State Roundup: Illinois, Maine, Utah, and Oregon

January 1, 2003

Illinois: Improved approvals

Lack of a uniform lender preapproval or prequalification form can cause confusion about the status of a homebuyer’s loan. That could change with a new loan status disclosure form, released in November by the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association and endorsed by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. The form asks lenders to check off the borrowers’ status: prequalification without credit review, prequalification with credit review, preapproval, or approval. Use of the form is voluntary, but eventually it could replace the hodgepodge of letters that lenders now use, a spokesperson for the lawyers’ group says.

Maine: Growth curb curbed

State lawmakers closed a legal loophole that had enabled localities to slow growth by applying rules for the development of subdivisions to single parcels. Under the Maine Subdivision Act, localities were able to define single lots as subdivisions and make owners meet the same requirements as developers before they could build on their land. A law to close the loophole was enacted in 2001, but it expired earlier this year. The Maine Association of REALTORS® led the charge to close the loophole permanently.

Utah: Traveling regulators

Concerned that real estate professionals outside of the Salt Lake City area were missing out on continuing education opportunities and growing out of touch with state rules—such as those governing agency relationships—regulators from the Utah Department of Real Estate took the rules on the road. The regulators in early November embarked on a “caravan” that brought them to cities in the southern, northern, and central parts of the state, where they conducted free one-day seminars worth five hours of CE credit. Utah licensees must complete 20 hours of CE credit every two years.

Oregon: The great rate lock

There are rate locks and there are rate locks. And then there’s the two-year rate lock offered by Oregon Housing and Community Services. It lets low- and moderate-income households take advantage of historically low rates now while they repair credit problems or accumulate a downpayment over two years. The agency had taken almost 115 applications in its first two months. The program launched in October.

Jane Adler is a Chicago-based freelancer writer.

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