What to consider before backing out of an offer

Standard real-estate contracts contain inspection and mortgage contingencies that allow buyers a limited amount of time to back out of the contract and receive a refund of their deposit. They also spell out the terms of the deposit and where the money is held in escrow, whether with the buyers’ agent, the title company, an attorney or the developer. But once all contingencies are satisfied, buyers are locked in and attempts to back out could mean losing earnest money and potentially having to pay brokers’ commissions. That’s because even if the seller lets the buyer off the hook, he or…..

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Bank slapped with fine after failing to modify loan terms

In a move called “unprecedented in its magnitude,” a bankruptcy judge recently opted to levy a $45 million fine against Bank of America Corp. for its treatment of homeowners who had requested lower mortgage payments. If it stands, the fine would be the largest punitive damages award for violations of the bankruptcy law’s automatic stay rules, which ban lenders from advancing foreclosures and taking other actions. The case highlights the importance of consulting a lawyer in any situation involving requests for loan modifications or in any case involving a foreclosure. In the ruling, the judge said bank representatives mistreated California…..

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Investing IRAs in Real Estate Often Leads to More Risk than Reward

There’s nothing simple about investing an IRA in real estate. But people do it because it offers an alternative to traditional retirement accounts that comes with the potential for high reward. Potential investors should be warned, however, that there can be more negatives than positives associated with these types of investments. Minuses 1. The IRS requires a qualified trustee or custodian to administer the assets. This person will typically handle transactions and manage paperwork and reports. 2. The options for a qualified trustee or custodian are limited. So far, only about two dozen companies in the U.S. can act as…..

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What you need to know about paid leads on property-search sites

Popular property-search site Streeteasy.com recently rolled out a change to its Premier Agent program for real estate agents that is confusing potential buyers and angering brokers. Until recently, the site featured the name of a property’s listing agent and company prominently, making the main contact clear and providing a direct “contact agent” button. But now when a potential buyer clicks “contact agent,” the message instead might be sent to a broker who has paid to receive referrals for a specific zip code. The listing broker can still be reached, but the process is more convoluted. Now users must click on…..

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Reverse mortgages offer cash to homeowners, but it comes at a price

A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to convert part of the equity in a home to cash without having to sell the property. The cash may be paid in installments or a lump sum, so typically you don’t need to pay anything back as long as you live in your house. Factors such as age, the value of the property and how much remains on the mortgage all affect the amount of money a homeowner may borrow through a reverse mortgage. But there are important things to consider. Owners typically must remain in the home for at least 5-10 years…..

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Review Your Estate Plan When You Move Across State Lines

When you make a move out of state, be sure to review your estate plan with an estate planning attorney in your new domicile, as trust and estate laws have some differences from state to state. In most states, the probate court will recognize a will from another state. But in the case of a dispute, you can’t be sure the judge in the new state will understand your will the way that you meant it. Your new place of residence might place restrictions on executors from out of state. It’s also possible that your new medical provider or bank…..

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How to Change an Irrevocable Trust

When dealing with irrevocable trusts the ability to effect change can be difficult to understand, presenting more questions than answers. The correct answers often depend on a variety of factors, but a good starting point is state law and the trust document itself. When modification or termination of an irrevocable trust is sought, a possible mechanism is for the trustee or beneficiary to seek a court order. When it comes to interpreting language in an irrevocable trust, appointing a trustee or providing directives to a trustee, a non-judicial settlement agreement may be an alternative to filing a court proceeding. In…..

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Issues to Consider Before Gifting Your Home to Your Child

Passing your house on to your children before your death offers some advantages, but there are pitfalls to avoid. If your children inherit the property through your estate, the cost basis on the property will be the value of the home on the day of your death. But if you gift the children the property while you are still alive, they will inherit your cost basis, including potentially large capital gains if they decide to later sell the home. You still might want to remove the property from your estate to help you better qualify for assistance with long-term care…..

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Don’t let the end of a home-equity line of credit sneak up on you

The terms of home-equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, typically come due 10 years in, at a time at which many homeowners are unprepared for the fact that their monthly payments are about to go up significantly and sometimes double. HELOCs are secured by a mortgage, require only interest payments and can be used to consolidate debt, fund major expenses, etc. But after the initial 10-year period the principal becomes due. At that point, homeowners can choose to pay off the balance, refinance it into a first or second mortgage or make monthly payments of principal and interest, typically for…..

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Beware the Pitfalls of Naming a Minor as your Beneficiary

A minor generally doesn’t have the right to manage his or her assets, including any inheritance. But sometimes a minor child becomes the beneficiary of a sizable family inheritance. That can occur because a parent dies without a will or trust, leading to an unavoidable direct inheritance by the child. If a minor is chosen as a beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy, many challenging issues can arise. First of all, a minor is not legally allowed to take control of inherited assets left directly to him or her. Instead, an adult or financial institution has to…..

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Address

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8118 Datapoint Drive
San Antonio, TX
78229-3218

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