May 18, 2022

In This Issue:

  • Early Voting Underway for Primary Election Runoffs
  • ICYMI: Texans Overwhelmingly Approve Propositions on Property Tax Breaks
  • Mobile, Online Home Purchases Raising Mortgage Fraud Costs
  • Fannie Mae Updates Requirements for Virtual Currencies

Early Voting Underway for Primary Election Runoff

Texas Land Title Association | May 18, 2022
Early voting in the primary runoff elections began Monday and runs through Friday. Election Day is May 24. On this runoff election's ballots you'll find legislative, statewide, congressional and State Board of Education candidates.

Texans can vote in only one party's primary in a given year. So if you voted in the Democratic primary in March, you are only eligible to vote in the Democratic runoff. If you didn’t vote in a March primary, you can vote in either party’s runoff election. Regardless of the primary in which you choose to vote, you can vote for candidates of any party during the general election in November.  
Voter turnout in Texas is the among the lowest in the nation, so please make a plan to vote early, and be sure to remind your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers that voting is one of our country's most cherished liberties. 
As always, if you would like to discuss any of the candidates on your ballot or the impact of this election on our industry, please contact TLTA's Government Affairs Director, Aaron Day.  
Early Voting: May 16 - 20   
Primary Runoff Election: May 24 

Who's on the ballot »
Where and when to vote and more »  

ICYMI: Texans Overwhelmingly Approve Propositions on Property Tax Breaks

Austin American Statesman | May 8, 2022
Texas voters overwhelmingly approved two amendments to the Texas Constitution that are intended to provide modest property tax breaks to homeowners.

With all precincts reporting, just under 85% of voters supported Proposition 2 to raise the homestead exemption for school district property taxes from the current $25,000 to $40,000 starting this year.

The change will save the average homeowner about $175 a year in school property taxes, according to state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, who led legislative efforts in favor of the proposed amendment.

Proposition 1, supported by 87% of voters, offered a more focused break by correcting an oversight to tax relief, adopted by the Legislature in 2019, that did not apply to homeowners who are disabled or 65 and older because their school tax burden is frozen.

Voter approval means that, starting in 2023, those homeowners will save about $110 next year for a home valued at $300,000 by making available the reduction in the property tax limits for school maintenance and operations.
Read More »

Mobile, Online Home Purchases Raising Mortgage Fraud Costs

HousingWire | May 17, 2022
The rise in mortgage-related fraud over the past three years was largely due to a surge in online and mobile-only mortgage transactions. The pandemic and growing mobile channel fueled the number of fraud cases with application fraud being a key entrant point for fraudsters, a new report analyzing fraud trends suggests.

Fraud costs largely came from consumers seeking to buy a new home through online and mobile transactions, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Firms with 50% or more retail transactions could have a higher cost of fraud and larger volume of average monthly attacks, according to the firm’s True Cost of Fraud report.

The report surveyed 360 risk and fraud executives to analyze fraud trends in the mortgage originator, services, title and settlement markets. 

Read More »

Fannie Mae Updates Requirements for Virtual Currencies

ALTA | May 17, 2022
Fannie Mae issued an update on May 4 to its Selling Guide with new requirements for virtual and cryptocurrencies. The new policies went into effect immediately.
The new requirements include:
  • Income paid in the form of virtual currency may not be considered when qualifying a borrower.
  • Assets used to establish continuance for certain income types cannot be in the form of virtual currency.
  • The purchase price of the property and any earnest money deposit may not be designated in virtual currency.
  • The payment used as rental income must be in U.S. dollars.
  • Payment on any installment debt secured by virtual currency must be included in the debt-to-income ratio calculation.

Industry Hot Topics 2022: Tips and Guidance on Current Questions Escrow Pros Are Asking

1 hr Escrow Credit
Frances Hughes, CTIP, Providence Title
Melissa L. Trubatisky, Alliant National Title Insurance Company

In tomorrow intermediate webinar, Industry Hot Topics 2022, attendees will learn helpful hints and receive guidance on hot topics currently affecting the title industry, including the following:
  • How to handle lender requests for loans involving additional collateral. The rate rules to know and how homestead can affect the transaction. We’ll discuss refinances and purchase transactions.
  • When to issue a T-1 Owner Policy vs. issuing a T-1R. 
  • Review of the procedural rule associated with the definition of “residential real property” and the issuance of the Owner Policy.
  • What you need to know about handling new construction when there are overruns, overages and upgrades. How homestead can affect this issue.
  • How to balance the Buyer CD when the lender improperly discloses title company fees and premiums.
  • Who is responsible for preparing the Seller CD.
  • Who is responsible for delivery of CDs to real estate agents.
  • Proper disclosures on the promulgated Texas Disclosure (T-64), and the procedural rule associated with this form.
  • Properly completing notary acknowledgements and acceptable forms of identification for all parties.
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