Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Legislative Issues You Should Know About

John Howe


Legislative Issues You Should Know About

There is a lot going on in the legislature at this time and many of the issues involve real estate and tax matters. I am going to highlight two of them here that I believe have the potential to have a considerable effect on homebuyers and sellers in the future, should they pass and become law.

The first is Senate Bill # 2759, a proposed amendment to the Real Estate Transfer Tax Law. The effect of this proposal would be to change the State Transfer Tax rate from $0.50 per $500.00 as follows:
 $0.40 for each $500 of value or fraction of $500 not in excess of $500,000.
$1.50 for each $500 of value or fraction of $500 in excess of $500,000, but not in excess of $1,000,000.
$3.50 for each $500 of value or fraction of $500 in excess of $1,000,000, but not in excess of $3,000,000.
$5.00 for each $500 of value or fraction of $500 in excess of $3,000,000

In the somewhat normal residential market of properties under $500,000 there is a benefit, or savings of $0.10 per $500 or fraction of the $500 amount, however, any transaction in excess of $500,000 will see a significant increase in the tax due.

Understand that this is just the State Transfer Tax, the counties, for the time being, are remaining as they have been. As of this writing they are holding at the $0.50 per $500 of value or fraction thereof.

The second item is an amendment to the Title Act, which has to do with the “Good Funds” at the closing from the lender or the purchaser, or in some rare cases the seller.

Basically what this law will state is that any Title Company shall not make disbursements from the escrow account unless the funds in the aggregate amount of $50,000 or greater received from any single party to the transaction are “wired funds unconditionally held by and irrevocably credited” to the escrow account of the title company. Any funds less than $50,000 from any single party to the transaction must be “collected funds or good funds”. Good funds being defined as wired funds unconditionally held by and irrevocably credited to the escrow account, cashiers check, certified check, bank money order, official bank checks, drawn on or issued by a federally insured financial institution and unconditionally held by the title company, or title insurance agent. Personal checks will be accepted in the amount of, and at the discretion of, the title company or title insurance agent.

Feel free to contact John Howe at Benchmark Title if you have any questions regarding any of the above. If you have issues with any of these proposals you may also contact your legislator to express your approval, concerns, or objections.
Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Bethany Bond
Marketing Director

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Dates to Remember

March 15, 2008 - RASI Awards Banquet. 

March 26, 2008 - Ready, Set, Close! From Contract to Closing 9:00 am - 11:00 am  at the RASI Board Office. Contact RASI for information or to register.

March 28, 2008 - GGAR Annual Awards Banquet at Collinsville Gateway Center, Collinsville, IL
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June 4, 2008 - First Horizon Golf Tournament for Habitat for Humanity at Arlington Golf Course.  Contact Jamie Hollenkamp at 618-288-8656 or at

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