What is FIRPTA?
The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), enacted in 1980, requires foreign persons to pay U.S. income tax on the gains they make from selling U.S. real estate. FIRPTA applies to the sale of interests held by nonresident aliens and foreign corporations in real property within the United States. FIRPTA imposes a duty on the buyer in the transaction (not the title company) to deduct and withhold a portion of the sales price to send and report to the Internal Revenue Service.
An endorsement is something that changes the terms of the coverage in the title policy. It is an attachment to the policy that generally offers more coverage from what is included in the policy. Each endorsement has its own Procedural Rule and Rate Rule to follow to be able to issue the endorsement.
To determine which endorsements are applicable, the property type has to be reviewed and determined to be residential or non-residential property. This can get a little confusing because a legal definition is applied – not necessary current use or zoning.
The Texas Real Estate Commission adopted changes to the mandatory contract forms in February. The updated forms are available for use now and become mandatory for use May 15, 2018. Below is a description of the changes to the forms and the changes apply to all forms unless noted otherwise. The paragraphs referenced below will track the numbers in the One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) and may adjust in the other contract forms.
TITLE COMMITMENTS: WHAT ARE THEY?
A commitment for title insurance (“Title Commitment”) provides a buyer and lender with terms and conditions for how the final title policy will be issued. Title insurance offers protection for buyers and lenders from certain defects or errors in the title to a property. There are four main parts (called “Schedules”) of the title commitment.
Area and Boundary Coverage (a/k/a Survey Deletion). What is it?
When putting an offer together, realtors have the option of checking a box in the contract that could end up being very important to a buyer down the line. Paragraph 6(A)(d) gives the following options:
If you’ve ever received a title commitment back from your title company showing a requirement related to a divorce for your client you’ve likely wondered why there are additional requirements being made on your Schedule C. In order for a title company to rely on a client’s divorce decree, the decree itself must contain some very important language. If the decree is incomplete, a warranty deed from the ex-spouse can be required which often results in an unhappy experience for your clients. The article below discusses a few scenarios that can create delays in getting to closing.
When there has been a death in the chain of title, the transaction can be very complex. If not handled properly a realtor could find themselves with some serious issues. A realtor’s best bet is to have a general working knowledge of the issues and then partner with a title company that can handle the transactions properly.
Wire fraud has become rampant in our industry. The FBI has estimated that there are over 4,000 hack attempts per day nationwide. According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) there have been 22,000 cases of reported wire fraud involving losses of over $3.1 billion dollars since 2013.
The Texas Constitution makes a requirement that before someone’s homestead be sold or borrowed against the owner and their spouse must consent to the transaction. A common misconception is that the spouse is required to sign because of the Texas community property rules. It is important to understand that it is not community property rules that require a spouse to consent at closing unless the property was acquired while the spouses were married. The proper explanation about why a spouse has to sign is because homestead protections provided for in the Texas Constitution require their signature. The two concepts are often present in a closing, and sometimes overlap in the end result to require a spouse to sign for closing, but they are separate and distinct laws.