Tag Archives: Closing

FSBO Tips On Filling Out the Colorado 2019 Contract To Buy And Sell Real Estate (Residential) Form CBS 1-6-18; Mandatory 1/1/19 for Licensed Agents.

 

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

Please note this is a revised article written in 2016

2019 UPDATE on FSBO TIPS

The new Colorado residential real estate contract, which is mandatory for use by licensees as of January 1, 2019, contains some subtle language revisions for purposes of clarification as well as several new provisions and modifications.  Some of these changes are as a result in changes in federal and state laws since the previous contract it replaced.

DOWNLOAD NOW (Writable): 2019 Purchase Contract for Residential Property courtesy of the Colorado Division of Real Estate

The Colorado Division of Real estate replaced many of the mandatory forms for licensees effective January 1, 2019 including:

  •  Agreement to Amend/Extend
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Residential)Contract to Buy and Sell Real estate (Income-Residential)
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Land)
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Commercial)
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Foreclosure)
  • Counter proposal
  • Estoppel Statement
  • Notice to Terminate
  • Residential Addendum to Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate
  • Square Footage Disclosure (Residential)
  • Licensee Buy-Out Addendum to Contract to Buy & Sell Real Estate – Repealed January 1, 2019

This article shall cover just the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Residential).  All of these and many other useful forms can all be downloaded at no cost from the Colorado Division of Real Estate’s website: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/division-real-estate-contracts-and-forms.  On May 10, 2019, the Colorado Real Estate Commission changed paragraph 13 to comply with HB19-1098 regarding deeds conveying real estate.  The revised form is mandatory for real estate licensees July 1, 2019.  This modest change to the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate with the new section 13 incorporates language that if title is conveyed by a warranty deed, it will be conveyed “subject to statutory exceptions” which are defined in §38-30-113(5)(a), C.R.S.  This change to the form does not affect this article regarding tips on preparing the contract.

Thankfully, the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Residential) is now writable (simply download to your computer and then open it). Just click on the document; download it and open it in Adobe (free version works fine) to enable you to fill it out directly on the document. Many/most licensed real estate agents have sophisticated e-contract programs that are writable and allow for e-signatures. If you’re selling your home with the assistance of a licensee, they’ll likely have access to an efficient system for the contract preparation, delivery and execution.

I would be remiss to begin by not first strongly urging you to seek competent legal counsel in the preparation of the contract and the ramifications of its many provisions.  This article is not intended as a substitute for hiring an attorney nor is it intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the Colorado Residential Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate. Rather, this article is intended to provide a general overview in filling out the contract and should not be relied upon in lieu of the advice of a competent attorney.  I’m not going to waste your time giving advice or tips on obvious blanks or paragraphs containing blanks or boxes where it’s obvious how to fill them out.

As you fill out the form Contract, you’ll find that there will likely be many provisions that are inapplicable. Some are ideal for just putting n/a in the blank, and some should be interlineated (line through the language). In cases where you line through provisions, I recommend leaving the language you lined through still visible. So, you could draw a diagonal line through a paragraph to strike it yet leaving the language still viewable. Similarly, you can just draw a line through the middle of every sentence you wish to strike since that will also leave the language you’re striking as visible. Leaving the language visible that you are striking may assist in resolving any ambiguities that may arise by completing deleting or redacting through such provisions.

Let’s Begin.

Paragraph 2.1 gives three options regarding how the buyer is taking title. Most often, one of the first two is selected. If there is only one buyer, no selection needs to be made since it will be held in Severalty automatically. If there is more than one buyer, joint tenancy gives survivorship rights to the other joint tenant or tenants. It is the election made by virtually all married people as their interest in the property goes to the surviving spouse automatically when they die and does so outside of probate.   By electing to own as Tenants in Common, each owner’s interest passes according to their wills or intestate succession in the event no will exists. A classic example is two unrelated people investing in a rental property and owning as tenants in common thereby intending their interest to pass to their heirs rather than the surviving tenant in common.

Paragraph 2.3: The seller’s name can be easily ascertained by going to the website of the assessor for the county in which the property resides. Depending on the county, you’ll see other valuable and interesting information there such as the legal description, tax information, valuation, sales history and the present owner plus more depending on the county. You can also go to Zillow.com; type in the property address and see Zillow’s estimated value (Zestimate), photos and even comparable property sales.  You can always call Cherry Creek Title Services and obtain the ownership information and legal description. If you err in how you list the owner’s name or legal description, the title examiner at Cherry Creek Title will provide the correct information in the title commitment.

Paragraph 2.4: This is where you insert the legal description of the property. This can be found at the county assessor site; in the seller’s deed; in the seller’s title policy; and through a record title search.

Paragraph 2.5.3: After “except”, it should typically read “no exceptions”. This paragraph is dealing exclusively with personal property such as a refrigerator, and most buyers want the assurance that there are no liens against such personal property.

Paragraph 2.5.4: This is where you insert all other personal property items included with the sale. Being exhaustive and perhaps redundant is preferable to having a dispute later over whether specific personal property items were to be included. Examples to include here are appliances included with the sale that aren’t built in such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer. When in doubt, just list it to be safe.

Paragraph 2.5.5: The parking and storage facilities, if applicable, are both identified and disclosure is made whether they are Use Only or Ownership. These are tough questions for the buyer filling out the contract. Is the parking and storage part of the deed or are they limited common elements giving the owner of the property the exclusive right to use? The first place to start is to ask the seller who may or may not know. A review of their deed and the documents governing the common elements such as the condominium map, if applicable, and the declaration may be necessary to ascertain whether the parking and storage is owned by the Seller or not. When preparing the contract, this is when the management company can be very helpful as they likely know. There is always time after the contract preparation to verify these facts.

Paragraph 2.6: Exclusions should include items that would otherwise be considered as included such as  a light fixture which the seller is keeping, but it is also wise to list the unattached personal property such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer to avoid any misunderstandings.

Paragraph 2.7.1: If you are dealing with water rights being deeded, I’d highly suggest you hire an attorney versed in water law and let them determine the type of deed you should use.  They likely will recommend a bargain and sale or quit claim deed if you’re the seller.  This comes up rarely in a typical residential transaction. Water law is complex and beyond the scope of this article.   However, this will virtually never come up in an urban residential transaction so you will likely be putting “n/a” in this blank.

Paragraph 2.7.2: Same advice as above. If water rights are being conveyed, likely both parties will have attorneys involved, and the selection of the deed for water rights is better negotiated by experts.  Thankfully in the overwhelming majority of urban residential transactions, just put “n/a”.

Paragraph 2.7.3: If water is provided by a well, although seeking legal advice is again a wise path, at least visit the Colorado Division of Water Resources to review and verify the legitimacy of the permit. That’s the time to vigilantly look into any limitations, time frames, etc. regarding the well permit. Well issues can be complex, and obviously having water to the property is essential. The permit number can be obtained from the Seller and/or the Colorado Division of Water Resources. If you’re relying on a well for your water supply, I’d certainly advise employing an expert to inspect the well to ensure it will meet your needs.

Paragraph 2.7.4: Sometimes water rights will be transferred via stock certificates. Once again (thankfully), this is very rare in urban residential transactions. I’d highly recommend legal advice from an attorney with water law expertise in any situation involving the transfer of water rights.

Paragraph 3:

Item 1: If the earnest money isn’t being paid concurrently with the contract, insert the date it will be paid here. It should be within 24-48 hours.

Item 2: I recommend choosing a date 7-10 days after the contract acceptance date to give the parties time to select the title company; get them the contract, earnest money, payoff information, and any HOA information if applicable. Plus, the title company needs time to do the title search and prepare and distribute the title commitment and related documents.

Item 3: I recommend choosing a date 3-5 days after the date selected in Item 2.

Item 4: I recommend using the same date as item 2.

Item 5: I recommend using the same date as item 3.

Item 6: I recommend using a date 3-5 days after the date selected for Item 3.

Item 7: First rights of refusal are rare in Colorado. I’d fill this out as n/a. If it applies, the seller can counter and also provide the deadline since there’s no point putting in a deadline shorter than what is actually provided in the language of the first right of refusal if one exists. For example, all the existing owners in a complex may have 30 days to match the terms of your contract and usurp you as the Buyer. So in that situation, you’d want to pick a date more like 40 days out to give the seller/association/management company time to comply with the terms of any existing first right of refusal which of course begins with notification to all parties possessing any such right, and that likely won’t happen overnight.

Item 8: I’d choose a date 5-7 days after contract acceptance.  That’s plenty of time for the seller to get a full set of association documents from the property management company or association. An organized seller will have all of those documents on-hand at the time they market their home. If not, they should be able to procure them all from the management company within that 5-7 day time period.

Item 9: I’d choose a date 3-5 days after the date in Item 8.

Item 10: I’d choose a date no more than 3 days after contract acceptance. The seller should be ready to hand that to you along with the signed contract so same day as contract acceptance is not unreasonable at all. Again, the Seller’s Disclosure Form is available for free from the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Item 11: Within 3 days of contract acceptance. The seller should have this available immediately.

Item 12:  Within 3 days of contract acceptance.

Item 13: Within 3-5 days of contract acceptance.

Item 14: 3-5 days after acceptance date if applicable or n/a.

Item 15: 3-5 days after acceptance date.

Item 16: This will virtually always be “n/a”. If it does apply, 3-5 days after acceptance date.

Item 17: This will virtually always be Another “n/a”. If applicable, 3 days after the date in Item 16.

Item 18: Likely n/a; however, if applicable, 4 weeks after acceptance date. Although an appraisal, survey and even a lender’s title policy may all be unnecessary, assumption approvals can still take significant time.

Item 19:  10-14 days after acceptance. If the seller is carrying back financing, read my article on the Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc. website entitled “Private Mortgages Post-TRID and Specific to Colorado.”  It is best to involve an attorney to at least draft the loan documents even if the seller has done 3 or fewer loans in the last 12 months. I’m not a fan of laymen drafting loan documents and especially since 2008. Both Colorado and Federal laws impose strict restrictions on owner carries. Always consult an attorney knowledgeable regarding owner carry loans post Dodd-Frank and in compliance with all Federal and Colorado laws.

Item 20:  Within two weeks of contract acceptance.

Item 21: Within 3 days of the date in Item 20 is reasonable.

Item 22: Within 3 days of the date in Item 21 is reasonable.

Item 23: Within 10-14 days of contract acceptance.

Item 24: Within 3 days of the date in Item 23 is reasonable.

Item 25: Within 3 days of the date in item 24 is reasonable.

Item 26: As with all the recommended dates for appraisal, survey or inspection deadlines, knowing how long these professionals will take to complete their tasks is obviously advantageous in filling out all of these dates. I am choosing dates that work in the majority of circumstances and certainly can be countered by the Seller or amended later. With that said, I’d expect the inspector to complete the inspection within 7 days of contract acceptance and provide the report within 2 days of completing the inspection at the most. So, choosing 10 days from contract acceptance for the inspection deadline would be reasonable.

Item 27: Within 3 days of the date in item 26 is reasonable.

Item 28: Within 3 days of the date in item 27 is reasonable.

Item 29: Within 5-7 days of contract acceptance.

Item 30: Within 5-7 days of contract acceptance.

Item 31: Within 3 days of the date in item 30 is reasonable.

Item 32: Within 3-5 days of the date in item 31 is reasonable.

Item 33: Entirely up to how long the seller is willing to wait for the buyer’s home to sell.

Item 34: Within 3 days of the date in item 11.

Item 35: Obviously negotiable. Typically, 4-6 weeks from contract acceptance.

Item 36: When I purchase, I like possession on the “date of delivery of deed”. I do a pre-closing walk through the day of the closing so I see what I’m actually getting, and I provide for such a walk-through to take place in the Additional Provisions paragraph (paragraph 30). Many times the seller needs something like “3 days after delivery of deed” to move out. They want to make sure the house actually closes before moving. However, many a buyer has been disappointed with the condition/cleanliness of homes delivered after the seller has received their money, and although it rarely happens, some sellers actually do not vacate timely and must be evicted.

Item 37: Entirely up to the parties. If possession is on the date of delivery of deed, I’m going to choose a time that’s an hour after the closing time.

Item 38: I usually preferred to not pressure people while not giving them so much time they can go use your offer as leverage with other potential Buyers. 1-2 days is common.

Item 39: 5:00 p.m. is a nice time to choose for this blank.

I realize filling out the preceeding 39 items was tedious, time consuming, and not much fun. Especially if you took the time to look at each paragraph referred to by the items. The good news is the contract moves much quicker from here forward.

Paragraph 4.1: These 2 columns will balance when completed correctly. Assumptions are extremely rare since they all basically require the Buyer to qualify since almost every loan has a due on sale clause enabling the existing lender to preclude assumptions without lender approval. There is rarely Private Financing that isn’t seller financing. This is due to the many state and federal laws that do apply to non-seller private lenders making such loans virtually unavailable unless the property is for investment purposes. Even parents cannot provide their own children with financing without complying with complex Colorado laws. See my article entitled “Private Mortgages Post-TRID and Specific to Colorado” on the Cherry Creek Title website.

Paragraph 4.2: Before I filled this blank in, I’d verify with the lender if buyer Credit/seller concessions are allowed with the buyer’s intended loan and the limits to such concessions.

Paragraph 4.3: It will typically be in the form of a “personal check” although we see wires more and more often these days. Some sellers are willing to accept earnest money promissory notes although they usually only do so if they come due within 24 hours of contract acceptance. See Paragraph 4.3.1.  In the “held by” blank, insert the name of the title company you select. Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc. holds all such funds at no charge in a federally insured escrow account.

Paragraph 4.4.1: paraphrases the Colorado good funds law. Virtually all lender funds arrive via wire, and Buyers most often provide their funds to close via wires as many title companies will not accept anything but wires. However, the cashier’s check is still used and accepted at many title companies. If you use Cherry Creek Title Services and wish to use a cashier’s check, call to find out the procedure.

Paragraph 4.5.3: If the buyer is getting a new loan, the type of loan is checked here.

Paragraph 4.6: Assumptions are rare, but if one exists, the blanks are all self-evident and the answers obtainable from the lender holding the loan to be assumed. Like any paragraph that is inapplicable, you’ll normally just be drawing a diagonal line through that paragraph or interlineate each line. That still leaves the inapplicable language readable making it the preferred method of deleting inapplicable provisions since being able to read what was deleted can resolve a possible future ambiguity as discussed in the beginning of this article

Paragraph 4.7.1 applies when the seller is carrying back financing. Since I highly recommend utilizing a competent attorney to prepare any loan documents on behalf of the seller, I’d recommend they advise you on how to complete this paragraph.

Paragraphs 4.7.1.1 and 4.7.1.2: If applicable, each party has the right to terminate the contract based on dissatisfaction with the private loan terms as long it is done timely as provided in the contract.

Paragraph 6.4: Check the box who is paying for the appraisal. This is almost always paid for by the buyer, not the seller

Paragraph 8.1.1: I wouldn’t personally check this box.

Paragraph 8.1.2: I’d check this box electing to choose my own title insurance company, and of course I’d choose Cherry Creek Title Services. I wouldn’t let a seller pick my title insurer no more than I’d let them select my homeowner’s insurance. By reducing the offer price by the cost of the title policy, the seller is effectively paying for it via the price reduction, but the buyer is selecting who handles the closing and who is issuing the title policy of which they are the insured, not the seller. You wouldn’t let the car dealer pick your auto insurance, so why would you let the Seller or their agent pick out your title insurance? Title underwriters vary in strength, size, reserves and ratings. It does matter who issues your policy if you ever have a claim. At the time of writing this article, Cherry Creek Title is an authorized agent of the top two underwriters in the world, Fidelity (Commonwealth) and First American. We have been successfully helping “For Sale By Owner” sellers for decades and welcome their deals. The fees are absolutely no different than deals originated from real estate agents and no attorney opinion letter is required. Shop around and compare rates for closing fees and the cost of the owner and lender (if applicable) policies. Ask about whether a re-issue rate is available.

Paragraph 8.1.3: I’d check “Will”. I always obtain OEC for myself and recommend it for my clients. It covers many items that actually do result in claims and is inexpensive. In that paragraph you also select who will pay for OEC.

Paragraph 8.1.4: These documents are of public record and this paragraph is primarily definitional. All such documents are provided by Cherry Creek Title at no cost as long as they are of public record, which they virtually always are.

Paragraph 8.1.5: Copies of Title Documents: These are the documents referred to in 8.1.4, and Cherry Creek Title provides them at no cost.

Paragraph 8.1.6: This will virtually never apply. Abstracts are extremely rare. I would interlineate through the line so there is no ambiguity and all parties are aware the seller has no abstract to provide the buyer.

Paragraph 8.2 is self-explanatory. It summarizes the buyers right to review all title documents, commitments, endorsements, etc. and what happens when they aren’t provided timely and discusses termination and how the lack of the Buyer providing notice of termination is effectively an acceptance of the condition of the title.

Paragraph 8.3: This paragraph deals with off record items (not recorded so not discoverable by the title company). Sometimes parties enter into contracts during development or prior to construction knowing certain easement and other agreements will be recorded at the time of delivery of deed. Like 8.2, it provides that failing to object is effectively acceptance of any such items.

Paragraph 8.4 has been a mandatory disclosure in all capital letters for many years and many iterations of the Colorado licensed real estate agent mandated contract. It is a warning to the buyer to inquire whether the property they’re buying resides in a Special Taxing District. These Special Taxing Districts are vehicles used by the developer to finance such things as the cost of grading the land and the costs of building/installing streets, curb and gutter, utilities, drainage, and other improvements to the land. Sometimes there are off-site improvements as well.   If you’re an early buyer in an area subject to such Special Taxes and the development fails to sell well, you could be paying extremely high taxes since there won’t be enough other owners to share the costs. I think it’s highly risky to buy in a new community subject to a Special Taxing District. I wouldn’t.

Paragraph 8.6: Rights of First Refusal are rare. Some had racist origins/motivations. Many years ago, some communities reserved rights of first refusal to the other property owners in the community to match the terms of any contract and thereby keep out people they didn’t want to live there. They are rarely if ever created anymore, and when they do exist, it is important to comply with the terms of such first rights of refusal. It typically involves notification of all the affected parties with a time deadline to match the contract. Thankfully, first rights of refusal are very rare these days.

Paragraphs 8.7.1 through 8.7.5 discuss oil, gas, water and minerals. In platted urban property, zoning isn’t going to allow someone with mineral rights to your home to construct an oil well. However, that may be the case in rural, industrial and some other residential property settings. And, horizontal drilling techniques have adversely impacted homeowners.

Paragraph 8.8: This advises all parties to consult an attorney. The need for an attorney increases with the complexity of the transaction; existence of title issues; oil and gas issues; owner carry financing; the existence of a special improvement district and many other possible circumstances.

Paragraph 9.1: In a typical residential transaction involving a new loan, the lender will require an ILC (Improvement Location Certificate). An ILC is a very basic “survey-like” document that shows the property boundaries and the location of the improvements, easements, and any encroachments.  Suffice it to say that in a residential deal with the Buyer getting a new loan, you’ll be checking the ILC box.

Paragraph 9.1.1 and 9.1.2: Since it’s for the benefit of the buyer and specifically their lender, I’d check the boxes where the buyer orders the ILC and pays for it.

Paragraph 9.1.3 has a blank which may be n/a or to add other parties to whom are entitled to a copy of the ILC, survey etc. Examples are the buyer’s lender or attorney.

Paragraph 10.7 is where you’d insert the address of a property that the contract was conditioned upon its sale. So, if the Buyer was only obligated to purchase if successful in selling a property first, here’s where you’d list it.

Paragraph 10.8 is important.  I prefer that the Seller readily has their Property Disclosure https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/node/95951  (Colorado Real Estate Broker Mandatory Contracts and Forms/disclosure documents/ Sellers disclosure document (residential) available to the Buyer so the Buyer can check the box they’ve received a copy.  Same advice for any Source of Water Addendum and the Well Disclosure when applicable.

Paragraph 10.10.1 and 10.10.2 require the seller to provide the buyer with a completed Lead-Based Paint Disclosure if the property being sold had its building permit issued prior to January 1, 1978 and gives the Buyer the right to conduct a risk assessment if appropriate.  The Disclosure form is available at the Colorado Division of Real Estate website. The applicable federal law, Lead Disclosure Rule and compliance requirements can be found on the internet through HUD and the EPA.  The applicable federal law, Lead Disclosure Rule and compliance requirements can be found at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/enforcement/disclosure.

To find out more information on by the EPA “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home”, Click Here.

Paragraph 12.2: I advise whoever prepares the contract to concurrently prepare the closing instructions which are also available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Paragraph 12.3: “Mutual Agreement of Buyer and Seller” is very common.

Paragraph 13: This blank requires the deed form to be selected. Almost all residential deals involve general warranty deeds. Virtually all commercial deals, builders, and often Sellers represented by attorneys choose special warranty deeds. If you choose any other type of deed such as a bargain and sale or a quit claim deed, you’ll very likely run into issues with the title company being hesitant or unwilling to insure anything less than a warranty deed, and the Buyer may not accept anything less than a general warranty deed since that is the ubiquitous deed for residential conveyances.

Paragraph 15.2: These blanks are obvious. Most common is One Half by each party.

Paragraph 15.3: These blanks are obvious as well. Most common is the Buyer paying these charges since they are for the Buyer’s benefit.

Paragraph 15.4: Many are misguided and believe this always applies to the very small doc fee charge by the assessor (1 penny per hundred dollars as of this writing). But, many resort towns like Vail and even Glendale imposes a local transfer tax on the sale of property. These taxes can be substantial so being aware of their existence and amount is crucial. Once known, the parties can choose how they’re paid. Sharing this expense equally between Buyer and Seller is very common.

Paragraph 15.5: The Buyer usually pays the Private Transfer Fee. A common example is the HOA transfer fee that basically every association charges (a few hundred dollars) to transfer their ownership records from the previous owner to the new one.

Paragraph 15.6: This needs to be investigated by the seller and buyer but rarely applies.

Paragraph 15.7: Sales and Use Tax is rare in a typical residential sale transaction thereby triggering the None box virtually every time. An accountant should be consulted if a transaction involves sales and use tax. I’d check the None box, and if there was a counter that disclosed such a tax existed, I’d get the advice of an accountant and require the Seller to pay any such Sales and Use taxes.

Paragraph 16.1: Taxes:  For a typical transaction involving either vacant land or the sale of property with an improvement (e.g. house) that’s been there at least two years including any additions, alterations, modifications of any kind, I’d select the most recent mill levy and assessment. If the sale involves new construction or recent improvements were made to the property, I’d contact the county assessor to discuss the property. Here’s why: Typically, choosing the most recent mill levy and assessed value results in a fair proration and happy parties. Using last year’s taxes for proration purposes almost always ensures the new Buyer will not be given the seller’s fair share for the preceding year since taxes typically increase every year. Taxes are payable in arrears so 2018 taxes are payable in 2019. If you close late in the year, the amount becomes more significant. For instance, say you close at the end of November, and the seller gives the buyer a credit of 11 months of taxes based on the previous year to cover their part of the bill for the current tax year that won’t be due until the following year. Since residential tax settlements are virtually always final settlement, when the tax bill comes and the buyer sees they didn’t get the seller’s fair share of the 11 months they owned the property, they have no recourse. Using the most recent mill levy and assessed value is better since it will always be at least as current if not more so than the previous year’s taxes. There are special circumstances where it is worth making a more thorough inquiry regarding the taxes. See my article on the Cherry Creek Title website entitled “When Pro-Rating Property Taxes Using the Most Recent Mill Levy and Assessed Value is a Mistake & Important Contract Tip Regarding New Home Purchases. It discusses circumstances such as new construction and recent improvements made where it may be advisable to check the “other” box and choose a different solution to pro-rating property taxes.

Paragraph 16.2: The rent paragraph is obviously only applicable if the property comes with tenants. If so, the buyer and seller can mutually agree whether rents are based on rents received or using the accrual method. Typically, the buyer will want it based on rents received, and the seller would like to use the accrual method thereby getting credit for expected rents before they’ve actually been received.

Paragraph 16.4: This is a catch-all paragraph for anything being pro-rated besides water, sewer, propane or interest on a loan being assumed. It’s usually going to be “nothing else”, but there may be a storm sewer or other pro-ration item that may apply here.

Paragraph 16.5: All settlements of taxes, rents, security deposits, HOA fees and other Association related fees; water, sewer, assumption interest and anything else disclosed will be the Final Settlement of such pro-rations.  If the property taxes end up being higher than expected months later when the county assesses the property for a higher amount and/or increases the mill levy, the new buyer cannot return to the seller and demand additional amounts if the seller ended up paying less than the seller’s proportional share of the previous year that the seller owned the property. The contractually agreed method to prorate taxes in a Residential transaction is Final Settlement.

Paragraph 17: This paragraph addresses possession. Most residential transactions do not involve buyer’s taking the property subject to existing tenancies, but some do. That is addressed here. What is also addressed is establishing a daily rental owed by the seller for failing to deliver the property to the buyer at the promised possession date and time. Obviously this amount is negotiable and also typically varies with the value of the property. The daily rent for failing to deliver payment on a million-dollar home might be double the rent for a property selling for ½ that amount.  In this paragraph the buyer represents whether or not the buyer intends to occupy the property as the buyer’s principal residence. Additionally, there is a box that can be checked if the seller is going to rent the property back from the buyer in which case the parties agree to execute a Post-Closing Occupancy Agreement. There is a Post- Closing Occupancy Agreement available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Paragraph 21.1.1: If the Specific Performance box is checked, and the buyer defaults, the seller has the ability to not only retain the buyer’s earnest money, but may also sue to compel the buyer to perform. Most/all buyers would prefer this box is not checked so if they default, the damages are limited to forfeiture of the earnest money deposit. When the box is not checked, Paragraph 21.1.2 will apply which limits the seller’s remedy to retaining the earnest money in the event the Buyer defaults.

Paragraph 30: This is where terms unique to the transaction may be inserted. Attorneys, buyers and sellers have much more leeway here than licensed agents. Licensed agents are severely restricted in their ability to craft custom contract language.

Paragraph 31: Attachments that are part of the Contract such as Addenda.

Paragraph 31.1.1: This provides that a copy of the Post-Closing Occupancy, if applicable, is attached. And again, there is a Post-Closing Occupancy Agreement available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

The remainder of the Contract including the signature portion is all self-explanatory and won’t be addressed in this article. If no licensed agents are involved, I would interlineate (draw lines through) everything after line 881.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice.

 

Don’t Be Spoofed!

You have read the warnings: “Don’t wire funds in response to an email without using call-back procedures!” Always call the party who appears to have sent the email for confirmation using a “safe” or know phone number. What happens if you receive a phone call from your intended funds recipient, asking that you wire funds? You check the number on your caller ID and see that it matches the know number you have.

Are you good to wire funds? NO!

Fraudsters and thieves are utilizing prepaid “burner” phones and applications that will “spoof” the caller ID of any phone number the caller chooses-even valid phone numbers of known businesses.

This fraud scheme is rampant – our industry is not the only target. These spoofing apps advertise themselves as a tool to “prank your friends” but  are used by criminals posing as entities such as taxing authorities or bank personnel in order to defraud companies and consumers into sending money or providing confidential information.

How does this affect the title insurance companies? Fraudsters have learned that responsible escrow officers have begun using call back procedures to validate and verify emails regarding wiring of funds. They are using spoof caller ID in order to circumvent security procedures.

DON’T GET SPOOFED! An incoming phone call never takes the place of an outgoing confirmatory call before wiring funds.

 

Reprinted with permission of the American Land Title Association.
First American Title Insurance Company makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. First American, the eagle logo, First American Title, and firstam.com are registered trademarks or trademarks of First American Financial Corporation and/or its affiliates.
AMD: 05/2017

CHERRY CREEK TITLE SERVICES IS AN INDEPENDENT POLICY-ISSUING AGENT OF FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Tips to Protect Your Information During Your Real Estate Transaction

 

Real Estate Transactions are a Prime Target for Fraudsters!

When you buy a home you will be required to submit personal information to your lender and/or escrow agent. At Cherry Creek Title Services, we go above and beyond the industry standards to secure your personal information during and after your transaction. Here are some important tips to remember:

Always carefully examine the email address from which you receive updates on your transaction from your escrow officer to ensure it is correct. If an email seems suspicious, contact your escrow officer immediately.

Call your escrow officer  immediately if you receive an email requesting to change the wiring instructions for your transactions. DO NOT use the contact information provided in the email.
Carefully review your personal information on your transaction paperwork to ensure it is correct.Communicate or confirm any changes to the transaction with your escrow officer over the phone or in person.

Do not provide information about yourself or your transaction to any unknown or unnecessary parties.

Contact your escrow officer  if you suspect your email address is being improperly used or if you do not receive funds in a timely fashion.

Reprinted with permission of the American Land Title Association.
First American Title Insurance Company makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. First American, the eagle logo, First American Title, and firstam.com are registered trademarks or trademarks of First American Financial Corporation and/or its affiliates.
AMD: 05/2017

CHERRY CREEK TITLE SERVICES IS AN INDEPENDENT POLICY-ISSUING AGENT OF FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Tips to Identify Valid and Suspicious Emails

click on envelopeThe most common signs of suspicious signs to look for before opening your emails and clicking on any link are:

  • Incorrect Grammar/Spelling/Text Body

Many phishing email contain misspellings. Some of
these messages have been poorly translated from other languages. Additionally, you will want to pay attention if the time or date appears in the message body of an email. If the email contains the date format of DD/MM/YY, 24-hour time or coordinated universal time (UTC,) it’s likely that the email’s point of origin generated outside of the United States.

 

 

  • Suspicious Attachments

High-risk attachments file types include: .exe, .scr, .zip,
.com and .bat. Spam filters will generally do a good job of quarantining those formats. Most companies commonly send and receive .zip, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx and .pdf. However, a malicious sender can implant devious code in those formats as well. Once the attachment is opened, the computer is already compromised. Take caution if you have sent an email that has an attachment and the sender is questionable. You will want to verify the legitimacy of the email first. Next, you will want to examine the context of why the attachment is being sent.

  • Email Format/Absence of Logos/Plain Text Email

Most legitimate messages will be written with HTML. It should be a mix of text and images. A poorly constructed phishing email may show an absence of images. This includes the lack of the company’s logo. If the body of
an email is only an image as text, it’s possible that it is illegitimate. Outlook blocks showing images by default.
If the email is all plain text and looks different than what you’re used to seeing from a frequent sender, you may want to contact the sender directly in a new email or phone call.

 

  • Links in the Email

A common practice is to avoid blindly clicking on links
in an emails. Outlook allows you to hover over a link before clicking on it. If the link in the body of the email is different than what Outlook hovered preview reports, it
is not legitimate. Even if it seems legitimate, open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar. If you’ve clicked on a link, a phishing website will look identical to the original. However, your system may already be compromised. If you’re work email is connected to your phone, you will want to take extra precaution.

  • Urgent Request for Personal Information

One tactic that is commonly used by hackers is to alert you that you must provide and/or update your personal information about an account (e.g., Social Security number, bank account details, account password). Phishers will use this tactic to drive urgency for someone to click on a malicious URL or download an attachment aiming to infect the user’s computer or steal their information.

 

  • Use Work Email for Work Purposes Only

Employees should avoid using their work email address for personal signups. These include social media websites or customer loyalty/ reward programs

 

 

 

 

Reprinted with permission of the American Land Title Association.
First American Title Insurance Company makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. First American, the eagle logo, First American Title, and firstam.com are registered trademarks or trademarks of First American Financial Corporation and/or its affiliates.
AMD: 05/2017

CHERRY CREEK TITLE SERVICES IS AN INDEPENDENT POLICY-ISSUING AGENT OF FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Judicial Foreclosure in Colorado

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

The majority of foreclosures in Colorado involve deeds of trust foreclosed through the Public Trustee. Colorado’s Public Trustee system is unique to Colorado. Any mortgage can be judicially foreclosed, and many have no other option. This article shall discuss the basics of judicial foreclosures in Colorado.

Actions to foreclose mortgages or deeds of trust through the court system in Colorado require they occur in District Court in the county where the property lies under C.R.C.P. 105. Sometimes there are tactical reasons why attorneys choose judicial foreclosure rather than foreclosure through the public trustee such as the ability to combine the foreclosure remedy with other claims against the defendant or perhaps to resolve other issues such as the enforceability, amount and/or the priority of liens affecting the property title. Sometimes the property straddles more than one county. And although less often than in the past, sometimes the deed of trust and or note has an incurable defect that the Public Trustee refuses to allow a correction affidavit or scrivener’s affidavit to fix inconsistencies between the note and deed of trust or other typographical errors thereby forcing the lender to foreclose judicially. In many ways, judicial foreclosures often end up unfair to the defaulting borrower due to the expense and delay which just runs up the default interest higher than what would exist if a PT foreclosure was allowed. Nonetheless, judicial foreclosures are necessary for many reasons and are the only path to foreclose involuntary liens such as mechanics liens, tax liens, HOA liens and such since no deed of trust exists giving the Public Trustee the power of sale and authority to foreclose involuntary liens. See C.R.S. 38-33.3-316(d)(11) and C.R.S. 38-22-113.

Judicial foreclosures take longer and cost more than Public Trustee foreclosures, and predictably occur far less often. Sometimes it’s filed as an action merely regarding the subject property (in rem), and sometimes there is the need to involve other people as defendants to resolve issues or because they have personal liability (in personam). It’s procedure regarding notification of the defaulting parties and others with recorded interests in the property are very similar to PT foreclosures as are the rules regarding commencement, notice, cure, redemption, etc. A Litigation Guarantee or Foreclosure Certificate is obtained by a title company at the time the action is commenced.

The lender is seeking an Order of Judgment and a Decree to Foreclose. Once that is obtained, the foreclosure procedure is handled by the Sheriff very similar to how the PT handles PT deed of trust foreclosures. Once concluded, the Sheriff initially issues a Certificate of Purchase which is assignable. At the end of all the redemption periods, the Sheriff will issue a Confirmation Deed, a form of Bargain and Sale Deed, just as the PT does after a PT foreclosure.

This article purposely omitted many complexities and provisions that impact Judicial Foreclosures such as notice requirements, cure, redemption, omitted parties; the possibility the defaulting party is in the military; bankruptcy issues, water rights and many other complex issues. Such issues would require a very lengthy discussion and are best handled by attorneys experienced in these matters. This article was merely intended to provide the reader with a basic understanding of judicial foreclosures in Colorado. I cannot imagine not using a skillful attorney experienced in judicial foreclosures should the need ever arise. Besides some of the possible complexities already mentioned, issues involving the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act; the determination of personal and real property and other complex issues often arise. Further, it’s an actual District Court case, and not merely an administrative procedure. So, a strong knowledge of litigation and procedural rules is required besides the intricate knowledge necessary to successfully handle a judicial foreclosure.

This article is intended for educational purposes and not as legal advice

It is always advisable to seek the advice of a licensed attorney regarding the issues discussed in this article. Judicial foreclosures are complex matters that require skillful attorneys experienced in handling them.

Protecting Your Funds From Wire Fraud During Real Estate Transactions

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc., Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity and First American

Recently, the number of incidents of wire theft in real estate transactions has risen dramatically. Wires of buyer’s funds to close and seller’s proceeds are being hijacked all the time.

Here’s a typical scenario. The fraudsters hack into the real estate agent’s email and monitor the agent’s emails watching pending transactions.  Occasionally, they hack into the title company’s emails; however, it’s less common since it’s far easier to identify real estate agents that use public emails rather than private domain email accounts; lack sufficient firewalls; and are easier targets of malware than title companies.   However, title companies also fall victim to these scams. All it takes is the fraudster posing as the real estate agent and instructing the closer to change the wiring information for the seller or the closer opening an attachment with malware.

Sometimes the fraudster steals the buyer’s funds to close by hijacking the wire intended for the title company. The fraudster sends an email to the buyer (often that appears to originate from the title company) modifying the routing and account information for the buyer’s wire to the fraudster’s account. Since the fraudster knows when the transaction is closing by monitoring the email account they hacked, they know when to send such an email.  Many prefer to target the seller’s proceeds and wait until after the closing and then re-direct the seller proceeds immediately after the closing by posing as either the seller or the real estate agent for the seller.

These emails look legitimate since they either spoof the email address of the sender (looks like it came from a legitimate address) or they send t

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO PRESENTATION

he email from an account that is virtually identical to the sender’s by adding one character to the legitimate sender’s email and it goes unnoticed. That’s very easy to do when the sender uses public email accounts. That’s a common way title companies get duped. The closer receives an email from the fraudster that looks virtually identical to that of the agent, and instructs the agent to change the wiring instructions for the seller’s proceeds.  Some fraudsters go as far as sending a fake email from the intended recipient’s bank acknowledging receipt of the wire and that it was being credited to the defrauded party’s account. This gives the title company and defrauded party a false sense of security, and the goal is to delay them a day or two to confirm whether the wire was properly received. This gives the fraudster additional time to withdraw the stolen funds or wire them to another account from which they’re withdrawn before the funds can be frozen where they were initially diverted.

So, if you’re the buyer, here’s how to protect yourself. One way is to fund your deal with a cashier’s check instead of a wire.  If the title company has a wire only policy, tell them your concern about wire theft and offer to scan and send a copy of your cashier’s check in advance so the title company can call the issuing bank to verify its authenticity. That along with telling them you’ll close elsewhere if they will only accept a wire will likely change their position. If you cannot move the closing or choose to proceed and fund with a wire, make sure you call the title company closer at a phone number you independently verify belongs to them, and verify the wiring instructions directly with the closer. Many title commitments contain the wiring information where you send your funds necessary to close so be very wary if the closer gives you different information than what’s in the commitment.  No matter what emails or correspondence you receive ever attempting to modify that wiring information, you need to absolutely presume it’s an attempt to defraud you and divert your money to a criminal.  You’ll of course at a minimum want to call a phone number you procure independently (not off a potential fraudulent correspondence) and speak to the closer. I’ve never once seen the wiring instructions change in the middle of a transaction that wasn’t fraudulent so you need to be on high alert.

Protecting yourself as the seller from your proceeds wire being hijacked also requires a little diligence. You’ll want to insist that the title company signs a written document at the closing that confirms the correct wiring information for you and provides that the wiring information cannot be changed under any circumstances. Or you could choose to add a sentence that they can only be changed if the seller (you) returns to the title company; speaks directly to the closer that knows what you look like; you prove your identity again; and you sign a modified written document changing the wire destination. I’d prepare that document myself; send it in advance to the title company closer insisting that it be signed at the closing so it comes as no surprise, and if they refused to sign it, I’d go elsewhere. You have every right to make the party handling your money follow your strict instructions regarding the wiring instructions.

I also recommend notifying the title company prior to the closing that you want your wire sent immediately following the closing while you are still present, or make the title company get you a cashier’s check. Aggressive attorneys virtually 100% of the time successfully make the title company initiate the seller proceeds wire right after the closing, and the attorney waits in the lobby until a wire confirmation is received that the bank sends virtually immediately after a wire is sent. A thorough attorney verifies on the confirmation that it went to the proper account and takes a copy with them. A common issue that arises with getting a cashier’s check in lieu of a wire is that your bank may put a hold on it. If you’re turning around and purchasing another property or need immediate access to your funds for any reason, a cashier’s check might not work for you.

The sad reality is that once wires are stolen, they are rarely recovered. It’s a devastating loss to the victims, and their recourse at that point is to sue the real estate agent and/or title company for negligence.   Not only is litigation extremely expensive, you are forced to incur that cost right after losing a huge amount of money. And, getting a judgment means nothing unless you can collect. The parties responsible may lack the money to pay the judgment or may file for bankruptcy protection.  It’s far wiser to take appropriate precautions so you are never a victim of wire theft.

*This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice*

Visit our YouTube Channel for helpful tips and educational videos!Cherry Creek Title Services You Tube Channel

Protecting Your Purchase Funds and Sale Proceeds from Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

 By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

Recently, the number of incidents of wire theft in real estate transactions has risen dramatically. Wires of buyer’s funds to close and seller’s proceeds are being hijacked all the time.

Here’s a typical scenario. The fraudsters hack into the real estate agent’s email and monitor the agent’s emails watching pending transactions. Occasionally, they hack into the title company’s emails; however, it’s less common since it’s far easier to identify real estate agents that use public emails rather than private domain email accounts; lack sufficient firewalls; and are easier targets of malware than title companies. However, title companies also fall victim to these scams. All it takes is the fraudster posing as the real estate agent and instructing the closer to change the wiring information for the seller or the closer opening an attachment with malware.

Sometimes the fraudster steals the buyer’s funds to close by hijacking the wire intended for the title company. The fraudster sends an email to the buyer (often that appears to originate from the title company) modifying the routing and account information for the buyer’s wire to the fraudster’s account. Since the fraudster knows when the transaction is closing by monitoring the email account they hacked, they know when to send such an email. Many prefer to target the seller’s proceeds and wait until after the closing and then re-direct the seller proceeds immediately after the closing by posing as either the seller or the real estate agent for the seller.

These emails look legitimate since they either spoof the email address of the sender (looks like it came from a legitimate address) or they send the email from an account that is virtually identical to the sender’s by adding one character to the legitimate sender’s email and it goes unnoticed. That’s very easy to do when the sender uses public email accounts. That’s a common way title companies get duped. The closer receives an email from the fraudster that looks virtually identical to that of the agent, and instructs the agent to change the wiring instructions for the seller’s proceeds. Some fraudsters go as far as sending a fake email from the intended recipient’s bank acknowledging receipt of the wire and that it was being credited to the defrauded party’s account. This gives the title company and defrauded party a false sense of security, and the goal is to delay them a day or two to confirm whether the wire was properly received. This gives the fraudster additional time to withdraw the stolen funds or wire them to another account from which they’re withdrawn before the funds can be frozen where they were initially diverted.

So, if you’re the buyer, here’s how to protect yourself. One way is to fund your deal with a cashier’s check instead of a wire. If the title company has a wire only policy, tell them your concern about wire theft and offer to scan and send a copy of your cashier’s check in advance so the title company can call the issuing bank to verify its authenticity. That along with telling them you’ll close elsewhere if they will only accept a wire will likely change their position. If you cannot move the closing or choose to proceed and fund with a wire, make sure you call the title company closer at a phone number you independently verify belongs to them, and verify the wiring instructions directly with the closer. Many title commitments contain the wiring information where you send your funds necessary to close so be very wary if the closer gives you different information than what’s in the commitment. No matter what emails or correspondence you receive ever attempting to modify that wiring information, you need to absolutely presume it’s an attempt to defraud you and divert your money to a criminal. You’ll of course at a minimum want to call a phone number you procure independently (not off a potential fraudulent correspondence) and speak to the closer. I’ve never once seen the wiring instructions change in the middle of a transaction that wasn’t fraudulent so you need to be on high alert.

Protecting yourself as the seller from your proceeds wire being hijacked also requires a little diligence. You’ll want to insist that the title company signs a written document at the closing that confirms the correct wiring information for you and provides that the wiring information cannot be changed under any circumstances. Or you could choose to add a sentence that they can only be changed if the seller (you) returns to the title company; speaks directly to the closer that knows what you look like; you prove your identity again; and you sign a modified written document changing the wire destination. I’d prepare that document myself; send it in advance to the title company closer insisting that it be signed at the closing so it comes as no surprise, and if they refused to sign it, I’d go elsewhere. You have every right to make the party handling your money follow your strict instructions regarding the wiring instructions.

I also recommend notifying the title company prior to the closing that you want your wire sent immediately following the closing while you are still present, or make the title company get you a cashier’s check. Aggressive attorneys virtually 100% of the time successfully make the title company initiate the seller proceeds wire right after the closing, and the attorney waits in the lobby until a wire confirmation is received that the bank sends virtually immediately after a wire is sent. A thorough attorney verifies on the confirmation that it went to the proper account and takes a copy with them. A common issue that arises with getting a cashier’s check in lieu of a wire is that your bank may put a hold on it. If you’re turning around and purchasing another property or need immediate access to your funds for any reason, a cashier’s check might not work for you.

The sad reality is that once wires are stolen, they are rarely recovered. It’s a devastating loss to the victims, and their recourse at that point is to sue the real estate agent and/or title company for negligence. Not only is litigation extremely expensive, you are forced to incur that cost right after losing a huge amount of money. And, getting a judgment means nothing unless you can collect. The parties responsible may lack the money to pay the judgment or may file for bankruptcy protection. It’s far wiser to take appropriate precautions so you are never a victim of wire theft.

*This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice*

What Happens After the Closing?

 

IT’S OFFICIAL!

You just closed on your new home…..

what’s next? You have been supplied with a set of keys that unlocks the doors to your new home. To ensure security, change the locks upon moving in.

If you have not already done so….

 contact the local service providers to make arrangements for electricity, gas, water,
phone and cable or satellite services. While some providers may need as little notice as a day to activate your services, it’s best to give them a few weeks’ notice.

TITLE POLICY WITH CLOSING DOCUMENTSRECORDED DEED
Once recorded in the official county records, the original
deed to your home will be mailed directly to you, generally
within four-to-six weeks.

LOAN PAYmortgaqge statement and check being writtenMENTS
At the closing, written instructions were provided with details for making your first loan payment. You should receive your loan coupon book before your first payment is due. If you don’t receive your book, or if you have questions about your tax and insurance escrows, please contact your closing agent or attorney.

PROPERTY TAXES
At the closing, property taxes were prorated between the buyer and the seller based on occupancy time in the home. You may not receive a tax statement for the current year on the home you buy; however, it iTax Bill Notice of past dues your obligation to make sure the taxes are paid when due. Check with your lender to find out if taxes are included with your payment and if the tax bill will be paid by the lender from escrow funds.

FILING FOR HOMESTEAD
If the home you purchased is in a homestead state, you may be required to declare homestead or file a homestead exemption.  A homestead exemption reduces the value of a home for state-tax purposes. Please check with the local county recorder’s office to determine eligibility, fi ling requirements and deadlines.

POSTAL SERVICE
Your local Post Office can provide the necessary Change of Address forms to expedite the delivery of mail to your new home. You can speed up the process by notifying everyone who sends you mail of your new address and the date of your move. Many bills provide an area for making an address change.

CLOSE UP PICTURE OF COLORADO DRIVERS LICENSE

DRIVER’S LICENSE
VEHICLE REGISTRATION AND INSPECTION
You are required by law to notify your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after any relocation so a new driver’s license can be issued. You will also need to have your auto registration transferred to your new address and depending on your state, submit to a driving test and vehicle inspection. Check with your state DMV to determine requirements.

FSBO Tips On Filling Out the Colorado 2016 Contract To Buy And Sell Real Estate (Residential) Form CBS1-6-15; Mandatory 1/1/16 for Licensed Agents.

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity and First American 

images-2

WATCH THIS 5 PART SERIES for detailed instructions on filling out your purchase contract!

 

 

This article has been updated for 2019, Click Here for details.

The goals of the 2016 contract which became mandatory on 1/1/16 were simplification and clarification.  Further, no changes by the forms committee will be made for 3 years absent a legislative mandate, court decisions or an Attorney General opinion warranting any changes.  You can obtain this form at no charge by going to the Colorado Division of Real Estate’s website:  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/division-real-estate-contracts-and-forms.

  DOWNLOAD NOW Purchase Contract for Residental Property courtesy of the Colorado Division of Real Estate

Besides the sales contract, there is a wealth of very useful forms available for free through the Division of Real Estate when you follow that link.  Examples are:  Lead-Based Paint Disclosures; Seller’s Property Disclosure; Agreement to Amend/Extend; Earnest Money Release and Form Notes and Deeds of Trust for use in transactions where the owner is carrying back financing.  You can print out any of the available forms for free and fill them out with a pen or typewriter.  Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what’s available.   There are many informative articles posted on the Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.’s website written by me covering a variety of primarily real estate related topics that you may find helpful.

Writable forms are available for purchase through Bradfordpublishing.com.  Many/most licensed real estate agents have sophisticated e-contract programs that are writeable and allow for e-signatures.  If you’re selling your home with the assistance of a licensee, they’ll likely have access to an efficient system for the contract preparation, delivery and execution.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. I would be remiss to begin by not first strongly urging you to seek competent legal counsel in the preparation of the contract and the ramifications of its many provisions.   This article is not intended as a substitute for hiring an attorney nor is it intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the Colorado 2016 Contract.  Rather, this article is intended to provide a general overview in filling out the contract and should not be relied upon in lieu of the advice of a competent attorney.   I’m not going to waste your time giving advice or tips on obvious blanks like the Date, Buyer’s Name, and other blanks or boxes where it’s obvious how to fill them out.

As you fill out the form Contract, you’ll find that there will likely be many provisions that are inapplicable.  Some are ideal for just putting n/a in the blank, and some should be interlineated (line through the language).  In cases where you line through provisions, I recommend leaving the language you lined through still visible.  So, you could draw a diagonal line through a paragraph to strike it yet leaving the language still viewable.  Similarly, you can just draw a line through the middle of every sentence you wish to strike since that will also leave the language you’re striking as visible.  Leaving the language visible that you are striking may assist in resolving any ambiguities that may arise by completing deleting or redacting through such provisions.

Let’s Begin.

Paragraph 2.1 gives three options regarding how the Buyer is taking title.  Most often, one of the first two is selected.  If there is only one Buyer, no selection needs to be made since it will be held in Severalty automatically.  If there is more than one Buyer, joint tenancy gives survivorship rights to the other joint tenant or tenants.  It is the election made by virtually all married people as their interest in the property goes to the surviving spouse automatically when they die and does so outside of probate.   By electing to own as Tenants in Common, each owner’s interest passes according to their wills or intestate succession in the event no will exists.  A classic example is two unrelated people investing in a rental property and owning as tenants in common thereby intending their interest to pass to their heirs rather than the surviving tenant in common.

Paragraph 2.3:  The Seller’s name can be easily ascertained by going to the website of the assessor for the county in which the property resides.  It seems obvious that you could just ask the Seller for this information, but make sure they verify how their name appears on their deed or title policy from when they bought it.  You can always call Cherry Creek Title Services and obtain the ownership information and legal description.

Paragraph 2.4: This is where you insert the legal description of the property.  This can be found in the Seller’s deed; Seller’s title policy; at the county assessor’s website – although it’s often in abbreviated form; and through a record title search.   You can also call Cherry Creek Title Services.

Paragraph 2.5.3:  After “except”, it should typically read “no exceptions”.  This paragraph is dealing exclusively with personal property such as a refrigerator, and most Buyers want the assurance that there are no liens against such personal property.

Paragraph 2.5.4:  This is where you insert all other personal property items included with the sale.  Being exhaustive and perhaps redundant is preferable to having a dispute later over whether specific personal property items were to be included.  Examples to include here are appliances included with the sale that aren’t built in such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer.

Paragraph 2.5.5:  The parking and storage facilities, if applicable, are both identified and disclosure is made whether they are Use Only or Ownership.  These are tough questions for the Buyer filling out the contract.  Is the parking and storage part of the deed or are they limited common elements giving the owner of the property the exclusive right to use?  The first place to start is to ask the Seller who may or may not know.  A review of their deed and the documents governing the common elements such as the condominium map, if applicable, and the declaration may be necessary to ascertain whether the parking and storage is owned by the Seller or not.  When preparing the contract, this is when the management company can be very helpful as they likely know.  There is always time after the contract preparation to verify these facts.

Paragraph 2.6:  Exclusions should include items that would otherwise be considered as included such as  a light fixture which the Seller is keeping, but it is also wise to list the unattached personal property such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer.

Paragraph 2.7:  If you are dealing with water rights being deeded, I’d highly suggest you stop reading this article and hire an attorney.  This comes up rarely in a typical residential transaction.  Water law is complex and beyond the scope of this article.  However, this will virtually never come up in an urban residential transaction so you will likely be putting “n/a” in this blank.

Paragraph 2.7.2:  Same advice as above.  If water rights are being conveyed, likely both parties will have attorneys involved, and the selection of the deed for water rights is better negotiated by experts.   Thankfully in the overwhelming majority of urban residential transactions, just put “n/a”.

Paragraph 2.7.3:  If water is provided by a well, although seeking legal advice is again a wise path, at least visit the Colorado Division of Water Resources to review and verify the legitimacy of the permit.  That’s the time to vigilantly look into any limitations, time frames, etc. regarding the well permit.  Well issues can be complex, and obviously having water to the property is essential.  The permit number can be obtained from the Seller and/or the Colorado Division of Water Resources.  If you’re relying on a well for your water supply, I’d certainly advise employing an expert to inspect the well to ensure it will meet your needs.

Paragraph 2.7.4:  In certain circumstances, the transfer of property will involve water rights transferred via stock certificates.  Once again (thankfully), this is very rare in urban residential transactions.  I’d highly recommend legal advice in any situation involving the transfer of water rights.

Paragraph 3:

Item 1:  If the earnest money isn’t being paid concurrently with the contract, insert the date it will be paid here.

Item 2:  I recommend choosing a date 7-10 days after the contract acceptance date to give the parties time to select the title company; get them the contract, earnest money, payoff information, and any HOA information if applicable; and then enough time for the title company to do the title search and prepare and distribute the title commitment and related documents.

Item 3: I recommend choosing a date 3-5 days after the date selected in Item 2.

Item 4:  I recommend using the same date as item 2.

Item 5:  I recommend using the same date as item 3.

Item 6: I recommend using a date 3-5 days after the date selected for Item 3.

Item 7: First rights of refusal are rare in Colorado.  I’d fill this out as n/a.  If it applies, the Seller can counter and also provide the deadline since there’s no point putting in a deadline shorter than what is actually provided in the language of the first right of refusal if one exists.  For example, all the existing owners in a complex may have 30 days to match the terms of your contract and usurp you as the Buyer.  So in that situation, you’d want to pick a date more like 40 days out to give the Seller/association/management company time to comply with the terms of any existing first right of refusal which of course begins with notification to all parties possessing any such right, and that likely won’t happen overnight.

Item 8: I’d choose a date 5-7 days after contract acceptance.  That’s plenty of time for the Seller to get a full set of association documents from the property management company or association.  An organized Seller will have those documents available immediately.

Item 9:  I’d choose a date 3-5 days after the date in Item 8.

Item 10: I’d choose a date no more than 3 days after contract acceptance.  The Seller should be ready to hand that to you along with the signed contract so same day as contract acceptance is not unreasonable at all.  Again, the Seller’s Disclosure Form is available for free from the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Item 11: The loan application process should not be delayed any longer than absolutely necessary.  It wouldn’t be unreasonable to select a date very soon after the date the contract is accepted such as 3 days after the date you insert in Item 35.

Item 12:  Check with the borrower’s lender if they have already have one, or just choose a date 6 weeks after the date in Item 11.  At the time this article is being written, it is unrealistic to expect a loan to get processed as quickly as 3-4 weeks with the implementation of TRID (complex Federal regulations) on October 1, 2015.

Item 13: 3-5 days after acceptance date (Item 35), but this will normally be n/a.

Item 14: 3 days after the date chosen in Item 13.

Item 15: This will virtually always be another “n/a”.  If it does apply, 3 days after acceptance date (Item 35) is just fine.

Item 16:  Another “n/a”.  If applicable, 3 days after the date in Item 15.

Item 17: Another “n/a”.  If applicable, 5-6 weeks after acceptance date (Item 35).  Although an appraisal, survey and even a lender’s title policy may all be unnecessary, assumption approvals still take significant time now.  People sometimes pick a date such as 6 weeks out and add language such as “or within 3 (or some other number) business days of such Loan Approval if it occurs earlier.”   This will keeps the contract from expiring and already provides for an earlier closing date if the approval process happens sooner and all parties wish to close as soon as that happens.

Item 18:   10-14 days after acceptance (Item 35).  If the Seller is carrying back financing, read my article on the Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc. website entitled “Private Mortgages Post-TRID and Specific to Colorado.”   It is best to involve an attorney to at least draft the loan documents even if the Seller has done 3 or fewer loans in the last 12 months.  I’m not a fan of laymen drafting loan documents – even simple ones.   With that said, there are very good free form notes and deeds of trust available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate forms.  If the Seller does more than 3 loans in a year, it triggers onerous state laws, and the magic number is 5 that triggers onerous federal laws.   Just remember 3.  If I were a Seller of property not engaged as a professional licensed lender, I’d never exceed the 3 per year limit in Colorado thereby keeping things much simpler and less regulated.

Item 19:  You can always check with the Buyer’s lender to get an idea of how quickly they can get an appraisal done, but 10-14 days after Loan Application (item 11) is likely reasonable.

Item 20: Within 3 days of the date in Item 19 is very reasonable.

Item 21: Within 3 days of the date in Item 20 is very reasonable.

Item 22:  Within 14 days after Loan Application (Item 11) is reasonable.

Item 23:  Within 3 days of the date in Item 22 is reasonable.

Item 24:  Within 3 days of the date in item 23 is reasonable.

Item 25:  As with all the recommended dates for appraisal, survey or inspection deadlines, knowing how long these professionals will take to complete their tasks is obviously advantageous in filling out all of these dates.  I am choosing dates that work in the majority of circumstances and certainly can be countered by the Seller or amended later.  With that said, I’d expect the inspector to complete the inspection within 7 days of contract acceptance and provide the report within 2 days of completing the inspection at the most.  So, choosing 10 days from contract acceptance for the inspection deadline would be reasonable.

Item 26: Within 3 days of the date in item 25 is reasonable.

Item 27: The Buyer should be able to make this determination within 7 days of contract acceptance.  An example of when a Buyer may object would be when a property lies in a flood plain requiring flood insurance.

Item 28: There is no reason the Seller shouldn’t be able to provide these documents immediately but easily within 5-7 days of contract acceptance if they have to procure them through the HOA’s management company.

Item 29: Within 3 days of the date in Item 28.

Item 30: Within 3 days of the date in Item 29.

Item 31: This is really solely the decision of the Buyer and Seller.  Does the Seller even want to accept a contract that is contingent on the Buyer selling their home?  Perhaps if the Buyer’s home is already under contract.  And if so, how long will the Seller want to hold their property for the Buyer waiting for the Buyer’s house to sell and close?  Once the Seller agrees to the contract being contingent on the Buyer selling their home, the Seller is now on the Buyer successfully selling their home rather than refusing such an offer and keeping control of the sale of their own property where they control the pricing, etc.  I find Sellers much more amenable to this provision when the Buyer’s house is already under contract pending closing.  That makes the date you fill in pretty easy:  Use the date the Buyer’s house is scheduled to close and consider taking back-up contracts.  It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss using a first right of refusal in this circumstances since that language is best drafted by an attorney specific to your transaction.

Item 32: If you’re picking a closing date based on how long you think it will take to process and close a new loan for the Buyer, you can count on around 5-6 weeks now since we’re post-TRID.  Before, 4 weeks was more typical.  Obviously, it’s always wise to check with the lender(s) at the time you are selling to see how long it’s taking to get a purchase money loan closed.

Item 33:  When I purchase, I like possession on the “date of delivery of deed”.  I do a pre-closing walk through the day of the closing so I see what I’m actually getting, and I provide for such a walk-through to take place in the Additional Provisions paragraph (paragraph 30).  Many times the Seller needs something like “3 days after delivery of deed” to move out.  They want to make sure the house actually closes before moving.  However, many a Buyer has been disappointed with the condition/cleanliness of homes delivered after the Seller has received their money, and although it rarely happens, some Sellers actually do not vacate timely and must be evicted.

Item 34:  This should be selected by the parties depending on the what they agree on in Item 33.  If possession is on the date of delivery of deed, I’m going to choose a time that’s an hour after the closing time.

Item 35:  I usually preferred to not pressure people while not giving them so much time they can go use your offer as leverage with other potential Buyers.  Many professionals advise only giving the Seller one day and even sometimes less, but I usually choose 2 days from the date of the offer.

Item 36: 5:00 p.m. is a nice time to choose for this blank.

I realize filling out the preceeding 36 items was tedious, time consuming, and not much fun. The good news is the contract moves much quicker from here forward.

Paragraph 4.1:  These 2 columns will balance when completed correctly.  Assumptions are extremely rare since they all basically require the Buyer to qualify since almost every loan has a due on sale clause enabling the existing lender to preclude assumptions without lender approval.  There is rarely Private Financing that isn’t Seller Financing.  This is due to the many state and federal laws that do apply to non-Seller private lenders making such loans virtually unavailable unless the property is for investment purposes.  Even parents cannot provide their own children with financing without complying with complex Colorado laws.  See my article entitled “Private Mortgages Post-TRID and Specific to Colorado” on the Cherry Creek Title website.

Paragraph 4.2:  Before I filled this blank in, I’d verify with the lender if Buyer Credit/Seller Concessions are allowed with the Buyer’s intended loan and the limits to such concessions.

Paragraph 4.3: It will typically be in the form of a “personal check”, although we see wires now and then and even Sellers willing to accept earnest money promissory notes although they usually only do so if they come due within 24 hours of contract acceptance.  See Paragraph 4.3.1.   In the “held by” blank, insert the name of the title company you select.  Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc. holds all such funds at no charge in a federally insured escrow account.

Paragraph 4.4.1: paraphrases the Colorado good funds law.  Virtually all lender funds arrive via wire and Buyers typically provide their funds to close via cashier’s checks and wires.

Paragraph 4.4.2 has a box to check whether the Buyer has all funds to close at the time of signing the contract, and it also clearly provides that the Buyer is in default if good funds are not available by closing to complete the transaction.

Paragraph 4.5.3: If the Buyer is getting a new loan, the type of loan is checked here.

Paragraph 4.5.4:  The Good Faith Estimate was in almost all circumstances eliminated and replaced by the Loan Estimate on October 3, 2015 so this reference to the Good Faith Estimate should have been updated.   Certainly the spirit of this paragraph still applies and the Loan Estimate is the new “good faith estimate” with tight tolerances.

Paragraph 4.6: Assumptions are rare, but if one exists, the blanks are all self-evident and the answers obtainable from the lender holding the loan to be assumed.  Like any paragraph that is inapplicable, you’ll normally just be drawing a diagonal line from the left side of line 137 terminating at the right side of line 149 since this paragraph will not apply.  That still leaves the inapplicable language readable making it the preferred method of deleting inapplicable provisions since being able to read what was deleted can resolve a possible future ambiguity as discussed in the beginning of this article

Paragraph 4.7.1 applies when the Seller is carrying back financing and is pretty obvious on how to fill out.

Paragraphs 4.7.1.1 and 4.7.1.2:  If applicable, each party to right to terminate the contract based on dissatisfaction with the private loan terms as long as done timely as provided in the contract (Item 18 of Paragraph 3).

Paragraph 6.4:  Check the box who is paying for the appraisal.  This is almost always paid for by the Buyer, not the Seller

Paragraph 8.1:  Check the box just to the right of 284 if the Seller is selecting who is going to be you title insurer in the event you ever suffer a loss.  I wouldn’t let a Seller pick my title insurer no more than I’d let them select my homeowner’s insurance company.  Rather, I’d deduct the cost of the title policy from the sales price and elect to buy it myself by Checking the box in 8.1.2.  (see paragraph below).  The other option, the Abstract, is rarely available; only as good as the malpractice coverage of the abstractor; far more prone to errors and contains no affirmative coverage.  You can close residential transactions in urban areas for decades without ever encountering an abstract.  Opting for title insurance gives broader coverage backed by the strength and regulation of a title underwriter who must retain adequate reserves to cover claims.   I’d never personally accept an Abstract in lieu of title insurance.

Paragraph 8.1.2: I’d check the box just to the right of “289” and choose Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.  By reducing the offer price by the cost of the title policy, the Seller is effectively paying for it via the price reduction, but the Buyer is selecting who handles the closing and who is issuing the title policy of which they are the insured, not the Seller.  You wouldn’t let the car dealer pick your auto insurance, so why would you let the Seller or their agent pick out your title insurance?  Title underwriters vary in strength, size, reserves and ratings.  It does matter who issues your policy if you ever have a claim.  At the time of writing this article, Cherry Creek Title is an authorized agent of the top two underwriters in the world, Fidelity (Commonwealth) and First American in addition to North American Title (top ten).  We have been successfully helping “For Sale By Owner” Sellers for decades and welcome their deals.  The fees are absolutely no different than deals originated from real estate agents and no attorney opinion letter is required.  Shop our rates as both our closing and title rates are very competitive, and we have a liberal re-issue rate as well.

Paragraph 8.1.3: I’d check “Will”.  I always obtain OEC for myself and recommend it for my clients.  It covers many items that actually do result in claims and is inexpensive ($75.00 as I write this in January of 2016).  In that paragraph you also select who will pay for OEC.

Paragraph 8.1.4:  These documents are of public record and this paragraph is primarily definitional.  All such documents are provided by Cherry Creek Title at no cost as long as they are of public record, which they virtually always are.

Paragraph 8.1.5:  Copies of Title Documents:  These are the documents referred to in 8.1.4, and Cherry Creek Title provides them at no cost.

Paragraph 8.1.6:  This will virtually never apply. You can strike it entirely or leave it in as an inapplicable provision.

Paragraph 8.2 is self-explanatory.  It summarizes the Buyers right to review all title documents, commitments, endorsements, etc. and what happens when they aren’t provided timely and discusses termination and how the lack of the Buyer providing notice of termination is effectively an acceptance of the condition of the title.

Paragraph 8.3:  This paragraph deals with off record items (not recorded so not discoverable by the title company).  Sometimes parties enter into contracts during development or prior to construction knowing certain easement and other agreements will be recorded at the time of delivery of deed.  Like 8.2, it provides that failing to object is effectively acceptance of any such items.

Paragraph 8.4 and its sub-parts discuss the Buyer’s power to terminate the contract based upon title objections.  Since 8.4.2 provides the Buyer can terminate based on any unsatisfactory title matter in their sole subjective discretion, the date chosen in Item 5 of paragraph 3 shouldn’t be too far out in the future since until that date passes, the Buyer can easily terminate the contract.

Paragraph 8.5 has been a mandatory disclosure in all capital letters for many years and many iterations of the Colorado licensed real estate agent mandated contract.  It is a warning to the Buyer to inquire whether the property they’re buying resides in a Special Taxing District.  These Special Taxing Districts are vehicles used by the developer to finance such things as the cost of grading the land and the costs of building/installing streets, curb and gutter, utilities, drainage, and other improvements to the land.  Sometimes there are off-site improvements as well.   If you’re an early Buyer in an area subject to such Special Taxes and the development fails to sell well, you could be paying extremely high taxes since there won’t be enough other owners to share the costs.  I think it’s highly risky to buy in a new community subject to a Special Taxing District.  I wouldn’t.

Paragraph 8.6:  Rights of First Refusal are rare.  Some had racist origins/motivations.  Many years ago, some communities reserved rights of first refusal to the other property owners in the community to match the terms of any contract and thereby keep out people they didn’t want to live there.  They are rarely if ever created anymore, and when they do exist, it is important to comply with the terms of such first rights of refusal.  It typically involves notification of all the affected parties with a time deadline to match the contract.  Thankfully, first rights of refusal are very rare these days.

Paragraph 8.7: Gives everyone the wise advice to review EVERYTHING affecting the property carefully.  Building code restrictions; zoning laws; parking restrictions; registered sex offenders residing nearby; set-backs restrictions; utility availability; sufficient access; building permit availability; drainage; all matters of record and much, much more may need to be reviewed depending on the property.  Getting the advice of an experienced real estate attorney is well worth the cost since mistakes can be financially catastrophic.

Paragraphs 8.7.1 and 8.7.2 discuss oil, gas, water and mineral reservations.  In platted urban property, zoning isn’t going to allow someone with mineral rights to your home to construct an oil well.  However, that may be the case in rural, industrial and some other residential property settings.  It is certainly worth inquiring about any such reservations and reviewing any such agreements.  When in doubt, hire an attorney specializing in real estate.  The good news is that most urban residential property benefit from public utilities: water and sewer (rather than well and septic) and zoning precludes anyone from disturbing your property seeking minerals.  If the property relies on a well and/or septic, I strongly recommend you verify the legitimacy of the well permit and have an expert inspect and analyze both the well and septic/leeching fields.

Paragraphs 8.7.3, 8.7.4 and 8.7.5 give further emphatic warnings regarding any existing oil and gas activity on or nearby the property and that the title insurance policy is not going to be the answer if you purchase without doing your homework and end up living a nightmare with constant drilling activity.

Paragraph 8.8:  This advises all parties to consult an attorney.  The need for an attorney increases with the complexity of the transaction; existence of title issues; oil and gas issues; the existence of a special improvement district and many other possible circumstances.

Paragraph 9.1: In a typical residential transaction involving a new loan, the lender will require an ILC (Improvement Location Certificate).  An ILC is a very basic “survey-like” document that shows the property boundaries and the location of the improvements, easements, and any encroachments.  Suffice it to say that in a residential deal with the Buyer getting a new loan, you’ll be checking the ILC box.

Paragraph 9.1.2: Since it’s for the benefit of the Buyer and specifically their lender, I’d check the Box that the Buyer orders the ILC knowing it will be the Buyer’s lender that actually orders it.  And, I’d also check the Box for the Buyer to pay for it since again, it’s solely for the benefit of the Buyer and the Buyer’s lender.

Paragraph 9.1.3 has a blank which may be n/a or to add other parties to whom are entitled to a copy of the ILC, survey etc.  Examples are the Buyer’s lender or attorney.

9.1.4:  Specifying that the surveyor certifies their work to the insuring title company, Buyer, Seller, etc. is a wise practice and all named in 9.1.3 are to be called out in the surveyor’s certification.  For those who haven’t seen one, it’s typically one paragraph on the face of the survey document certifying the work specifically to certain parties and signed by the surveyor.

Paragraph 10.6.1.1 and 10.6.1.2 are applicable if the property is presently subject to a lease or leases that will still exist after the Buyer acquires it.   If I were filling it out, I’d be “none” or n/a in both paragraphs

Paragraph 10.7 is where you’d insert the address of a property that the contract was conditioned upon its sale.  So, if the Buyer was only obligated to purchase if successful in selling a property first, here’s where you’d list it.

Paragraph 10.8 is important.  I prefer that the Seller readily has their Property Disclosure https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/node/95951  (Colorado Real Estate Broker Mandatory Contracts and Forms/disclosure documents/ Sellers disclosure document (residential) available to the Buyer so the Buyer can check the box they’ve received a copy.  Same advice for any Source of Water Addendum and the Well Disclosure when applicable.

Paragraph 10.10 requires the Seller to provide the Buyer with a completed Lead-Based Paint Disclosure if the property being sold had its building permit issued prior to January 1, 1978.   The Disclosure form is available at the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.  The applicable federal law, Lead Disclosure Rule and compliance requirements can be found at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/enforcement/disclosure.

The pamphlet, “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home” can be downloaded at:  http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2013-09/documents/lead_in_your_home_brochure_land_color_508.pdf .

Paragraph 12.2:  I advise the Buyer or whoever prepares the contract to concurrently prepare the closing instructions which are also available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Paragraph 12.3:  If I am the Buyer, I put in “Mutual Agreement of Buyer and Seller”.

Paragraph 13: The blank requires the deed form to be selected.  Almost all residential deals involve general warranty deeds.  Builders, and often Sellers represented by attorneys choose special warranty deeds instead.  If you choose any other type of deed such as bargain and sale or a quit claim deed, you’ll very likely run into issues with the title company being hesitant or unwilling to insure anything less than a warranty deed.

Paragraph 13.6 allows any other title exception to be enumerated here that isn’t already described above.

Paragraph 15.2: These blanks are obvious.  Most common is One Half by each party.

Paragraph 15.3:  These blanks are obvious as well.  Most common is the Buyer paying these charges since they are for the Buyer’s benefit.

Paragraph 15.4:  Many are misguided and believe this always applies to the very small doc fee charge by the assessor (1 penny per hundred dollars as of this writing).  But, many resort towns like Vail and even Glendale imposes a local transfer tax on the sale of property.  These taxes can be substantial so being aware of their existence and amount is crucial.  Once known, the parties can choose how they’re paid.  Sharing this expense equally between Buyer and Seller is very common.

Paragraph 15.5:  The Buyer usually pays the Private Transfer Fee.  A common example is the HOA transfer fee that basically every association charges (a few hundred dollars) to transfer their ownership records from the previous owner to the new one.

Paragraph 15.6:  These fees vary.  Putting $100 in the blank if the fee is unknown would be reasonable.  Most range from zero to $100, but it all depends where the property is located.

Paragraph 15.7: Sales and Use Tax is rare in a typical residential sale transaction thereby triggering the None box virtually every time.  An accountant should be consulted if a transaction involves sales and use tax.  I’d check the None box, and if there was a counter that disclosed such a tax existed, I’d get the advice of an accountant and require the Seller to pay any such Sales and Use taxes.

Paragraph 16.1: Taxes:  For a typical transaction involving either vacant land or the sale of property with an improvement (e.g. house) that’s been there at least two years including any additions, alterations, modifications of any kind, I’d select the most recent mill levy and assessment.  If the sale involves new construction or recent improvements were made to the property, I’d contact the county assessor to discuss the property.  Here’s why:  Typically, choosing the most recent mill levy and assessed value results in a fair proration and happy parties.  Last year’s taxes almost always ensures the new Buyer will not be given the Seller’s fair share for the preceding year since taxes typically increase every year.  Taxes are payable in arrears so 2016 taxes are payable in 2017.  If you close late in the year, the amount becomes more significant.  For instance, say you close at the end of November, and the Seller gives the Buyer a credit of 11 months of taxes based on the previous year to cover their part of the bill for the current tax year that won’t be due until the following year.  Since residential tax settlements are virtually always final settlement, when the tax bill comes and the Buyer sees they didn’t get the Seller’s fair share of the 11 months they owned the property, they have no recourse.  Using the most recent mill levy and assessed value is better since it will always be at least as current if not more so than the previous year’s taxes.  There are special circumstances where it is worth making a more thorough inquiry regarding the taxes.  See my article on the Cherry Creek Title website entitled “When Pro-Rating Property Taxes Using the Most Recent Mill Levy and Assessed Value is a Mistake & Important Contract Tip Regarding New Home Purchases.  It discusses circumstances where it may be advisable to check the “other” box and choose a different solution to pro-rating property taxes.

Paragraph 16.2: The rent paragraph is obviously only applicable if the property comes with tenants.  If so, the Buyer and Seller can mutually agree whether rents are based on rents received or using the accrual method.  Typically, the Buyer will want it based on rents received, and the Seller would like to use the accrual method thereby getting credit for expected rents before they’ve actually been received.

Paragraph 16.3: I highly recommending you read and understand how HOA fees and working capital are handled.  The Buyer is going to pay/reimburse the Seller for the Seller’s pre-paid HOA fees and any money held as working capital by the HOA that the Seller previously paid in.  That is often 2 months of dues.   If there are existing special assessments but the work is not yet completed, the parties here select who is responsible, Buyer or Seller.  The assessments and when they’re paid (e.g. monthly) is disclosed and the final blank is where the Seller must disclose the existence of any unpaid special assessments or other pending expenses regarding the Association.

Paragraph 16.4: This is a catch-all paragraph for anything being pro-rated besides water, sewer, propane or interest on a loan being assumed.  It’s usually going to be “none”, but there may be a storm sewer or other pro-ration item that may apply here.

Paragraph 16.5: All settlements of taxes, rents, security deposits, HOA fees and other Association related fees; water, sewer, assumption interest and anything else disclosed will be the Final Settlement of such pro-rations.   If the property taxes end up being higher than expected months later when the county assesses the property for a higher amount and/or increases the mill levy, the new Buyer cannot return to the Seller and demand additional amounts if the Seller ended up paying less than the Seller’s proportional share of the previous year that the Seller owned the property.  The contractually agreed method to prorate taxes in a Residential transaction is Final Settlement.

Paragraph 17:  This paragraph addresses possession.  Most residential transactions do not involve Buyer’s taking the property subject to existing tenancies, but some do.  That is addressed here.  What is also addressed is establishing a daily rental owed by the Seller for failing to deliver the property to the Buyer at the promised possession date and time.  Obviously this amount is negotiable and also typically varies with the value of the property.  The daily rent for failing to deliver payment on a million-dollar home might be double the rent for a property selling for ½ that amount.   In this paragraph the Buyer represents whether or not the Buyer intends to occupy the property as the Buyer’s principal residence.  Additionally, there is a box that can be checked if the Seller is going to rent the property back from the Buyer in which case the parties agree to execute a Post-Closing Occupancy Agreement.  There is a Post- Closing Occupancy Agreement available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Paragraph 21.1.1: If the Specific Performance box is checked, and the Buyer defaults, the Seller has the ability to not only retain the Buyer’s earnest money, but may also sue to compel the Buyer to perform.  Most/all Buyers would prefer this box is not checked so if they default, the damages are limited to forfeiture of the earnest money deposit.  When the box is not checked, Paragraph 21.1.2 will apply which limits the Seller’s remedy to retaining the earnest money in the event the Buyer defaults.

Paragraph 27.2:  this is where an alternative electronic notice may be sent other than what is enumerated.  Usually this will be “n/a”.

Paragraph 30:  This is where terms unique to the transaction may be inserted.  Attorneys, Buyers and Sellers have much more leeway here than licensed agents.  Licensed agents are severely restricted in their ability to craft custom contract language.

Paragraph 31: Attachments that are part of the Contract such as Addenda.

Paragraph 31.1.1: This provides that a copy of the Post-Closing Occupancy, if applicable, is attached.  And again, there is a Post-Closing Occupancy Agreement available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

The remainder of the Contract including the signature portion is all self-explanatory and won’t be addressed in this article.

This article and video presentation are intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice.  To view more educational videos on real estate and other related subjects visit the Cherry Creek Title Services Channel on You Tube

Can I Sell My Home After Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Before I Receive My Final Discharge?

by Michael Selinfreund, President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.

This article and video presentation is for educational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.  To view more educational videos on real estate and other related subjects visit us at the Cherry Creek Title Services Channel on You Tube

 

Yes.  However, it requires the cooperation and approval of the Trustee to release “abandon” the Property.   And, depending on the jurisdiction, it may still require a Motion to Abandon the Property and an Order authorizing sale from the Bankruptcy Court.  And predictably, is not a fast process.  Since a typical Chapter 7 (Straight Bankruptcy) case takes 90 days from filing to discharge, the wiser move is to just wait until the case is completed.   Pursuant to section 522 of the Bankruptcy code, the Trustee has control over the debtor’s estate from filing until discharge so the debtor should refrain from entering into any contracts of any sort (e.g. listing agreement; sales agreement) until after receiving their final discharge.

 

VIDEO PRESENTATION ON SELLING OR REFINANCING YOUR HOME IN BANKRUPTCY