Real Estate Estate Planning

“Closing date to be on or before May 31, 2007.” Seemed pretty simple for an earnest money agreement written in mid-April. It would have been a slam dunk: sold on contract, no appraisal, and no professional inspection (gut remodel). Clearing title proved more challenging than anybody expected. The seller inherited the property almost thirty years ago but did not follow through with changing the names on title. This meant that the tax record and deed only showed the deceased. Even with a will, the process of clearing title included seven death certificates and the notarized signatures of 13 people with potential claims to title, including one in New Zeland!

It closed/recorded today.

6 Comments on “Real Estate Estate Planning

  1. My suggestion for every buyer and seller: The first step is to hire an attorney. This includes estate transfers.

    Why is it that people will sign several legal documents, all written by legal professionals, while conducting a $300,000 (plus or minus) transaction, and not use the resources of a paid professional attorney? When I have a problem at closing, I direct my attorney to advise me as to my options. Yes, I have paid when no problems were found, but I am not willing to risk having my pants removed without knowing my belt buckle was undone…

    I guess it’s “only” a quarter of a million or more on the line… The saying goes, “An attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

  2. To be fair and balanced, I found this one after the Bend Bulletin above:

    Here is an article that suggests that the Seattle market was the best in the country, with an increase of near 9%. Of course it does not say how many are selling at those greater prices.

    “National housing prices continued to slide last quarter, dropping an average of 1.5% over the year before, according to the latest report by the National Association of Realtors.

    But things are looking up for two-thirds of the country’s big cities where median home sale prices rose.

    Leading the charge was Seattle, where prices increased 8.9%; in San Jose, Calif., they rose 8.8%; and in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., prices jumped 8.3% and 8.4% respectively.

    Compare that to Detroit and Cleveland. In these metros, prices fell 7.1%. Skies aren’t much sunnier in the West. Median home sale numbers in Sacramento, Calif., Las Vegas and Phoenix dropped 6.3%, 3.6% and 2.7%, respectively.”


    By the way, I suspect that composition of the houses for sale is different today than a year ago. Specifically I suspect that the supply of higher priced homes is now a greater percentage of homes that are listed. Thus increasing median prices may be explained by the distribution of prices of homes on the market, but I don’t have sufficient data to test my theory.

  3. Here’s a post over on TheBigPicture blog entitled “How low will housing go?”

    He quotes Jan Hatzius, Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs:

    “However, affordability is becoming an increasingly problematic concept because it ignores changes in credit availability and changes in nonconforming mortgage rates. Hence, it may be better to look at simpler price/income or price/rent ratios to get a sense of house price valuation. These paint a more dire picture.

    Even if we assume that the long-term trend for price/income and price/rent is higher now than the average of the 1975-2000 period (because interest rates are likely to stay lower), cumulative nominal price declines of 15%-30% are possible.”

  4. Funny how your comments went from “she should have hired an attorney” to market stats. Having said that, Austin too has seen a bit of a slowdown, but it is different than Seattle or Portland. Home sales declined 2% in July, but prices went up. My feeling is that our market is quite healthy and the decline was due to lower priced homes not selling because people couldn’t get loans.

  5. Sam-

    “My feeling is that our market is quite healthy and the decline was due to lower priced homes not selling because people couldn’t get loans.”

    Inventory is way up, sales are down. Foreclosures are up nearly 100% from a year ago. Over 40,000 jobs have been eliminated in the mortgage industry, and about 100 lenders have gone bankrupt, and you suggest that you are ‘feeling’ the real estate market is healthy?

    I bet you are a seller, rather than a buyer.

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