Cybercrimes in the Real Estate Market – What Homebuyers Should Know

Illinois real estate attorneysCybercrimes may not be a new issue, but they have become more prominent over the past few years. In fact, you may have even heard about some of the biggest breaches, such as those that happened to Equifax and Yahoo. What you may not know is that these crimes are found in almost every industry, including the real estate industry, and changing your passwords, freezing your credit report, and upgrading your computer security may not save you. Learn what homebuyers are up against and discover how you can protect yourself during the closing transaction on your new home purchase.

Beware of Real Estate Closing Transaction Scams

Over the past year, hackers have intercepted more than $1 billion in real estate transaction money. Mostly, they target large transactions, but even smaller ones can be at risk. Two recent cases – one last May, in which a couple lost $1.57 million on a wire transfer of their settlement funds and one in January, in which a Denver couple lost $272,536 of their down payment – are prime examples of just how varied the targeted transactions can be.

Hackers start the process by finding an opening in the system or email account of a title company or real estate agent. They then track upcoming home purchases to determine which ones are scheduled for payment. Once they find a victim, they send an email, posing as the escrow agent or title company, and instruct the home buyer to wire funds to an account. The homebuyer assumes it is the escrow account, but it is not. Instead, it is a bank account owned by the criminal. Once the funds are in their account, they withdraw the money and disappear.

Protecting Yourself from Real Estate Transaction Scams

Homebuyers can protect themselves from real estate transaction scams by ensuring they verify all emails in which funds are requested. Contact the individual that sent it, either in person or over the phone, before wiring any money. An experienced real estate attorney can also provide protection by handling all the legal aspects of your home purchase transaction.

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we protect your interests during residential real estate transactions. Dedicated and experienced, we can review contracts, negotiate better deals, and even help protect you from hackers. Learn more about how our seasoned DuPage County real estate attorneys can assist with the purchase of your new home. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule your personalized consultation with us today.


Buying Foreclosed or Bank-Owned Property

Naperville real estate lawyersPurchasing a foreclosed or bank-owned property can save you a lot of money on the purchase of your home or investment property. However, this is not always the case. Instead, buyers need to be diligent, resourceful, and savvy to decrease the odds of a financial loss. The following information can help you learn more about buying a Real Estate Owned (REO) property, and it explains how an experienced real estate lawyer can assist with the process.

Be a Savvy Home Buyer

Whether you are investing with the hopes of one day making a return on the property, or are planning on making an REO your full-time residence, be a savvy home buyer. Make sure you are pre-approved for a loan or have the cash on hand to smooth the process, and know that some homes (particularly those with significant damage) may be ineligible for certain types of loans. If the property is distressed, an FHA loan may be your best option. Just keep in mind that some buyers might not be eligible for an FHA loan. In such situations, cash may be required.

Get Your Own Appraisal and Inspection

Although the bank may have already conducted an appraisal and inspection of the property, it is important that buyers obtain their own, separate from the bank. Doing so ensures that the buyer is aware of any major issues, and sometimes, separate inspections turn up damage that was not discovered during the bank’s inspection or appraisal. Remember: it is critical that you know what you are getting into. Otherwise, you run the risk of financial loss, either through the home purchase price or while trying to make repairs.

Never Go Through the REO Buying Process Alone

While the state does not require the assistance of an attorney while buying a home, the assistance of an experienced real estate attorney is still encouraged. Able to protect your interests, assist you in negotiations, and skilled in navigating some of the most complex homeowner transactions, an attorney can improve your odds of a positive outcome.

Do not take chances with your money or investment property. Instead, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance with the purchase of your REO home or investment property. Backed by more than 40 of legal experience, our DuPage County real estate lawyers offer comprehensive and personalized real estate transaction services to meet your needs. Schedule a personalized consultation to get started. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 today.


Deconversion of a Condominium – Is a Bulk Sale the Right Choice for Your Property?

Illinois real estate lawyersAcross the country, condominiums are suffering. Some units are sorely outdated. Others are unable to maintain an occupancy rate that can sustain the association’s annual investment. Whatever the reason, deconversion may be the answer. However, it may not be the appropriate option for every condominium association. Learn more about the deconversion of condominium units, including how to tell if it may be the right choice for your property.

The Rise of Deconversion

In the early 2000s, condominium units were all the rage. They were so popular, in fact, that many apartment complexes were converted into condos. Sadly, the boom died out, which is why many condominium associations are now struggling to fill their units. This lack of occupancy, paired with the cost of maintenance and upkeep, has been the catalyst for the rise in deconversions – a process in which condominium units are converted to apartments.

Potential Benefits of a Deconversion

The bulk sale of a condominium unit may be appealing to owners and associations because it offers a way out. Deconversion may also fetch a better price than other sale options, such as fire sales. It may also offer everyone a chance to bow out of their obligation in less time than it would take to sell the units individually. Still, deconversions do have their potential drawbacks.

Potential Risks of a Deconversion

Deconversions may give owners and associations a fast out, and they may offer a better price, but there are also some serious risks that owners should be aware of before agreeing to sell. The first is that a bulk sale may result in an unfair price for some. The reason behind this is that condo owners are supposed to split the proceeds, based on their percentage of ownership; if one unit looks the same as it when it was built, but another has significant and costly upgrades, the latter owner may lose out. Still, there are provisions that can protect owners, such as the right to appeal the value given to their unit.

Contact Our Seasoned DuPage County Real Estate Attorneys

If your condominium association is considering a bulk-sale of the property, or if you are an association interested in deconversion, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Dedicated and experienced, we can examine your situation and help you determine the most appropriate path for you. Get started with a personalized consultation. Call our DuPage County real estate attorneys at 630-665-2500 today.