Author: Tallgrass Title

Construction Loans – Mainly for Lenders

As a Lender, do you have clients who want to build a new house on their lot? Here at Tallgrass Title, we offer a construction hold-open, also known as a construction commitment or policy. We get questions about this product quite often, so we thought we could help clear up some of the confusion surrounding this topic.

How it works:
You, as the lender, contact us, the title company, to request the title work. An email sent to order@tallgrasstitleks.com is sufficient, or you can fill in the online order form on our website. We complete the title search and send the commitment to you. The commitment will contain a specific set of construction language and the date of the first search. Here is an example of what that commitment language might look like:

The title search must be updated every 120 days. This is because title insurance commitments have expiration dates. Here at Tallgrass Title, we keep an eye on the expiration dates and remind you when it is time to request an update. You can just send us a quick email to “officially” request the update. We keep the message in our file for our underwriters to see. Our initial construction loan fee covers the cost of the initial search, plus two update searches.

When construction is complete, the loan can be closed. At that time, the lender can determine if the initial mortgage will stay in place or if a new mortgage will be filed. The cost of the final policy is charged at the final loan closing as soon as the title company has been notified of the final mortgage amount. The lender’s policy is generated and sent to the lender after the final loan closing has happened.

FAQ’s:

• The property owners want to remodel, will a construction loan work?
– At this time, the title construction commitment is only for new construction, not for a remodel of an existing structure. If the house is already standing, the construction commitment is not something we can offer you. It has to be a new structure, or a brand-new wing added on to an existing structure. You may need to consider a 2nd mortgage, HELOC or some other financing product.

• The construction is going over-budget. How does that affect the construction commitment?
– We are very flexible when it comes to the projected loan amount. If the amount needs to be increased, we can certainly do that once you send us the request.

• Our clients haven’t yet purchased the lot they want to build on. Do they have to purchase the lot, then get a construction loan?
– We can work with lenders on the lot purchase and construction hold-open as parts of the same transaction. We can issue the owner’s policy soon after the initial sale closing and issue the lender’s policy later, once the construction is complete.

• The sale transaction closed, when will we get the lender’s policy?
– As mentioned above, we cannot issue the lender’s policy until the final mortgage has closed and has been filed. As soon as construction is complete and the mortgage finalized we can go ahead and issue the lender’s policy.

Here at Tallgrass Title, we work to make the deal go as smoothly as possible. Give us a call today and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about construction title policies!

Intro to 1031 Exchanges

Sam and Mary Lou bought a pasture in 1972 for about $20,000. They are ready to sell it now and know that someone would pay about $80,000 for it. They will incur about $60,000 of capital gain and will be subject to tax on this amount. At the same time, they would like to purchase a pasture closer to their home. Luckily for this couple, the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) allows for real estate owners to defer capital gains tax through a like-kind exchange.

What are the steps involved in a 1031 exchange?

The first step is to hire an attorney or some other appropriate professional who can assist you with the exchange. There are certain documents needed to facilitate the exchange and you will need someone to draft those for you.
The second step is to complete the sale of your real estate. The real estate sold is called the relinquished property. If you are using a real estate agent, tell that person as soon as possible that you are doing an exchange. The most important part of the process is that you cannot receive the proceeds from the sale of your relinquished property. The title company will send your proceeds from the sale to a third party to hold until you purchase your replacement property. If the proceeds are given to you, they are immediately taxable.
The third step is to identify your replacement property and complete the purchase. During the closing, your title company will collect the proceeds from the third party, then apply them towards the purchase price.

What are some things to keep in mind about a 1031 exchange?

There are many rules governing 1031 exchanges. You do not need to learn all of them; a professional can help guide you through the process. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
A 1031 takes some time to happen. If you are thinking about doing one, you should talk to a professional as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the week before closing to talk to someone about it, because it could cause delays.
There are certain deadlines after closing that must be met. There is a deadline from the sale of your relinquished property to identify your replacement property. There is also a deadline from the sale of your relinquished property to complete the purchase of your replacement property and officially complete the 1031 exchange.
There are also requirements for the type of property that qualifies for this treatment. The basic rule is that the property must be “investment property”. The IRS has very specific rules for what qualifies as investment property.

A 1031 transaction can sound intimidating, with a lot of information to remember. At Tallgrass Title, our closing agents are specifically trained on how to handle your 1031 exchange.

To Divide to not To Divide Rural Acreage

Rural real estate is most commonly sold in single tracts. Occasionally, people wish to sell a portion from a larger tract.  In this scenario, the transaction can become a little “sticky” for a number of reasons.  These reasons could be as complex as county or city zoning, or as straightforward as a lack of access.  So, what are some items to look into if you are going to be splitting land?

Boundary Lines

In most cases, when real estate is being divided, a survey will be required. The survey calculates and sets out very specific boundaries.  Usually the Surveyor will place markers to clearly mark the corners of the real estate.  The surveyor will then produce a formal “Survey” which is essentially a diagram of the real estate.  Additionally, a “legal description” will be produced which is a written description of the real estate.  It is important to work with your surveyor so that you know the costs and timelines for the completion of this work.

Zoning

A common misconception is that if you own land you can do whatever you want on it. Unfortunately, it does not always work like that.  No matter where you live, you will have to face rules and regulations regarding zoning.  There will be rules and regulations that are similar from County to County, but there will also be County specific zoning requirements.  No matter what you are doing, make sure that you research your local zoning requirements, otherwise, you may start a transaction you are not allowed to finish.  Are you allowed to divide the land?  If so, is any special documentation required?  Is there a minimum tract size that the county requires?  These questions and more can be answered by your County Zoning Administrator or your City Planning and Zoning department.

Fencing

In Kansas, the owner of rural real estate may be required to fence and or maintain an existing fence. If the real estate that is being divided is fenced, the new owner could be responsible for a portion of the construction and maintenance of a new fence dividing the property.  It is essential to investigate the costs of such construction and maintenance.

Access to the Property

How will you access the divided tract? Click here to read our last post that deals in part with access to rural real estate.

As you can see, there are a lot of issues to consider when splitting off tracts of land from a larger piece.  However, it can be done.  Most real estate professionals will have some idea of what some basic county requirements are for your area, or they can put you in touch with the people who are tasked with enforcing such requirements.  If you are considering dividing real estate, give us a call.  We are here to help you navigate your real estate transaction.  It’s our job!

Building on Rural Real Estate

Many Kansans in our area have a desire to construct a home on real estate lying outside of a city and outside of a “platted” subdivision. The country can lend peace and tranquility to the setting and offer some of the Flint Hill’s most gorgeous views. Additionally, living in a rural area can offer the freedom to pursue rural hobbies like raising animals, having a large garden and having s’mores by a bonfire.  However, there are a few things to take into consideration when moving forward with this dream.

Location of the real estate

Where is the real estate? Finding the right mix between rural and city dwelling is a common issue future homeowners must weigh.  Although rural life may be the goal, it is necessary to determine how far you want to live from modern services. Is the real estate located on pavement or gravel?  Does the county have any plans to pave the gravel?  How well maintained is the road?  Is it passable in all weather?

Another question regarding location is applicable zoning. If you are not purchasing an entire tract of real estate are you allowed to divide off a portion to be purchased?  (Keep an eye out for next week’s blog where we will discuss issues regarding dividing real estate from a larger tract.) Are you allowed to construct a single family dwelling?  Do you have the requisite acreage for a septic system or lagoon?  Will the ground support a foundation, septic system, driveway, etc.?  These questions will need to be addressed prior to beginning the construction process.

Access to Land

Believe it or not, lack of access can be an easily overlooked issue. Simply put: how does one access the purchased tract?  It is important to look into the zoning requirements for a driveway or travel easement.  Oftentimes an easement will be needed to cross neighboring property to access your building site.  Also, does zoning allow two addresses to use the same driveway?  Will the county allow you to create an access point to your real estate where you want it?  It is important to address access concerns, because, if there is a lack of access, and no one is ready to give an easement, what is the point in purchasing the tract?

Access to Utilities

An often overlooked issue is the access to modern utilities like water and electricity. In town it is easier to bring city water and electricity to new build cites and for the new sewer lines to tap into the city sewer system.  However, in the country, it can be more difficult. Here are a few common questions to answer:

  1. Is electricity available at the site? Is it a rural electric cooperative or an electric company? How much will it cost to run the electricity to the divided property?
  2. Is water available? Is there a rural water district? How far is the closest line? Is there adequate capacity for a new structure? If rural water is unavailable is a well an option?
  3. How will sewer waste be handled? Is a septic tank or lagoon an option?

As you can see, the simple rural life could prove to be confusing during the acquisition and build process. Luckily, we commonly deal with these issues and are eager to assist in answering these questions.  It’s our job!

IRS Tax Scam Phone Calls

It’s that time again! Tax Season!  With tax season, come the tax scammers.  Starting in late January and early February, these are the calls that go something like this:

This is the IRS. We are contacting you regarding money you owe to the IRS.  If this money is not paid within 24 hours, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.  To avoid any further legal action please call xxx-xxx-xxxx. 

Holy cow! That is panic inducing, but do not fear, it is only a scam! Here are some clues that it is not really the IRS.

*The IRS will NOT:

  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand tax payment and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
  • Threaten you with a lawsuit.

The IRS will not call you if you owe them money. They will send you notice after notice regarding what you owe, and they will send it through the United States Postal Service a/k/a regular mail.  They will not email, call, fax, or use any other type of technological service. They will send it through good old-fashioned mail.

Their notices will include not only how much you owe, but where the discrepancy was, and how they calculated any interest or late fees. They will not just throw a number at you and expect you to take their word for it.  They give evidence and hard numbers to back up their claim, and they give you, the tax payer, a chance to appeal the claim or question the amount owed.

So, if you are on the receiving end of one of these scams, do not panic. Take a deep breath. Take note of their phone number. Get the spelling of their name (it may be a fake name), and hang up the phone. You can then notify your tax preparer, and/or you can contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Contact the TIGTA at the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page

Or

Contact the FTC at the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov.  Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.

Taxes are stressful enough. Do not add to your stress this year by worrying about coming up with money to pay off the IRS scammers. Just keep telling yourself;

The IRS will not call and threaten me! 

*This information was taken directly from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-calls-and-emails-using-irs-as-bait-persist. Check it out for more information regarding Tax Telephone and Phishing scams! 

For additional information check out this IRS YouTube video.