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Lake Forest IL foreclosure defense attorneyAfter nearly a year, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to affect people across the United States. Even though vaccines are currently being administered, they are being rolled out slowly, and it will most likely be several more months before enough people can be vaccinated to allow a return to the activities that people enjoyed before the pandemic. Unfortunately, this means that those who have been struggling financially may continue to face difficulty and uncertainty for the time being. However, federal and state government organizations have offered a variety of different forms of relief, and programs may be available to help homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19 avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosure Moratorium Extended

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which went into effect in March of 2020, placed a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). While this moratorium was initially intended to last through July 24, 2020, it has been extended several times as the pandemic has continued to affect people and families. Most recently, the FHA announced that the moratorium will extend through February 28, 2021. The moratorium applies to new foreclosure proceedings and any foreclosures which are already in process.

Options for Mortgage Forbearance and Bankruptcy

In addition to the moratorium on foreclosures, the FHA is allowing homeowners to request a forbearance from mortgage lenders. A forbearance will allow a homeowner to defer or reduce mortgage payments for up to six months, and it may be extended for an additional six months if needed. The Consolidated Appropriation Act (CAA), which was passed by the U.S. Congress on December 27, 2020, prohibited lenders from denying forbearances or foreclosure relief to lenders who had previously filed for bankruptcy or who are involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

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Libertyville IL real estate property easement attorneyThere are a wide variety of issues that can play a role in a real estate transaction. One factor that both buyers and sellers should be aware of is whether there are any easements that apply to a property. Since easements are considered encumbrances that affect an owner’s ability to use their property, they should be addressed during the home closing process, and the parties should be sure to understand their rights and whether any changes to these agreements will be necessary.

Types of Easements on Illinois Real Estate Property

An easement is an agreement that provides someone other than a property’s owner with the right to use a portion of the property. Easements may be affirmative, meaning that they grant a party the right to use a specific part of a property for specific purposes, or they may be negative, meaning that they prohibit a property from being used in certain ways. Affirmative easements may include agreements that allow neighbors to use shared driveways or the rights of utility companies to place or maintain items such as power lines, gas lines, or water mains. Negative easements may restrict a property owner from erecting structures on a part of a property that is environmentally protected or from making additions to a home that would block a neighbor’s view.

Express easements are agreements that are set down in writing, such as in the deed to a property, a court order, or a legal agreement signed by a property owner and other parties. Easements may also be created by implication or by necessity, such as when a property owner cannot access their property without using a road or driveway on a neighbor’s property.

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Libertyville IL home closing attorneyHomeownership is a primary part of the American dream for many people. Those who are planning to buy a house will often put months or years of preparation into this process, including saving money for a down payment, building good credit, and meeting the requirements to obtain a mortgage. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to delay these plans, and the fluctuating real estate market has caused some to wonder whether now is a good time to buy a home at all. Those who have the means to commit to this type of large transaction may be able to take advantage of certain benefits in the current market, but they should also be aware of pandemic-related issues that could affect them.

Buying a Home During COVID-19

One advantage that potential homeowners can realize during the pandemic is a low interest rate. The Federal Reserve has lowered these rates to boost the economy, and this means that home buyers may be able to obtain more affordable mortgages than they could before. However, many mortgage lenders are currently hesitant to offer new loans, since job losses or other economic issues may cause unexpected problems that could affect a homeowner’s ability to make ongoing payments. Those who are preparing to buy a home may want to work on building their credit to ensure that they can qualify for a mortgage.

The process of buying a home has also changed somewhat due to concerns about infections. In many cases, the opportunities to make in-person visits to a potential new home may be limited, and buyers may need to rely on virtual visits and videoconferencing with real estate agents. These restrictions may also affect home inspections, and buyers may be concerned about their ability to identify defects in a home that need to be repaired or other issues that may need to be addressed. 

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Libertyville IL foreclosure defense lawyerOver the past decade, the threat of foreclosure has been ever-present for many homeowners. Those who are struggling financially may be concerned that missed or late mortgage payments will result in the loss of their home. However, many homeowners who have refinanced their homes or obtained additional mortgages may be unsure about how these loans will affect their financial situation, including whether mortgage lenders may foreclose if a person is in default on a second mortgage. By working with a bankruptcy attorney to understand these issues, homeowners can determine their best options for defending against foreclosure and managing their debts.

Defaulting on a Second Mortgage

A mortgage is a secured debt, and this means that if a homeowner defaults on the debt, the lender can foreclose and repossess the house. This is true not only for the initial mortgage on a home, but also for any subsequent mortgages or home equity loans. However, during foreclosure, the first mortgage will take priority, and lenders of second or subsequent mortgages will only receive payments if the amount obtained through a foreclosure sale exceeds the amount owed on the first mortgage.

If a home is “underwater,” meaning that its current value is less than the amount owed on the initial mortgage and any subsequent mortgages, lenders may not want to foreclose on a second mortgage, since they will likely not receive full payment of the amount owed. However, these lenders may pursue other options for repayment, such as filing a lawsuit against the homeowner to collect the amount owed. In many cases, homeowners may be able to negotiate with these lenders to determine how they can become current on a loan, since other options may not be financially beneficial for the lender.

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Libertyville property lien attorneyResidential real estate transactions can be very complex, and whether you are buying or selling a home, you will need to address a variety of legal issues and meet a number of requirements. As you prepare for your home closing, you may encounter obstacles that affect your ability to complete the transaction. One issue that may arise is the discovery of liens against a property, and these will need to be cleared before your closing date.

Understanding and Clearing Liens

A lien is an unpaid debt that is attached to a property. There are a variety of situations in which liens may exist, including:

  • Mechanic’s liens - If a contractor or subcontractor was not fully paid for construction work done on a property, they may file this type of lien to recover the money they are owed.

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