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Buying a foreclosure in Illinois can be a cost-effective way to obtain home ownership, but before diving in, people should understand how the process works.

Four Phases of Foreclosures

There are four main phases in which to purchase a distressed property. There are benefits and drawbacks to each phase. The stages include:

  • Pre-foreclosure – Homeowner still owns the property
  • Auction sales – Buyers bid against lenders
  • Real estate-owned (REO) – Lender owns the property
  • Government-owned – Typically a slower process with a greater amount of paperwork
Pre-Foreclosure

This entails buying directly from the current homeowner, but in most cases, the lender agrees to accept less than the existing balance on the mortgage loan. As a result, buyers often purchase a property at a cost that’s less than the home’s market value.

Auction Sales

Normally, an objective third party such as a sheriff or trustee will conduct real estate auctions. One of the main downsides of an auction is that the buyer purchases the home in its current state and often never sees the inside beforehand.

Also, it’s important to keep the “right of redemption” law in mind when purchasing a home by auction. Under this law, the homeowner can reclaim the property within a certain amount of time if the person pays past due amounts and fees.

REO

Real-estate owned property is lender-owned. This is the most popular phase for purchasing a foreclosure because it’s typically the safest and simplest method.

On the other hand, this type of property often offers the least value along with the highest level of competition. Lenders can also sell the property at any price in an attempt to profit from it.

Government-Owned

Purchasing property that is government-owned will often involve a lot of paperwork, with a slower overall process. This is because the government usually has no motivation to move the process along as they wait for a buyer who’s offering to pay the price they want for the property.

Purchasing homes from certain agencies like Fannie Mae, Small Business Administration, and FHA can also save buyers money. Additionally, these agencies may help with financing.

When purchasing a distressed home, buyers should also familiarize themselves with the market, consider the potential repair costs, and obtain a pre-approval from their lender before making an offer.

The post Buying a Foreclosure in Illinois appeared first on The Law Offices of Roger W. Stelk.

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To ensure that flipping a real estate property is successful, investors should have a clear understanding of the market before they buy, always use written contracts, and set a strict budget. By making smart investments, keeping renovations within their budgets, and having everything in writing, investors can flip a house for a significant profit.

Understanding the Market

It is important for investors to understand the market so they know if they are getting good deals on the properties they plan to flip. People should research the market value of similar properties in the area. A good rule of thumb is to try to pay no more than 80 percent of a home’s market value, minus the cost of renovations. Real estate experts often help investors evaluate the market to find the best deals. They also assist with market research and may be aware of property issues that could hinder the success of a flip.

Using Written Contracts

If people plan to invest with their family members or friends, it is important for them to use written contracts that spell out the terms of the agreement and the responsibilities of each party. If one person will be providing the money, a penalty clause should be included to ensure that the money that is extended is repaid in a timely manner. Having a written contract can help to minimize the potential for conflict because the parties will know what their responsibilities are.

Setting a Realistic Budget and Schedule

Surprise repairs, scheduling conflicts, and expensive renovations can significantly impact the future of a flip. By knowing their budget upfront, identifying cosmetic projects as well as major structural, plumbing or electrical problems in advance, and getting a professional home inspection to uncover any hidden issues, investors can avoid costly surprises down the road.

It’s also important for investors to plan their repairs and renovations carefully and make sure they stay on track. Investors who take months to flip their houses can end up paying large amounts of interest on loans and some may even pay penalties for not selling in time.

Flipping houses can be highly profitable. However, it is important for people to take their time and to make wise investments so that they might be likelier to be successful.

The post 3 Things to Do When Flipping a Real Estate Property appeared first on The Law Offices of Roger W. Stelk.

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Illinois, along with 35 other states in the U.S., is working to provide both parties in divorce cases with equal parenting time. While advocates claim that the proposed changes would eliminate the preconceived notion that one parent is better suited to care for the children than the other, opponents assert that equal parenting could be harmful to kids.

Beginning with 50-50 Parenting Time in the Divorce Process

The changes to the Marriage and Dissolution Act would make sure that both parents in a divorce case would start off with equal parenting time, eliminating the existing system of one parent guardianship.

Supporters claim that equal parenting time would provide fathers with the ability to get more involved and be supportive in the child’s daily life and development. Across various organizations, including the ‘Dads Can Too’ organization based in Springfield, many mothers, and other women have supported the proposed change, considering it to be about the parents collectively rather than simply providing the father with more parenting time.

Opposition to the Change

While some parents support the idea of evening the playing field for parents during the divorce process, those who are opposed to the changes claim that it doesn’t take the children’s need for flexibility into account. Opponents of equal parenting time assert that children would be required to travel more frequently, essentially living out of a suitcase, which may make their lives less stable.

Another argument is that if the child is required to see both parents for an equal amount of time, it could be harmful if an abusive relationship exists between the parents. Some opponents say that 50-50 parenting time is unacceptable in any case involving violence or abuse of any kind between parents, or between a parent and the child.

Waiting for the Final Decision

The courts have yet to decide whether or not to implement equal parenting time, but hearings are in place to help reach a final decision in Illinois and the other 35 states proposing the legislature. Certain other states such as Kentucky already have an equal parenting time law in place which grants temporary 50-50 time to both parents until permanent arrangements are made in court.

The post Evening Out the Playing Field in Illinois Child Custody Cases appeared first on The Law Offices of Roger W. Stelk.

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As the home buying season heats up, housing prices and interest rates are on the rise, inventory is at record lows, and prospective buyers who don’t get prepared are likely to face challenging searches filled with tough decisions. Despite higher housing costs, the average property listing is selling about 8% faster than it would have a year ago. Indecision and lack of preparation can jeopardize a successful purchase. Fortunately, there are things buyers can do to get a jump on the competition in today’s tight housing market.

Checking Credit Reports and Getting Rid of Debt

Prior to searching for a new home, home buyers should make sure that their finances are in order, which entails more than simply having an emergency fund available. Reviewing credit reports is a good first step to take, followed by consolidating any existing debt.

Paying off debt could help lower monthly payments and make the debt-to-income ratio more favorable for consumers. Both of these factors are what lenders will take into account when determining the creditworthiness of borrowers.

Choosing the Right Type of Home

Because of the current housing market, buyers should decide on the type of home they want, the location they desire, and the amenities they would like to have well in advance. That way they don’t waste time on these types of decisions while someone else walks away with the home of their dreams.

Determining What’s Actually Affordable

Home buyers often find themselves bidding higher than the maximum price they’re capable of paying. Unaffordable bidding wars can be avoided by creating a housing budget that includes the cost of insurance, taxes and other costs and only considering homes that are truly within the buyer’s price range. It is recommended that buyers target a monthly mortgage payment that’s approximately 80% or less than their current rent.

Looking for the Right Lender

As mortgage rates continue to rise, lenders are competing more to attract the ideal home buyer. Comparing fees and other associated costs and negotiating with lenders is a good way to find the best deal.

The post Home Buying Season Heats Up: It Pays to Get Prepared appeared first on The Law Offices of Roger W. Stelk.

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In some cases, parents may need to attend parenting classes in Illinois. However, there are certain questions that parents may have about these circumstances and the possible exceptions. Here are some explanations about what to expect with Illinois parenting courses.

When Do Parents Need to Take Parenting Classes in Illinois?

Illinois law states that parenting classes are needed when parents of children who are still minors are involved in court proceedings regarding parental responsibility and time. These cases include post-judgment cases that discuss changes made to parenting time and responsibility or the child’s relocation.

Possible Exceptions to the Requirement

Parents may not be required to take parenting classes if they can convince the judge that they have a good reason for being excused from parenting classes. The judge will only allow parents to avoid these courses if the decision is found to be in the children’s best interests, and the court needs to document the reasoning in the actual court record.

The Reason for Taking Parenting Courses

According to the Cook County court, there are several reasons why parents may need to take parenting courses, including:

  • To teach parents to get past their differences and create an environment that’s both safe and stable for their children, with emphasis on meeting their needs
  • To help parents develop healthy communication between each other along with their children, promoting a mutual respect for both parties’ wishes
  • To help lower the expenses pertaining to litigation between both parties
  • To give parents the resources they need to keep their children removed from conflicts between both parents.
Finding Court-Approved Parent Education Programs

Parents required to take parenting classes will need to take them via a parent education program that the court has approved. Many of these education programs falsely claim to have been approved and received certification from the Circuit Court of Cook County. However, the only two parent education programs that have been authorized include the Focus on Children (FOCUS) in-class program and the Children in Between Online (CIBO) online program.

Parenting classes may be beneficial to both parents and their children when required to take them, but they may be able to avoid them entirely if they can prove why they’re unnecessary.

The post When Are Parents In Illinois Required to Attend Parent Education Courses? appeared first on The Law Offices of Roger W. Stelk.

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