November 20, 2008 Newsletter

Market conditions are staying fairly constant with no dramatic changes foreseen. Interest rates on this date (November 18, 2008) are at 6.00 % with no points or 5.875% with ½ point. Anticipate some drop once the Federal government works through how the bail out is going to work.

We get inquiries from clients as to the drop in value of properties. Maryland statistics acquired from confirmed sales indicate that while there have been drops, the general market is faring better here than in many states.

Maryland has taken a position with lenders in an effort to have more loan modifications and less foreclosures. In an agreement with six major lenders in Maryland, once the lender receives a loan mitigation application, they must acknowledge receipt within 5 days and come to a decision within 2 months. During that time, they will not further a cause of action to foreclose. While 2 months seems like a long time period, we explained in our last newsletter that the lenders need that time to reach a consensus with the investors on a loan, as its often more than one investor.

Recently, we have been involved in claims work for our title insurer, rectifying problems caused by errors or oversights. We strongly urge you not to use an out of state title company to handle your transaction. They clearly do not understand Maryland requirements and the nuances of our industry. In one instance, an out of state title company never recorded a deed, thinking the front foot assessment shown on the county’s lien certificate had to be paid in full by the sellers at settlement (it doesn’t). That assessment is prorated over thirty years and makes up a small portion of your annual tax bill. They wrote the sellers for the amount (around $2800.00), and when they did not receive it, they never went to record. That title company is now out of business.

We are experiencing an upswing in representing clients in contracts and in dealing with lenders. Our extensive experience in the real estate field makes us the right choice in these “exciting” times.

We want to be your title company and law firm. Call me at 410 884 1160 x3007 or write at tee.tillman@colonytitle.com.