Increasing Risk of Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

On a national level, and with growing prevalence in Omaha, Nebraska, real estate professionals are reporting increased instances of wire fraud scams in real estate transactions. The scams are hitting both residential and commercial real estate transactions, but are becoming especially pernicious in commercial real estate, resulting in millions of dollars wired to the wrong account.

 

The scams, generally, result from an email account or a real estate broker database being hacked, where the scammer learns about the transaction, and then sends last minute fraudulent wire transfer instructions that look real because of the details. Often, the fraudulent instructions will include a middle-man, such as a real estate professional, attorney, or title company receiving the wire instructions and forwarding those instructions to the financial institution. By using the intervening party, the fraudulent instructions look genuine to the financial institution.

 

For all individuals and entities involved in real estate transactions, the safest approach is using secure email services, especially when sending wire instructions. However, if secure email services are not used, warning signs include last minute changes to the wire instruction, erroneous email addresses, or a change to an overseas financial institution. If any of these red flags arise, the wire instructions should be verified with the originating party.

© 2017 Vandenack Weaver LLC
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Updates Made to Nebraska Homestead Exemption Information Guide

By Joshua A. Diveley.

The Nebraska Department of Revenue (NDOR) has updated its information guide regarding the Nebraska property tax homestead exemption. The homestead exemption provides property tax relief to certain homeowners by exempting from tax all or a portion of the taxable value of the taxpayer’s residence. The homestead exemption is available to persons over the age of 65, qualified disabled individuals and qualified disabled veterans and their widow(er)s. Specifically, revisions were made in the disabled veterans category to remove the requirement, effective for periods prior to January 1, 2015, that a veteran had to serve during a recognized war of the United States to be an eligible disabled veteran. Effective January 1, 2015, military service during peace is sufficient to qualify as a disabled veteran.

The homestead exemption form must be filed with the county assessor by June 30, 2015.

The updated homestead exemption information guide may be viewed on the NDOR’s website at: http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/info/96-299.pdf. Release, Nebraska Department of Revenue, February 9, 2015

© 2015 Houghton Vandenack Williams

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What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is something that someone purchasing real estate or lending money on real estate purchases to make sure that they are really getting what they think they are getting. What title insurance does is tell you the title history of your property, the loans that have been taken out against the property, and any liens against the property. All of that is going to be put forth in that title insurance policy and the title insurance company is going to say that if there is anything else that comes up, we’ll protect you against it. So title insurance is there to make sure that when you buy a property, you know exactly what you are getting.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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What Are Some Common Risks Involved in a Commercial Property Lease?

When you are renting property for your business you need to start out by asking who is paying for it to be improved. Who’s going to cover that cost so that I’m ready to open my door? Then you have to think about who are your neighbors. If you have a restaurant next to you, you might need to give consideration to what happens if flooding occurs and who is going to be responsible for odors that might come through. You also have to look at parking. Is there sufficient parking for my business? How much parking do my neighbors use? Is one of my neighbors the type of tenant that every Monday night for Monday Night Football they are going to be packed, so I better not plan on having customers show up?

There are a lot of things you need to think about when you are looking at leasing commercial property, but you really have to consider if my business is going to operate here, can it be successful. If the answer to that is yes, everything else can be resolved through good due diligence.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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What Are Some Common Risks Involved in a Commercial Real Estate Transaction?

In a commercial real estate transaction there are risks associated with making sure the buyer can afford to pay you, that’s usually the first thing the seller wants to figure out. From a buyer’s standpoint, you want to look at what kind of due diligence do you need to do. Do you need to worry about zoning regulations? Are the environmental hazards that have been on this property? Did there used to be a gas station? What are the title issues? Are there any easements running through it? If you are redeveloping the property you may be putting a new building up. You need to make sure that you have the right to put it where you really want to on that piece of property.

Every transaction is different and every transaction has its hot points. Sellers want to make sure they are getting paid and they know when they are going to close and buyers want to make sure they are really going to be able to use the property the way they want to once they close.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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What Should Be in a Commercial Real Estate Purchase Contract?

In a real estate purchase contract you definitely need to make sure you identify the property, identify the parties (who is the buyer and who is the seller), identify the purchase price and how it’s going to be paid and have the seller make some warranties to you about the condition of the property (how it is zoned, whether there are utilities and those types of things). You also need to deal with how the closing costs are going to be allocated, who is paying for the title insurance, who is recording the deed, is there financing involved and does the buyer need the ability to get out if the financing doesn’t come through. In a commercial real estate transaction there are a whole lot of issues that need to be addressed in the contract and it’s good to have good counsel helping you out in that process.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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University of Nebraska Extension Releases Land Value Survey

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension has issued its 2013/2014 Nebraska land value survey report. The state average value for farmland increased 5% to an average of $3,195 per acre with regional per acre averages ranging from $770 per acre in the Nebraska panhandle to $7,215 per acre in East-Central Nebraska. A table summarizing the regional values is provided below:

 Nebraska 2013-2014 Land Value Survey

A full copy of the report, can be obtained at: http://goo.gl/bdvgqq.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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