Author Archives: Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service

About Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions in New York State and nationwide, underwriting through Chicago Title. HAS opened its doors in 2008 with two primary goals in mind! Number one was to create a title insurance company that would provide our clients with a superior finished product while affording them a seamless and stress-free process. Number two was to make the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service as easy and as pleasurable as obtaining title insurance for a real estate transaction could possibly be! From the sheer number of satisfied clients who keep coming back to Hallmark Abstract Service for their title insurance needs, I believe that we have accomplished our goals in the past, and we will continue striving to improve on them in the future! My Background In 1980 I earned an undergraduate degree in economics followed in 1984 by an MBA in finance with a concentration in the tax-exempt market. With this focus on the municipal market I became a municipal bond analyst at Shearson/Lehman Brothers tasked with following both general obligation issuers on the city and state level as well as housing bonds secured by mortgage pools. This experience at Shearson/Lehman Brothers followed by stints at PaineWebber and Citigroup provided a broad framework of understanding concerning the mechanics of mortgage debt in terms of prepayment experience, mortgage quality and the expected duration of a portfolio. Leaving Wall Street I started Exeter Commercial which funded commercial mortgage loans. Title insurance was a critical part of the underwriting and closing process. At the peak of the financial crisis, I recognized both an opportunity and need as many title firms, for a variety of reasons, closed their doors. Out of this, Hallmark Abstract Service was born.

At The Real Estate Closing Table The Checks Being Written Can Be Very Large…

But It Is Likely NOT What You Think!

When a real estate transaction is reaching its conclusion, the homebuyer is going to be asked to write checks made out to the title insurance company providing the policy for their new property.

At times, because the numbers may be quite large, there may actually be a modicum of anger at the title company that could be perceived as making too much money on the deal.

The reality is actually much different, however, as the title company is collecting a variety of funds that are actually going to be sent to other entities to pay for a variety of taxes and fees.

The truth is, that the actual amount that the title company is receiving in a one-time premium (which varies by purchase price and mortgage amount) can be under 10% of the total.

Using the New York City purchase example in the chart, the checks written at the closing will total $111,533.

The title insurance premium portion, or the amount of money that will pay for the policies both for the owner and lender, is $9,923.

This amounts to 9% of the total being collected with 91% of total going for the benefit of state and local government entities.

The bottom line is that when you get a title bill from the title company being used, speak to your attorney to insure that you completely understand the bill, its components, and who will be receiving what when you write the checks at the closing table.

Title insurance, critically important to protect the new buyers, is much better understood when looked at in chart form, the way it’s presented above!

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If You’re Buying Commercial Or Residential Property In New York State, You MUST Protect It…That’s Where Title Insurance And Due Diligence Comes In! 

Do Some Research Concerning The Title Insurance Provider That Will Be Used For Your Real Estate Purchase In New York! 

Watch ‘If You’re A Homebuyer In New York You MUST Protect It…That’s Where Title Insurance And Due Diligence Comes In!’ here https://youtu.be/jZuTNUhwHuc.

And remember that it’s your RIGHT to choose the title company you would like to use!

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy Real Estate, We Protect It!

Hallmark Abstract Service TikTok Series…How Title Insurance Companies In New York Differentiate Themselves!

New York Title Insurance: A Homebuyer Obsession!

Are you buying a home in New York and obsessed with the title insurance you will be buying?

Good for you, recognizing just how critical title insurance is.

The 12 Distinct Ways That Hallmark Abstract Service Differentiates Itself From A Great Many Of Its Competitors!

For more information about the distinct areas of title insurance you should be aware of, watch any or all of the thirteen 1-2-minute TikTok videos below. Each short episode will have Hallmark Abstract Service CEO Mike Haltman describing the issue, and how all title insurance companies in New York ARE NOT the same!

TikTok Title Insurance Tutorial

Title Insurance Series Overview:… Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7315792246597618975?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658

And now the 12 differentiating factors that in total, make Hallmark Abstract Service a go-to title insurance provider for so many attorneys in New York.

And remember, you have the RIGHT to choose the title insurance company that you would like to work with! 

 #1….Lower Costs: Costs can vary by many hundreds of dollars between title companies! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7317656202622602527?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #2…No Title Claims: Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7321823336022002974?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #3…NO conflicts of interest! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7324330031163936031?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #4…Technology: Free, on-demand title bill technology! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7324361973750172958?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #5…The underwriters financial strength! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7325056915254332702?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #6…Your transaction will have one , and only one, dedicated expert to speak with! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7326546692629712159?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658

 #7…You will be dealing with the owners! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7326913349738859806?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658

 #8…Getting a 2nd opinion! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7327294106915441950?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #9…We do NOT take shortcuts! Your transaction is too important! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7328440429119130910?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #10…One client testimonial after another! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7330214744864886047?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #11…We maintain a laser focus! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7331008109550243103?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658 

 #12…Service, Service, Service! Watch here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hallmarkabstract/video/7333254474430975262?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7331124628389807658

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Remember, Do Your Due Diligence When It Concerns The Title Insurance For Your Real Estate Purchase In New York!

Watch ‘Do You Ever Wonder About Title Insurance? Maybe Not, But You Should’ at YouTube here, https://youtu.be/5p_46QQbS9Y?si=JweE_0KmwHOAAqDM.

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy Real Estate, We Protect It!

12 Reasons Why Hallmark Abstract Service Is The Go-To Provider For So Many New York Attorneys!

12 Reasons Why Hallmark Abstract Service Is The Go-To Provider For So Many New York Attorneys!

1.Ancillary and ‘junk fees’ on the Hallmark title bill are often $500-$1,000 less than some other title companies. The title insurance premium will be the same regardless of the company used, but the fees can vary considerably.
2.Since its inception in 2008, Hallmark Abstract Service has no valid title claims.
3.Hallmark Abstract Service has no affiliated business relationships that, in the firm’s opinion, create significant conflicts of interest.
4.Hallmark’s primary underwriter, Fidelity National Title Group, is the largest and best capitalized underwriter in the country. If 2008 taught us anything it’s that a strong underwriter backing a policy is critical!
5.Technology…Hallmark Abstract’s online, on-demand, and free title bill technology allows anyone to enter a purchase price and mortgage amount for a residential purchase in any city or town in New York State. For many buyers, that want to have an idea of closing costs before they sign a contract! The Title Bill website can be found here: https://hallmarkabstractllc.titlecapture.com/login
6.You will have one dedicated representative at the firm.
7.If a business decision ever needs to be made, you will be speaking to the owners who can make it.
8.Hallmark does not take shortcuts that may speed-up a clear to close, but will take the extra steps necessary to protect our clients. An example is to insist on a boundary-line agreement, versus the ‘easy’ solution in a property line dispute of having the neighbor signing an affidavit. If that neighbor were ever to move the affidavit would be null and void.
9.Hallmark Abstract ALWAYS recommends to buyers, regardless of the title insurance provider that they are using, to get a title bill from another company for comparison. If a significant difference exists in the non-title insurance premium charges, buyers can go back to their attorney and insist that the charges be reduced.
10.Hallmark Abstract has a laser focus on protecting buyers in what may very well be the largest financial commitment of their lives. While we may get the title order from an attorney, ultimately it is the buyer who we consider to be our client.
11.As a testament to the work that Hallmark Abstract does and the care it takes with its clients, many of our orders come from buyers who find us online. When asked why they chose us the answer is that they were impressed by the testimonials that we have received.
12.Finally, and it may sound cliche, but our service and turnaround times are second-to-none

Questions? Let us know anytime at info@hallmarkabstractllc.com or give us a call at (516) 741-4723 or (646) 741-6101

NYC LL97 (Local Law 97): Clarification On Implementation and Enforcement

Excellent tutorial from Adler & Stachenfeld (https://adstach.com/) Partner YuhTyng Patka (https://adstach.com/attorneys/yuhtyngpatka) about the additional draft rules issued by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) concerning how Local Law 97 will be implemented and enforced.

It is provided below in its entirety, with contact information for YuhTyng Patka at the end.

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Last week the NYC Department of Buildings (“DOB”) released additional draft rules further providing clarification as to how Local Law (“LL97”) will be implemented and enforced.  As a reminder, LL97 places a statutory limit on greenhouse gas emissions of NYC buildings 25,000 gross square feet or larger beginning January 1, 2024.  The first “building emissions report” confirming either compliance or non-compliance for the 2024 calendar year must be submitted to DOB by May 1, 2025 for most NYC building owners covered under LL97.

Many NYC building owners had hoped that the January 1, 2024 compliance deadline would eventually be delayed altogether.  That has unfortunately not been the case.  For many, the January 1, 2024 compliance deadline is still applicable and looms in the near future. 

The latest draft rules signal that while the City of New York recognizes the challenges faced by owners in planning for LL97 compliance resulting from the pandemic and rising interest rates, the City is not backing down from its efforts to curb the real estate industry’s impact on carbon emissions. 

To that end, the new rules formalize an extension of the building emissions report deadline (but not the compliance date) for income-restricted multi-family owners from May 1, 2025 to May 1, 2027 at earliest.  (As a reminder, income-restricted multi-family owners and houses of worship can comply with LL97 through prescriptive pathways outlined in the law and have until December 31, 2024 to do so).  The City also encourages and incentivizes owners to electrify their buildings’ heating, cooling, and hot water systems by offering a “beneficial electrification ”credit that can be “banked” and used to minimize future penalties if qualifying electric systems are installed before 2030, with a greater credit granted if such systems are installed prior to 2027.

The new rules also provide a framework for how NYC building owners can mitigate civil penalties associated with noncompliance with LL97.  Penalties will be calculated as the difference between the building emissions limit established for a particular calendar year and the actual emissions reported for such calendar year, multiplied by $268.

If an owner seeks to mitigate a penalty, they must demonstrate DOB’s criteria for mitigating factors with the filed building emissions report.  One mitigating factor DOB will consider is an “unexpected or unforeseeable event” such as a hurricane, flood, or fire. Successful demonstration of an unexpected or unforeseeable event may result in a $0 penalty. 

The other mitigating factor considered by DOB is a showing that “good faith efforts” have been made by the building owner to comply.  The new rules outline what DOB constitutes as “good faith efforts”. 

The owner must demonstrate all of the following:

  • Filed a LL97 building emissions report for the previous calendar year
  • Uploaded benchmarking information (LL84) for the previous calendar year
  • Completed lighting system upgrades and sub-metering requirements (LL88)

Additionally, the owner must demonstrate at least one of the following:

  • Submit a decarbonization plan by May 1, 2025 (discussed further below)
  • Provide evidence of DOB approval for the work necessary to comply
  • Provide evidence that the building is undergoing electrification work
  • Submitted a building emissions report during the 2024-2029 compliance period showing the building was under the limit for such calendar year
  • An owner of a critical facility (e.g. a hospital, dialysis clinic, vaccine manufacturing facility, or other operation critical to human life or safety) shows how payment of the penalty would negative impact the facility’s operations
  • The owner has applied for or been granted an adjustment to the building’s emissions limit

If an owner chooses to mitigate penalties by submission of a decarbonization plan by May 1, 2025, such plan must include:

  • An energy audit
  • An inventory of all heating, cooling, hot water, and electric equipment
  • Description of any work completed since January1, 2013 that resulted in at least 10% emissions reduction as compared to the year prior to work completion
  • A list of proposed alterations and changes to operations and maintenance that will result in net zero carbon emissions by2050 (the removal of a tenant is not a permitted strategy).  The list must include timeline, capital source(s), and estimated emission reductions resulting from the changes.

The decarbonization plan route requires that the work contemplated in the plan be completed within 2 years of submission.  So, if owners are seeking to mitigate penalties for reporting year 2024 which report must be submitted by May 1, 2025, then the decarbonization plan must be implemented and completed by May 1, 2027 and provide compliance for 2024’s emission limit.  Additionally, such decarbonization plan must also show compliance with a building’s 2030 emissions limit by May 1, 2028 and an owner cannot purchase any renewable energy credits (RECs) to comply in 2024-2029. 

Moral of the story:  As we have continuously been advising our audience in the past 4 years, owners need to act swiftly with regards to their LL97 compliance efforts.  The “good faith efforts” outlined by DOB in its latest draft rules confirm such need to move quickly, as most of the criteria require the owner to have begun compliance efforts well in advance of the January 1, 2024 compliance deadline.

If you have any questions regarding any of these new laws and proposals, please contact:

YuhTyng (Tyng) Patka (NYC Tax & Incentives Chair) – 212.692.5532 / ypatka@adstach.com

A Great Business Development/Military Veteran Charity Opportunity! Here’s The Math…

A foursome at Sebonack Country Club in Southampton will be auctioned at the 13th Annual Heroes To Heroes Foundation Golf & Tennis Classic on July 17th (early bidding is available).

This Presents A Huge Business Development Tool And Opportunity For A Business Or Law Firm…

For those unfamiliar, ‘Sebonack Country Club is one of the most exclusive in the world and so, the cost of playing a round is high. Even the initiation fee is very high at $500,000. It’s a private club so if you have the money, you can apply. However, membership is limited and has a long waiting period.’

The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak, and is currently #38 on the list of Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Courses!

The minimum bid for this Sebonack foursome that includes lunch and cart (not caddy), and that is fully tax-deductible, is $7,500 ($5,475 effective cost in the combined 27% NYS and Federal combined tax bracket)(some date restrictions exist).

Not an insignificant amount of money, but the reality is that for one of your clients or prospects who is also a golfer, the idea of ever playing Sebonack is more of a bucket list item than one that has the potential of ever becoming a reality!

And, what’s better than spending 4 or 5 hours on a golf course with a (potential) business partner?

Have questions? Like to put in a bid prior to the event on July 17th?

Just let Mike Haltman know at mhaltman@hallmartkabstractllc.com.

Who Is The Heroes To Heroes Foundation?

The Heroes To Heroes Foundation (https://heroestoheroes.org/) is a nondenominational combat veteran 501(c)(3) with a mission of saving vets who return home suffering moral injury, and live at serious risk of death by suicide.

The 18-month program utilizes peer support, spiritual awakening, and reconnection to faith, helping these American heroes to finally open up and begin the process of healing. The end result is that they are ultimately able to live their best lives!

Between program years 1 and 2, Teams go on 10-day journeys to Israel where they visit some of the worlds holiest sites including the Wailing Wall, Stations of the Cross, Yad Vashem and much more.

Evenings are spent as a group in discussion sessions.

Hallmark Abstract Service CEO Michael Haltman has the honor and privilege of serving as the Heroes To Heroes Foundation Board Chair.

The details of the Golf Classic can be found here: https://heroestoheroes.networkforgood.com/events/51238-heroes-to-heroes-14th-annual-golf-outing

The Hallmark Abstract Service Title Bill App

This completely free-to-use technology allows the user to input the purchase parameters for a residential deal, in any New York State town or city, and for any purchase price and mortgage amount.

The output will be the title bill for the transaction including title insurance premiums, recording fees and any applicable mortgage or mansion tax.

The example shown below outlines the costs in a New York City residential purchase for $2,000,000 with a mortgage of $1,500,000.

It’s easy and fast to register and free to use! The website for the app can be found here, https://hallmarkabstractllc.titlecapture.com/login.

Any questions, ask us at info@hallmarkabstractllc.com, or give us a call at (646) 741-6101.

Michael Haltman, Hallmark Abstract Service CEO, Is Interviewed By Douglas Elliman’s Vice Chair Dottie Herman On The Eye On Real Estate Podcast! (Audio)

Hallmark Abstract Service CEO Mike Haltman enjoyed some great radio time with Dottie Herman, on her podcast Eye On Real Estate.

The podcast airs Saturdays from 10 AM – 12 Noon on AM97 The Answer.

The discussion covered topics ranging from title insurance to the combat veteran Heroes To Heroes Foundation where Michael serves as its Board Chair.

This past Saturday, February 18, 2023, Dottie had as her co-host Steven Ebert, a real estate Partner at Cassin & Cassin LLP.

Mike Haltman’s segment begins at 38 minutes 53 seconds, but the entire episode is worth a listen!

Title Insurance Versus Attorney Opinion Letters (AOL’s)

Don’t be penny-wise and dollar foolish when it comes to protecting what may be the largest financial commitment of your life!

The situation: ‘Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now accepting written Attorney Opinion Letters (AOLs) in lieu of a title insurance policy under limited circumstances as a result of Equitable Housing Finance Plans announced earlier by the FHFA earlier this year.’

Comparing title insurance and AOLs, one protects property buyers while the other kinda/sorta protects them in some instances!

Risks to Homebuyers

– Should a title issue arise on a property covered by an attorney opinion only, the buyer would need to prove negligence on the part of the attorney to pursue the claim with them.
– If not proven, a claimant would likely need to pay the legal costs involved to litigate the title matter, posing a financial burden and a significant risk.’

A report from the American Land Title Association (ALTA) spells out the issues and risks facing homebuyers who opt for the Attorney Opinion Letter or AOL.

Overview

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now accepting written AOLs in lieu of a title insurance policy under limited circumstance as a result of Equitable Housing Finance Plans announced earlier by the FHFA earlier this year.
  • Since before the announcement, ALTA has engaged with the FHFA and government sponsored entities (GSEs) to help them understand the differences between title insurance and alternative products in the coverage and protection they provide. 
  • ALTA continues to work with the GSEs to ensure that access to sustainable homeownership opportunities is available for all Americans in a way that does not increase risk or undermine the property rights of homebuyers, particularly low- and moderate-income and first-time homebuyers.
  • ALTA believes it is misguided for lenders to offer title insurance alternatives that provide less coverage but introduce more risk to lenders and consumers.

Who’s at Risk

Alternative Products Increase Lender Risk

  • Historically, lenders have preferred the protection of a title insurance policy because it provides the best mix of strong protections and low cost. Lenders considering the use of AOLs or other alternatives must understand the risks they are taking on by not getting title insurance since they will be on the hook given Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s life of loan representations and warranties related to title.
  • One sizable risk is related to items not discoverable in a public records search like federal tax liens, mis-indexed items or HOA liens. An attorney opinion letter does not cover items not shown in a public records search.
  • Another important example of the difference in coverage is fraud or forgery of title documents. Title insurance provides coverage when a seller’s deed was forged or there was fraud with the previous owner’s will. An attorney opinion letter does not.
  • Unlike an AOL, title insurance provides lenders with a defense—including all attorneys’ fees and costs—in a lien priority dispute or other matter covered by the policy.
  • Lastly, unlike title insurance, AOLs might push more consumers into foreclosure since that is a condition to making valid claim under the service provider policy wrapper.

Risks to Homebuyers

  • Should a title issue arise on a property covered by an attorney opinion only, the buyer would need to prove negligence on the part of the attorney to pursue the claim with them.
  • If not proven, a claimant would likely need to pay the legal costs involved to litigate the title matter, posing a financial burden and a significant risk.

Information courtesy of ALTA here: https://www.alta.org/advocacy/risks-of-alternatives-to-title-insurance.cfm

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For more information about title insurance, read the article ‘Are New York Title Insurance Providers All The Same?’ here, https://lnkd.in/gps-dGc8.

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

Have questions? Reach out to Hallmark Abstract Service at (646) 741-6101 or send us an email at info@hallmarkabstractllc.com.

2022 National Association of REALTORS® Survey of Homebuyers!

2022 National Association of REALTORS® Survey of Homebuyers!

For homebuyers, much of 2022 was a frustrating time of limited inventory and sky-high prices, where the sellers controlled much of the narrative.

The scenario changed later in the year, and although a lack of inventory still prevailed, pricing power moved more to the buyer as an almost doubling of mortgage rates reduced home affordability even further than it had already been.

This NAR survey examines:

– Characteristics of Home Buyers

– Characteristics of Homes Purchased

– The Home Search Process

– Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals

– Financing the Home Purchase

– Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience

– Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals

– For Sale by Owner (FSBO) Sellers

Read the results in more detail here: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers.

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If you’re buying commercial or residential real estate in New York there is some good news…

Remember that all title insurance is NOT the same, and it’s your right to choose the company you would like to work with!

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC…You Buy, We Protect!

Read about key differentiating factors among New York title insurance providers, in the article ‘Are New York Title Insurance Providers All The Same?’ here https://www.hallmarkabstractllc.com/?p=10321.

Have questions? Reach out to Hallmark Abstract Service at (646) 741-6101 or send us an email at info@hallmarkabstractllc.com.

Recession? History Says…

Recession: Are past results useful indicators of future performance?

Consider A Recessions Length When Compared to the ‘Real Rates’ of Bonds on the Day the Treasury Yield Curve Inverts…

The current scenario does not bode well for the U.S. economy!

(Note:

– An inverted yield curve exists when longer-term interest rates are lower than near-term rates.

– Real Rates are the bond’s yield – the inflation rate)

‘Fed researchers found ‘the length and severity of a recession was *inversely* correlated to the REAL 10-Year US treasury yield at the time of the yield curve inversion. i.e. the lower the real 10-Year US Treasury yield at the time of the inversion, the worse the recession.

In our current case, the real rate of the 10-year treasury (yield minus inflation) was a MINUS 5% at the time the yield curve inverted. In the prior cases, it had never been negative.’

This would indicate the economy is facing a difficult road ahead! (Puru Saxena https://twitter.com/saxena_puru/status/1604431239481413632

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That’s the bad news, but if you’re buying commercial or residential real estate in New York there is some good news…

Remember that all title insurance is NOT the same, and it’s your right to choose the company you would like to work with!

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC…You Buy, We Protect!

Read about key differentiating factors among New York title insurance providers, in the article ‘Are New York Title Insurance Providers All The Same?’ here https://www.hallmarkabstractllc.com/?p=10321.

Have questions? Reach out to Hallmark Abstract Service at (646) 741-6101 or send us an email at info@hallmarkabstractllc.com.