BTC Newsletter - July 2013

To: Realtors AND Loan Officers 

From: John M. Brennan, Attorney - President, Brennan Title Company



IN MARYLAND, SOME INTERESTING LEGISLATIVE CHANGES which lower the Recordation Taxes collected on a refinance of a NON-principal residence-including commercial properties- NOW, (effective July 1 2013) the borrower whether an individual or entity receives the same exemption from the Recordation tax by paying ONLY the difference between the new loan amount and the unpaid PRINCIPAL balance securing the premises .Various Counties in Maryland have different affidavits to sign and some counties charge other, additional, taxes (such as PG county's 1.4% transfer tax) which will not change.

OTHER GOOD NEWS FOR INVESTORS is the increase in the exemption from Recordation tax on IDOT's to $3,000,000. There are lots of conditions and requirements so call our Commercial Division and speak to Susan Chartier, Esq., our commercial real estate attorney, (202-537-5378) if you have a question about this.

IF YOU THOUGHT THE HOMESTEAD TAX CREDIT was a permanent law-think again- under the risk of expiration, the legislature enacted as an "emergency Bill" an extension to December 30, 2013 from December 30. 2012- also, future applications for the Homestead Tax Exemption must be filed by May 1 of the year PRECEEDING the first taxable year for which the exemption will apply!!! Be alerted that BTC provides an Homestead Exemption Form to our Purchasers at the closing table!!!!

HAS THE FEDERAL RESERVE REMOVED THE PUNCH from the Real Estate Recovery?? If you judge by the immediate increase in rates of the 10 year Bond and the resultant effect on fixed term mortgages, the answer is a strong YES! But, there are still some economic recovery headwinds that may stay the hand of any accelerated attempt to reduce the Feds bond buying thru Quantitative Easing (QE)! The recent stronger numbers in unemployment reductions are still moving slowly and such things as employment growth are still not showing themselves as much in Manufacturing and the private sector employment. The Treasury is about to run out of money in September and there will be the recurring uncertainty over extending the Debt Ceiling (sure to happen), the lack of growth in Europe, the uncertainty of Japan's recovery, the growing effects of Sequestration and the rising price of oil! Depending on how these factors play out, they make act as a sounding bell to the Federal Reserve!  My bet is for a tapering of the increase in rates (not back to the 3% mortgage but maybe in the high 3's low 4's) and a less exuberant real estate market! Still Good but not Great!!

REMEMBER, THERE ARE STILL MANY HOMEOWNERS who are upside down on their mortgages in this area and while conditions have improved and the number of foreclosures has reduced, they remain far above NORMAL conditions. Unfortunately, this will continue to dampen appraisal values in some of the more depressed markets. Short sales are still going strong and the lenders are pushing back against sales at too great a discount. You must be alerted to values in your area and be prepared to support, up front, your short sale offer!

AS THE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL PICTURE CLARIFIES OVER THE SUMMER, I will update you!! In the meantime, take advantage of the heightened consumer confidence and the motivation that higher interest rates can have on homebuyers - fear of rates rising even further and the common knowledge that prices are accelerating SHOULD be a formula for a good summer!!

SOME TITLE UNDERWRITERS DO NOT REQUIRE A HOUSE LOCATION SURVEY on purchases and many lenders are not requiring one. However, many issues that arise on the survey can be beneficial for the buyer to know. Example, a client purchased a home with a very large conservation easement. The contract was executed WITHOUT THE CONSERVATON EASEMENT ADDENDUM. When the client went to closing the conservation easement showed up and he/she became alerted to the fact that they would not be able to do some improvements to the landscaping that they had planned. Needless to say, the survey prevented some serious legal and possible real estate commission issues down the road. We see reasons every day for the buyer to review a copy of the survey. You do not want to be the one who recommended against the survey when a problem, discoverable by the survey, pops up!!

in bringing a fraudulent seller to justice and preventing major losses. This was an attempt by a fraudulent seller to sell and convey a property he did not own. Kim Gilbert-Toelle, one of our attorney's,became suspicious about the authenticity of a Death Certificate and investigated further to learn that the seller was in fact alive, and lived in another state. Once she contacted the true owner, he and the FBI participated in a "sting operation" to catch the perpetrator in the very act of attempting to convey this property to an unwitting buyer and some VERY surprised agents!! Way to go Kim!
PLEASE KEEP US IN MIND when you are choosing your title provider! Try our interactive website for useful information or for a quote on properties anywhere in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia or Delaware. Or contact our West Virginia Affiliate Brennan and Associates for a quote.

AS ALWAYSI welcome your comments and calls! I can be reached on my direct line at

301-261-8177 and by e-mail at



John M. Brennan



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