Canner Law & Associates, P.C.

Residential Real Estate Law • Buyer Representation • Seller Representation • Condominium Law • Landlord/Tenant Law

2019 Real Estate Market Outlook

2019 Real Estate Market Outlook

Considering the financial markets volatility, the 2019 financial year has started off on an improved note led by the decrease in interest rates and the rebounding stock market.  This paints an optimistic picture of what could be in store for the real estate market in 2019.

Although pundits are once again talking about a softening of the real estate market, there are noteworthy signs that point to a positive year when it comes to real estate, both with transactions and appreciation. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate has dipped to 4.51 percent, bringing the rates back to where they were in May, 2018.  During this time in 2018, inventory was at it lowest in parts of the country, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.  Additionally, in May, the median price of homes in the state rose over the $400,000 mark for the first time in 2018. These improvements, while not a direct correlation to interest rates, do positively influence consumer confidence and stimulate the market with refinances. The stock market has seen an 8% surge since Christmas, which will also contribute to an increased sense of consumer confidence.

While it is expected that inventory is always thin in the winter, the (relatively) mild winter weather in the Northeast (to date) and an active pool of buyers, due to the lower inventory available, makes January a great time to list a home or condominium.  Historically, buyers who are out shopping in the winter have a motivation for which cold, sleet and snow will not stop them from pursuing their home search and thus, equates to more serious buyers who are ready to make decisions quickly.

Additionally, for buyers, purchasing earlier than anticipated carries the advantage of eliminating much of the competition that is prevalent in the spring market.  Submitting an offer prior to the onslaught of buyer competition that materializes during the spring market carries three distinct advantages; first, it  allows the buyer to take advantage of lower interest rates, second,  there is a greater likelihood of getting the offer accepted, because the buyers have fewer people to bid against and, last, but not least, it affords a buyer the opportunity to include contingencies (e.g., finance and inspection) that might not be favorable to winning the bid when going up against many other bidders.

So, while the news can be confusing, all key indicators point to a strong year in real estate for 2019, which, as the year unfolds will continue to increase confidence to fuel the market even more.  

updated: 4 days ago

Closing the Gap In the Real Estate Closing Process.

Watch the video to understand the Real Estate closing process and the new technologies implemented to create a simplified and smooth closing process for all parties involved!

Click here to read the full article!

updated: 1 week ago

Understanding Permits

Understanding Permits

When purchasing a house or condominium, it is a good idea to check with the municipality to determine if there are any open permits on the property. Most municipalities have an on-line database, which makes the research easier. If a permit is located, then it is reasonable to request that the Seller remedy the issue. Possible outcomes of a request include: -Seller to make any necessary repairs and the municipality signs off and closes out permits prior to closing; -Seller provides a Buyer credit; -Seller does not agree to remedy some of the prior owner permits. If the open permits issue is not resolved to a Buyer’s satisfaction, then a negotiation can ensue. Factors to consider in the negotiation are whether there are other offers, likelihood of another Buyer raising the same issue, feasibility of the municipality signing off on remaining open permits (in Boston, for example, the city often cannot close out older permits), and the cost of the work (if) needed to close out the permit(s). A skilled real estate attorney can provide additional guidance.

updated: 1 week ago

Breaking Down the Tax Plan: 5 Points to Consider

Breaking Down the Tax Plan 5 Points to Consider

With the passage of the tax bill and its immediate implementation, there has been a lot of confusion. To help clear up that haze, below is six quick summaries of points that directly affect housing. While these points are based on the facts of the tax plan itself, the interpretation of how this will help – or hurt – is entirely up to you.

  • Capital gain exclusion is left unchanged. This was one of the larger debates of the tax plan, and many are happy to see it left unchanged. Why? Well, the capital gain is the difference between the price you paid for a house and the price at which you sold it. This gain is typically treated as taxable income.

That said, depending on how long you owned the house, you may be able to exclude up to $500,000 (or $250,000 if married and filing separately) of that. Therefore, you could avoid paying federal income tax on up to $500,000 of that profit. This provision has remained, and homeowners are just required to have used it as a primary residence for two of the five years before the date of sale.

  • Mortgage interest deduction now capped at $750,000 instead of $1 million. This means that if you buy or have bought a home after December 15, 2017, and if the interest you pay on that mortgage is at or below $750,000, you can deduct that on your taxes. For those buying a home in which they’ll have to pay $850,000 or $1 million of interest on their mortgage, they will no longer be able to deduct all $1 million of that.

  • SALT – State and Local Tax – Property tax deduction is limited to $10,000. Again, this is limiting the amount that homeowners – particularly those paying heavy taxes – can deduct. While the current tax bill allows individuals to deduct the total amount of property taxes, the current bill will only allow homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes. In states where property taxes are higher, like Massachusetts, this will have a larger impact on homeowners, as they will not be able to deduct as much as they used to.

  • Home equity deduction is eliminated. Currently, you are able to deduct interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt. Under the new tax plan, effective come 2018, you will not be able to deduct any interest on home equity debt. This eliminated deduction will have a large impact on individuals who need to borrow money for tuition or other reasons besides buying, building or improving a home beyond what’s necessary. This makes borrowing from a home equity line of credit less appealing, as the interest paid on it will no longer be tax-deductible.

  • Moving expenses deduction is removed. Typically, when filing your taxes, you are asked if you moved in the past year, and, if so, what your expenses were. Even if you did not itemize and track those costs, you had the opportunity to deduct some moving expenses from your taxes. This is not the case anymore. Only active duty members of the armed forces are able to deduct such expenses.

Of course, the exact impact that these different points will have on you as an individual will vary depending on so many factors, from your marital status, to the deductions you take advantage of, to your income and employment type (small business owner vs. student vs. employee). For most, the exact effects of this bill will not truly be felt until 2018 tax returns are filed. But in the meantime, continue to read up; considering how this bill can hurt or help you can help you plan ahead of your filing in the spring of 2019.

updated: 1 week ago

Canner Law & Associates, P.C. Has Been Designated A Stewart Trusted Service Provider And A Secure Settlement Registered Agent

Canner Law amp Associates PC Has Been Designated A Stewart Trusted Service Provider And A Secure Settlement Registered Agent

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On October 3, 2015, the Consumer Finance Protection Board (“CFPB”) required all lenders to replace existing GFE, TILA and REPSA disclosure forms with two new integrated closing disclosures. The new disclosures are a combination of the existing Good Faith Estimate (GFE), Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure and the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. The requirement places detailed compliance requirements on the closing attorney/ Settlement agent.

We are proud to note that Canner Law & Associates, P.C. has been designated a “Stewart Trusted Provider ” and a " Secure Settlement " registered agent.

In order to qualify as a Stewart Trusted Provider, an agency or attorney agent must go through one of the most vigorous vetting processes in the industry, including:

Pass an intensive initial due-diligence screening

  • Third-party internal audit by Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Background and Credit Checks
  • Extensive Review of Applicant’s Experience, Business Model and Policy Loss History
  • Licensing Verification

Conduct business according to stringent Independent Agency Standards

  1. Maintain honesty and integrity above all else
  2. Stay firmly customer focused
  3. Employ dedicated and well-trained associates
  4. Maintain a business model that supports long-term success
  5. Use Stewart as a preferred business partner
  6. Maintain an acceptable policy loss ratio
  7. Comply with all federal, state, and local rules and regulations
  8. Reconcile all escrow/trust accounts in a timely manner
  9. Ensure efficient and secure real estate settlements
  10. Deliver title policies to customers and report policies and remit payments to Stewart in a timely and compliant manner
  11. Comply with all terms of the Stewart Underwriting Agreement and adhere to all Stewart Underwriting Bulletins
  12. Address consumer complaints in a timely manner

*Stewart Trusted Provider Standards 7-12 align with American Land Title Association® (ALTA® ) Best Practices.

Undergo strict ongoing monitoring

  • Deloitte & Touche LLP internal audits based upon risk model scoring
  • Quarterly visits and detailed operational checklist by Stewart Agency Services representative (20 points covered)
  • Random background and credit checks
  • Policy inventory audits
  • Comprehensive ongoing operational review of agency network by Stewart senior management
  • Extensive training program for loss mitigation and loss avoidance
  • CFPB compliance training with attendance certification
  • Licensing verification

In addition, Canner Law & Associates, P.C. exceeds these requirements in our efforts to provide even higher quality service and protection by utilizing Stewart’s escrow account reconciliation services, securing an Escrow Security Bond. Lenders and consumers can depend on the attorney agents exhibiting the Stewart Trusted Provider seal to provide them with a quality experience throughout the real estate transaction process consistent with the coverage provided in Stewart’s Closing Protection Letters and Policies of Title Insurance as issued.
Canner Law & Associates has been vetted by Secure Settlements, which requires a closing attorney to provide confidential information including personal and business information, professional licenses, trust accounts, professional liability/E&O insurance, fidelity bond insurance, three lender references, and history of any civil lawsuits or criminal convictions. We are proud to note that after the vetting process, we have been designated a Secure Settlements Registered Agent.

updated: 1 week ago