of the puzzle has been completed and you’re getting your...
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Why the Housing Boom is Good for Minority Homeownership

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Source: Real Estate Economy Watch | Post Date December 15, 2015 | Reported by Staff Fourteen years ago, improving minority homeownership was front burner issue.  In 2002, the Bush Administration even set a goal of expanding the number of minorities who owned their own homes by 5.5 million—approximately the number of existing homes sold in a very good year. The subprime crash and housing depression put a sudden end to that effort.  Minority homeownership plummeted and, surprisingly, never achieved the attention from top policy makers in two Obama administrations that it enjoyed under their predecessor. For homeownership in general, the housing depression was depressing.  For minorities, it was a disaster.  For African-American households, the homeownership rate peaked at 49.4 percent in 2004 and bottomed out at 41.9 in the first quarter of this year, a decline of 7.5 points.  Hispanic American homeownership reached a high of 49.8 percent in 2006 and fell to 44.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, down 5.7 points.  By comparison, white non-Hispanic homeownership peaked at 76 percent in 2004 and fell to 73.4 percent by 2013 when the housing recovery officially began, a decline of only 2.6 points. Do Higher Prices Help Minorities?...
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China’s Greenland “Tops Off” First Residential Tower on Downtown Los Angeles

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Source Xinhua News Agency | Post Date December 8, 2015 | Reported by Staff LOS ANGELES, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — Greenland USA, a branch of China’s real estate developer Greenland, held on Tuesday the “topping out” ceremony of its first residential tower in downtown Los Angeles, placing the last steel beam on the 38-story tower. It is also the first residential tower of the 1-billion-U.S.-dollar Metropolis project. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the 6.3-acre(25495.2 square meters) project features three residential towers and a boutique hotel. “As Greenland USA’s first acquisition, the top-off of the first tower at Metropolis is a particularly proud moment for us,” said Gang Hu, interim CEO, Greenland USA. “Once complete, Metropolis will invigorate the immediate area and create a whole new dynamic to downtown.” “To reach its full potential as an urban destination, it is critical that downtown Los Angeles expand its population beyond nine-to-five workers to 24/7 residents,” said Taotao Song, general manager, Los Angeles, Greenland USA. Residents could move into the first tower which houses more than 300 homes as early as the end of 2016, according to Song. To mark the moment, Greenland USA’s employees, partners and more than 500 construction workers signed the last...
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Corelogic Forecast: Price Increases to Cool to 5.2 Percent Next Year

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Source: Real Estate Economy Watch | Post Date December 2, 2015 | Reported by Staff Home prices, including distressed sales, are projected to rise by 5.2 percent from October 2015 to October 2016 after rising 6.8 percent nationally for the single family combined tier this past October, an increase of 1.0 percent for the national single family combined tier, according to CoreLogic’s latest price report. Including distressed sales, the U.S. has experienced 44 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.  However, the national increase is no longer posting double-digits and prices for homes in the single-family combined tier are forecasted to rise by only 0.1 percent in November 2015.   CoreLogic forecasts former foreclosure hotbeds in Arizona, Nevada and Florida will be overvalued in five years. National single-family home prices remain 6.8% below peak values recorded in April 2006. 6.8%. However, national single-family home prices are forecasted to reach a new peak level in April 2017. “Many markets have experienced a low inventory of homes for sale along with strong buyer demand, which is sustaining upward pressure on home prices. These conditions are likely to persist as we enter 2016,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “A year from now, as...
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Are 39 Percent of Appraisals Wrong?

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Real Estate Economy Watch | Post Date October 23, 2015 | Reported by Staff A study by a company that analyzes appraisals to reduce lender risk found that 39 percent of more than 300,000 appraisals contained property quality or condition ratings that conflicted with previous ratings of the same property. Conflicting property condition and quality ratings cause delays that generally range from one day to several days—a costly and risky setback for lenders concerned with rate locks, and deadline-oriented guidelines and regulations. They can result from a number of factors, such as human error, appraiser subjectivity, actual changes in the property’s condition or quality, or even possible appraisal fraud, which has been cited by the GSEs as the top origination fraud scheme trend in 2014. “More than one in three appraisals contain inconsistencies in property ratings,” said Phil Huff, president and CEO of Platinum Data Solutions. “Causes aren’t easy to determine, so they need to be investigated. Doing this after UCDP submission opens lenders up to numerous issues. Costly delays are just one of them.” Fannie Mae’s new Collateral Underwriter (CU) identifies rating inconsistencies on loans submitted through the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) by comparing the appraisal’s data with...
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Confidence in Recouping Purchase Price Soars

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Source: Real Estate Economy Watch | Post Date October 15, 2015 | Reported by Staff Over the past two years, homeowners’ confidence in recouping the price they paid for their homes has risen 29 percent.  A biennial opinion survey on housing issued conducted by the National Associate of Realtors shows that fears of selling have abated dramatically since the housing recover hit high gear two years ago. Nearly three quarters of owners (71%) disagreed with the statement that “I do not think I could sell my house for what I paid for it”, up from 55 percent in 2009, 2010 and 2013.  Only 27 percent agreed, down from 42 percent in 2013. Only 23 percent said they would like to move but don’t think they could sell heir house in the current market, down from 38 percent two years ago.  Some 74 percent of owners said that would like to move, but think they could sell their house, an increase of 17 points over last years. Seller confidence extends to their outlook for next year.  Four in ten adults in the survey (41%) expect prices to rise in their market. Some 47 percent said prices will stay the same and...
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Closing: Timing is Everything

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Source: Real Estate Economy Watch | Post Date January 16, 2015 | Reported by Staff A new analysis of 2014 existing sales by Danielle Hale, NAR’s Director of Housing Statistics, sheds light on the question many buyers and sellers want to know—what’s the best day to schedule a closing. A list of top closing days of 2014 shows that the last business day of a month and Fridays are the most popular days to complete a home sale transaction.  In fact, these days are so popular that the top 25 closing days are expected to account for roughly a quarter of all home sale closings for the year. The top seven closing days were the last business days of June, May, August, April, July, September, and February.  The next 18 most popular days were all Fridays except for three dates, all of which were at or near the end of the month: Monday, March 31, Thursday, October 30, and Wednesday, July 30. Because the ranking was compiled with data that was not seasonally adjusted, spring and summer days figure prominently in the top of the list, but all seasons are represented. This day by day data confirms the unadjusted monthly...
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