orange theodolite prism lies on a background of geodetic maps of the areaFor those of you who read our commentary regularly, you’ll see that we span the commentariat world from musings of perhaps little practical utility but great import (at least to us) to the more mundane.  Today, mundane. Let’s talk title policies and survey standards.  There’s good news here and often good news doesn’t travel fast enough, so here we go.

Title policies “insure over” information that a survey would discern.  It’s precious little good to have a title policy yet find out there’s a missile silo just behind the setback line owned by the US Government.  So title companies require a survey and will generally insure over any nasty surprises the survey would have uncovered.
Continue Reading Seeing is Believing: ALTA’s New Survey Standards

Closeup of a seismograph machine earthquake

Returning to our theme that nothing’s easy and everything keeps changing, here is one out of left field. Let’s talk Probable Maximum Loss (“PML”) and seismic risk. ASTM International, the market standard setting organization for everything from toilet bowls to condoms, has just issued an amended seismic standards: Standard Guide for Assessments of Buildings (E2026-16) and their Standard Practice for Probable Maximum Loss Evaluations for Earthquakes (E2557-16) (the “Standards”)[1]. These Standards establish an industry norm for the requirements to evaluate the financial risk for real estate in zones with seismic activity. Each investigation of real estate is “graded” between a Level 0 investigation (high uncertainty) and a Level 3 investigation (very low uncertainty) based on the qualifications of the assessors and the work done during the investigation. The Standards refer to a Level 0 investigation as a “desktop” investigation, maybe (in a completely subtle way) to imply something about the proximity of the assessors to the potentially shaking site.Continue Reading “Shaking” Things Up: Seismic Risk Assessments

Close-up Foreclosure Real Estate Sign in Front of House.Just when you thought we were out of the housing crisis weeds of ’07—think again.  Apparently when an abundance of people buy homes they can’t afford and predictably fall behind on their payments, the judicial foreclosure process becomes log-jammed.  Enter our latest housing crisis nemesis: the statute of limitations.

Lenders must generally file a foreclosure action prior to the expiration of the state specific statute of limitations.  This means that once a borrower has defaulted on their mortgage payments and the lender has accelerated the debt, the lender has a statutorily defined time period in which it may bring an action in foreclosure.  But what if the initial foreclosure action, filed within the limitations period, is dismissed for technical reasons?  Must the lender file the second foreclosure action within the same limitations time period that began running on the date of the original default and acceleration?  Some New Jersey and Florida courts think so, which can be a terrifying result.Continue Reading Foreclosure Attempt Blocked? What You Should Know Before the Clock Hits Zero

Never a dull moment.  We at Crunched Credit are probably guilty of excess and perhaps myopic focus on our federal government and its regulatory apparatus; it is such a consistently reliable source of commentary and outrage.  So here’s one out of left field, but no less important for that. 
Continue Reading “First” Deeds of Trust now Second in Line?