Are You Ready For A New Kind Of Home Buyer?

On December 1, Zillow published their forecast for the 2015 housing market. They say that skyrocketing rents will make home ownership more attractive than it has been in recent years, that there will be a surge in the construction of more affordable homes, and that for the first time Millennials will outpace Gen-Xers as the largest group of home buyers. The latter prediction is one reason you should be using HUD 1 software like Easy HUD.

Millennials Love Technology

Our experience has been that Gen-Xers may like their technology but Millennials insist on it. The generation that is moving away from newspapers in favor of online news on their tablets, away from cash in favor of payment apps, and away from physical media in favor of streaming movies and music doesn’t have much patience for the traditional way of doing things.

A real estate professional who clings to inefficient, outdated methods is going to come across as hopelessly out of touch to a new generation of technophiles. Completing a paper HUD settlement statement by hand would be like touring houses from your horse and buggy. You might as well pull out your quill pen to fill out the paperwork. Embracing new technology is going to become a necessity to attract a new breed of home buyer.

You Love Technology (Or You Will After Using Easy HUD)

The thing is that using Easy HUD rather than filling out paper closing forms isn’t just something you do to impress the kids. You do it because it streamlines your practice and allows you to close faster. Your client is happy because less time is wasted on bureaucratic tasks and you love it because you can handle more transactions than you could using old, manual methods.

That isn’t all. Additional modules turn Easy HUD into a comprehensive real estate tool that produces accurate and professional-looking correspondence, simplifies keeping a transaction ledger, and makes 1099-S filing as easy as clicking a button. Once you use it, you’ll wonder how you got along without it for so long.

Markets change. It could be due to technology, economics, politics, cultural changes or any one of a thousand other factors. You have to be prepared to adapt to it. Arm yourself with Easy HUD real estate closing software to be ready for the new market. Not convinced? Try it free for 30 days and find out for yourself how fast and easy real estate closing can be.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in HUD Software | Leave a comment

New Year’s Day Is Coming — And So Are The Divorces

Family law attorneys who have been practicing for a while typically notice a pattern in divorce: there seems to be an uptick in marital splits in January. Is there really an increase in divorce and financial settlements at the beginning of the year or do divorces simply seem more noticeable for some reason?

Is January “Divorce Month”?

Data does, in fact, show that there is an increase in divorce filings in most jurisdictions during January. A CNN article points to not only divorce filing statistics but also web searches on terms such as “child custody”. However they also indicate that although there is a surge in January the real peak in filings seems to occur in March. Analysts believe it is because one spouse starts thinking about divorce as the new year dawns, but doesn’t go through with the filing until a couple of months later. But why does this spike occur at this time of year?

New Year’s Resolutions

It is common for people to take stock of their lives and try to start fresh every year. These goals might include losing weight, making a budget, embarking on a new career — or ending a marriage. Couples in a bad relationship may finally have to admit the situation can’t be saved, and may decide it’s time to break it off and move on. However there may be more than simply resolutions at work here.

Holiday Blues

November and December are traditionally a time when families get together to celebrate but as many people know they can also be a time where old arguments resurface. The stress of the holidays can reveal the fractures in a relationship and force a couple to face up to the problems between them. A weak marriage might collapse under the stress of these holidays.

In addition, if a couple decides to get divorced late in the year, who wants to tarnish holiday gatherings with a recent split? If the spouses can agree to call a truce then it might be in the best interest of the children to give them one last family year of family holidays before taking that final step.

Family law attorneys armed with Easy Soft’s Divorce Financials software can counsel couples considering a split, no matter what time of year they come by. Specialized divorce software for attorneys can help a spouse decide if a divorce makes financial sense, and if now is the right time for the split.

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Why Is The HUD-1 Form Changing?

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has developed new real estate closing forms that will take effect August 2015. These forms will replace the HUD 1 settlement sheet we have become familiar with. While this may seem like nothing more than an inconvenient bureaucratic change, these new forms will help protect consumers.

What’s Wrong With The Old Forms?

The HUD 1 was designed to provide information to consumers that allowed them to understand how much a real estate transaction would really cost. The Good Faith Estimate in particular was meant to make it easier for consumers to compare different loans so they could make smart financial decisions.

Unfortunately that has not been the result. Although the HUD 1 and GFE may have been a step in the right direction, consumers still found them confusing. The average real estate professional could look at them and make sense of the figures but to consumers they were just more baffling government forms peppered with legal terms and columns of numbers. Even the pros could be confused about what number went where. HUD software like Easy HUD made it easier for the agents and lawyers but not for the borrowers.

What Is The Advantage Of The New CFPB Forms?

Inspired by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB started the “Know Before You Owe” program to find a way to not only give consumers the information they needed to make mortgage decisions, but to present that information in a way that didn’t require an accounting or law degree to understand.

The new forms, the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure, have consolidated closing information into a more succinct and easier to read format. The forms use plain language rather than legalese, and the most important sections of the forms have been bolded so consumers can find critical figures easily. The Loan Estimate allows consumers to compare loans before choosing one. The Closing Disclosure not only lets them see the true cost of closing on a property but also is provided early enough for borrowers to have time to understand the costs before signing a contract.

Users of Easy HUD real estate closing software will receive a free update that incorporates the new forms. We helped you stay RESPA compliant, and we will help you remain CFPB compliant.

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Have You Considered Retirement In Alimony Calculations?

Post-divorce retirement adds a host of complications to alimony calculations. New Jersey law has provided little guidance in these matters until the recent ruling on Krupinski v. Krupinski, which offered a precedent that can be used in future negotiations. However one of the important conclusions that can be drawn from the Appellate Division ruling is that retirement should be considered at the time of the divorce when CIS, Easy Soft’s NJ matrimonial software, can be of help.

Retirement’s Effects On Alimony

Often when couples divorce, retirement is decades away so not the first asset that anyone, including a family law attorney, considers. It’s important to understand that retirement has an effect on both parties from the beginning of the split.

After divorce the alimony payer has less discretionary money, making it harder to find the money to save for retirement. Income typically drops after retirement, so that may be a reason to lower alimony payments. This in turn affects the recipient who needs to be prepared for the loss of income. Finally, in the event of a pension rather than a 401K plan, should the spouse be entitled to a portion of the pension payments in addition to alimony?

Deal With Retirement Up Front

None of these considerations should come as a surprise. Retirement happens and should be part of anyone’s financial plan, divorced or not. The impact of retirement should be on the attorney’s mind from the first time the Case Information Statement is filled out.

The Krupinski case dealt only with alimony but in some cases it may also affect child support. Early retirement combined with children who were born late in life, are in college, or have permanently disabilities could create rare situations where retired parents might have to consider how a pension would affect the child’s welfare.

Although this may be less of a problem than it used to be, considering New Jersey’s recent elimination of permanent alimony, it is still an issue especially in light of the increase in gray divorce over the last decade or so. CIS is a valuable tool for attorneys, not only helping complete the Case Information Statement NJ requires in divorces, but also providing analysis tools needed to compare various alimony and child support scenarios.

Posted by Rick Kabra on in NJ Family Law Software | Comments Off

Splitting The House In A Divorce

The marital home is often the largest asset to get divided in a divorce, and family law attorneys need to balance other assets to create an equitable settlement. This process is much simpler with the help of Divorce Financials divorce financial software, which handles the calculations so attorneys can create multiple scenarios to find the one that satisfies both parties. The couple’s house can be treated in three ways.

Transfer Ownership

One spouse, usually the one with primary custody of the kids, keeps the house. In most cases the attorney will need to offset the house’s value with other assets to compensate the other spouse. This is easy to do in Divorce Financials as assets can be quickly assigned to one spouse or the other, or divided between the spouses at any percentage desired. The divorce legal software keeps track of the total value of the settlement to ensure that the settlement presented is equitable. Attorneys should be sure to require the title be change to be in the receiving spouse’s name only, and if possible refinance the mortgage in the recipient’s name only.

Sell House

Depending on the market and the couple’s respective needs, this might be the easiest solution. The house is sold and the proceeds are divided between the two parties. This is a popular option in so-called gray divorce, the divorce of couples over the age of 50. Once the kids have moved out, many older couples find they have nothing in common anymore and choose to go their separate ways. The residence may be too much house for a single, childless person so neither party wants it. It may also be necessary to sell the house if the person who wants it can qualify for a new mortgage, and the other spouse doesn’t want the credit risk if the mortgage becomes delinquent.

Sell House Later

If the couple has older children they might want to keep the house but sell it once the kids move out. Since the house will be sold in the near future, it may not be necessary to transfer the title. Both spouses could maintain ownership until the house can be sold. This can be a very good solution, especially if the divorce is amicable. Be sure to determine who will be responsible for mortgage payments, and for costs such as taxes and insurance.

Divorce Financials can handle any of these situations, or any other divorce and financial settlements you can come up with. This flexibility helps you find the best solution for your client.

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The House Market Is Taking Off! Or Is It?

The National Association of REALTORS recently published two conflicting articles on how the housing market is doing. This is a good example of how difficult it is to predict how easily a house will sell, and how easily you can make a profit in the upcoming months. You need the flexibility of HUD 1 software like Easy HUD to be able to move quickly to take advantage of any real estate trends in your area.

The Market Is Great!

The article Boomers and Engineers a Good Sign for Housing Markets says that the real estate markets in twelve major metropolitan areas are showing no signs of slowing down as they usually do around this time of year. They attribute this trend to large concentrations of math and science professionals, and baby boomers. The former are in jobs that pay high salaries so are in a good position to buy homes as they move into these areas for new jobs. The latter are nearing retirement so are often selling large homes now that the kids are gone to move into smaller residences where they can live out their golden years. These are both very positive trends that bode well for many areas of the country.

The Market Is Lousy!

On the other hand, the NAR also points out that Credit and Inventory Throttle Housing Market’s Return. Mortgage rates have been dropping and yet applications for purchase have declined. They opine that this is due to the stricter credit requirements many lenders have implemented over the last few years. The other problem is that there may be buyers out there, but there aren’t many homes on the market. Inventory is low and dropping. These trends could be troubling if they continue into the traditionally slow fourth quarter of the year.

What does this mean to the average real estate professional? That’s hard to predict. Conditions in Seattle don’t mean much to you if you are practicing in Tallahassee. You need to be able to analyze and predict your own local trends, whether it’s by careful mathematical analysis or gut instinct that comes from years of experience. You also need to be prepared to put out a HUD 1 settlement statement quickly when an opportunity does come along.

The unpredictability of the real estate market is why you need Easy HUD. Being able to jump on a deal, complete your HUD settlement statement and close quickly is important when you aren’t sure how many sales are in your future.

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