real estate: $5,000 DC Homebuyer Tax Credit off the table for now - 01/09/13 12:18 AM
Our marketing team has received word from the office of Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) that DC's popular $5,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit has not been renewed. We're told the Congresswoman is working on a plan to get the credit reinstated.
That means first-time homebuyers who may have otherwise qualified for the credit but bought their properties after Dec. 31, 2011 will not be able to claim the credit. The loss of this credit comes as no surprise to us since DC has one of the strongest housing markets in the nation.
In our office approximately 10% of DC closings took advantage … (2 comments)

real estate: Homebuyers: Do you know what you are buying? - 09/17/12 05:13 AM
While this would seem to be obvious, purchasers should pay close attention to exactly what they are buying.  I am not referring to inspection issues, I am referring to something that seems obvious, but does occasionally come up as a problem. Here are some real scenarios where an individual bought something that was not exactly what they were expecting.
SCENARIO 1: I bought more land (and headaches) than I thought! Upon review of the survey, the purchasers realized that the property line in the back of the property did not end at the fence, but continued back another 100 feet.  While … (0 comments)

real estate: What you should know about ground rents - 06/11/12 03:30 AM
A ground rent refers to a scenario where an individual owns his house, but someone else owns the actual property (the “ground”). The homeowner pays the ground rent owner an annual fee, or a ground rent, as a rent on the land.   In Baltimore, this form of ownership dates back to the 18th century. The intent was to make homeownership affordable, by allowing purchasers to only have to buy the house, while paying an annual rent on the land.   Since many ground rent leases were established for 99 years, time and poor record-keeping made it difficult to know who … (2 comments)

real estate: Transfer taxes, real property taxes... Explained - 05/29/12 01:45 AM
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes," Ben Franklin once famously said. Yet when it comes to taxes on real property – especially for first-time homebuyers – we find much uncertainty and confusion exists.
Homebuyers should expect to pay two main types of taxes on their homes, 1) transfer taxes are non-recurring and paid once at settlement and 2) real property taxes are recurring and paid semi-annually (when you pay depends on where you live).
Transfer Taxes Aside from the down payment, transfer taxes are often the single largest expense a homebuyer will pay at settlement. Transfer taxes … (2 comments)

real estate: Standard v. Enhanced Title Insurance: Real Estate Taxes - 11/29/11 05:57 AM
In my view, the most underrated insuring provision of the Enhanced Owner’s Title Insurance Policy relates to real estate tax assessments occurring after the transfer of ownership.
The Enhanced policy we offer through our underwriter First American states (as a covered risk): "A taxing authority assesses supplemental real estate taxes not previously assessed against the Land for any period before the Policy Date because of construction or a change of ownership or use that occurred before the Policy Date."
While the Standard (Limited) Owner’s Title Insurance Policy insures against a real property tax lien and/or assessment imposed by the taxing authority prior … (0 comments)

real estate: Reissue Rates... Explained - 06/17/11 04:56 AM
In the world of real estate closings and title insurance lurks an oft misunderstood concept we call the “Reissue Rate.” Simply put, a reissue rate is a homebuyer discount on the cost of an owner's title insurance policy. To obtain a reissue rate discount, the transaction must satisfy certain conditions from the title insurance underwriter. The following sets forth the requirements along with the most common questions we encounter from homebuyers. (Our title insurance underwriter is First American Title Insurance Company, so for this discussion we will focus on their reissue rate discount guidelines. The reissue rate guidelines of other national … (0 comments)

real estate: $5000 DC homebuyer tax credit renewed - 12/30/10 06:33 AM
Congress renewed the $5,000 DC homebuyer tax credit for another two years as part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced earlier this month.
The DC tax incentive will be retroactive for 2010 and continue through 2011.
"First-time homebuyers of a principal residence in the District, who meet income limitations and other eligibility guidelines may qualify for a one-time tax credit for up to $5,000 of the amount of the purchase price," Joe Gentile, vice president of Federal Title & Escrow Company, said.
To qualify as … (0 comments)

real estate: A quick guide to VA loans - 12/16/10 06:05 AM
Active-duty service members and veterans may be eligible for a home loan guaranty program offered the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for purposes of purchasing or refinancing a home. What is a VA guaranteed loan?It is a loan that is made by a typical mortgage company, savings and loan, or bank, in which the VA guarantees a portion of the loan amount, thereby protecting the lender against loss if the mortgage payments are not made. The purpose of this program is to encourage lenders to provide veterans with more favorable terms on loans. For example, allowing the veteran to more easily … (0 comments)

real estate: Homeowners Assistance Program - Part V: The closing process - 12/16/10 05:54 AM
Once a determination is made as to which benefits are most advantageous for the applicant, the closing process can finally begin. There are several noteworthy items to keep in mind at this time:1. Prior to closing, the applicant will need to ensure that their mortgage is paid current, including interest, late charges, fees and penalties. In addition, any homeowner’s association or condominium association dues will also have to be paid current.
2. If you are a PCS eligible applicant receiving Government Acquisition Benefits:
A. You will need to have certified funds sent to your Benefits Specialist to pay for interest due … (0 comments)

real estate: Homeowners Assistance Program - Part IV: What are the benefits? - 12/16/10 05:51 AM
Once your application for Expanded HAP assistance is approved, a Benefits Specialist will be assigned to your file, and will immediately contact you to determine the appropriate benefits for your specific situation.
There are four types of benefits available under the Expanded HAP program. 1. Private Sale Benefits: If you have already sold your property or you are able to pay any loss on the sale at the time of closing, private sale benefits are paid directly to you after the closing. PCS and BRAC 2005 applicants would be reimbursed for 90% of the prior fair market value (defined as the price … (0 comments)

real estate: Homeowners Assistance Program: Part III – How do you apply? - 12/16/10 05:46 AM
If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria for Expanded HAP, as broken down in Part II of our blog, the next step is to submit an application with the Army Corps of Engineers for your respective district. Application packages can be downloaded from the Army Corps of Engineers HAP website, located at, along with mailing address for the respective district where they should be mailed. There is a checklist of items included with the application package that you will need to include, and in order for your application to be more readily processed, the Corps of Engineers recommends … (0 comments)

real estate: Maximum VA loan county limits for 2011 released - 12/16/10 05:21 AM
The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Program recently published county “limits” to be used for VA Loans closing between January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011. The limits for Fiscal Year 2012 have not yet been released. Please note, these limits do not reflect a maximum amount that an eligible veteran is permitted to borrow, but rather, reflects the VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. The maximum VA guaranty amount for loans over $144,000 is 25% of the 2011 VA limit. For example, an eligible veteran may borrow up to $818,750 to purchase a property in Washington, DC … (2 comments)

real estate: Master condo insurance policy vs. H0-6 insurance policy - 08/19/10 04:42 AM
Until recently, lenders did not require condominium purchasers (borrowers) to obtain property insurance coverage beyond that provided in the condominium association’s master policy.
That all changed last year due to new condominium lending guidelines imposed by Fannie Mae (FNMA) and FHA, which now require purchasers to obtain H0-6 insurance policies.
In general, the condominium master insurance policy only covers “from studs out;” it does not cover “wall in.” For example, the master policy would cover such things as the roof, exterior, common areas, and elevators. It does not cover such things as flooring, wall coverings, and other improvements made within the … (1 comments)

real estate: E-signatures valid on Maryland sales contracts - 06/04/10 08:06 AM
Recently I've heard feedback from a few Maryland real estate agents who are concerned about the validity of e-signatures on Maryland real estate contracts.
As a company that prides itself on empowering real estate agents with knowledge to make their clients' closing experience as pleasant as possible, we took it upon ourselves to investigate this matter and address the concern.
After making a few phone calls, I was able to reach out to an account rep at DocuSign, one of the companies that spearheaded an industry wide effort to move the FHA to formally recognize E-signed third-party documents.
An April 8, … (0 comments)

real estate: Is it time to breathe new life into your website? - 06/04/10 07:54 AM
The overhaul of an existing Web site or launch of a new one is an undertaking that comes with a lengthy checklist of tasks and possibly a substantial price tag.However, in the world of Web 2.0 technology and mounting expectations from increasingly tech-savvy customers, title companies around the country are exploring the options available to them today. Those options are allowing the smallest to largest businesses to be more easily found through Internet searches and to better serve as a source for everything from fee quotes to consumer-oriented educational tools once their Web sites are discovered.Nikki Smith, marketing director for Federal … (1 comments)

real estate: To rent or to own, that is the question - 06/04/10 07:45 AM
The $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers expired for most of us a little over a month ago, but mortgage rates continue to hold at historic lows prompting the question: Is it better to rent or own?
The big picture story tells us conditions are prime for buyers, but the truth is on a regional level the story has many versions. To determine if now is the best time for your unique circumstances, take a look at this Rent. vs. Buy Index produced by Trulia, a real estate website.
The index rates the Top 50 markets in the United States … (4 comments)

Todd Ewing (Federal Title & Escrow Company)

Todd Ewing

Washington, DC

More about me…

Federal Title & Escrow Company

Address: 5335 Wisconsin Ave, NW , Suite 700, Washington, DC, 20015

Office: (202) 362-1500

Fax: (202) 362-5901

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