in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

Settlement agents are regularly asked to handle transactions in which the buyer assigns a purchase agreement to another buyer prior to closing. In today's market, these assignments have become increasingly popular. Sometimes the landowner and the initial buyer negotiate the future assignment when the purchase agreement is negotiated. Other times, the assignment is not contemplated until the initial buyer is approached by a new buyer to "buyout" their existing interest in the purchase agreement. Many times, the assignor is inexperienced in structuring the assignment, which wreaks havoc on the closing. Find out what happens when an assignment fails in "WHAT could go wrong?"

Title insurers are known as the protectors of property rights for many reasons, but mostly for the work done in clearing title curative matters. The industry cures title defects, such as unreleased prior paid mortgages, mis-indexed items and expired liens — in ONE out of every THREE real estate transactions. Recently, the job of clearing title has been made even more difficult. There is a firm that has been recording 40-year liens against properties in exchange for a payment of $300 to $5,000 as a cash loan. This practice has been deemed an unconscionable business practice by many states. Now comes the problem of clearing those liens. Be sure to read "DECEPTIVE and unfair" for more detailed information. 

Those who engage in illegal activity often use large "cash" payments to launder money, and thereby convert dirty money or illegally gained money into clean money or assets. As discussed earlier this year in money laundering and real estate transactions articles, federal laws require that recipients of large "cash" payments report those payments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The regulations require businesses that receive "cash" payments of more than $10,000 to report the funds received on IRS Form 8300 – Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business. These forms allow the IRS and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to detect and track financial crimes, such as money laundering. Escrow and title companies are subject to the IRS Form 8300 reporting requirements. To find out more, read "CASH deposits."

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