Technology-Property provides information on current technology and microcomputer software of interest in the real property area. The editors of Probate & Property welcome information and suggestions from readers.
A Potpourri of ProgramsThis column reviews software programs for use by real estate lawyers and their clients. Some of these programs were not originally aimed at the legal marketplace and may be unfamiliar to lawyers. Most of the programs described in this article are available from Z-Law Software, Inc. at (800) 526-5588 and on the World Wide Web at mmink.com/re/cover.html. Other real estate software programs not reviewed here are also available from Z-Law. No endorsement or criticism is intended by the inclusion or omission of any program in this article. Readers are encouraged to analyze demonstration versions of any program before purchase.
Closing SoftwareClosing Master Plus is a DOS program for producing real estate closing documents including HUD-1 settlement statements, title insurance documents and transaction documents. The program helps with trust account balancing, check writing and 1099-S reporting. Closing Master Plus can transfer data to and from lenders via modem. The system has an instinctual DOS interface and a seamless link with WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS for printing and editing closing documents. The program allows users to permanently enter often repeated information such as title company and lender names and addresses. Closing Master Plus is flexible enough to tailor the program for closing practices in any particular jurisdiction. For example, after local recording fees and transfer tax formulas are input, the program automatically computes the amounts for the transaction. The software also calculates title insurance rates and includes standard title insurance commitment and policy forms. Delaware Institute of Software, the program vendor, can be contacted at (800) 938-7771.
Document Assembly ProgramsDL for DOS helps lawyers assemble legal documents. The software asks questions of the user and composes documents based on the answers. Documents can be revised and printed using WordPerfect- compatible software. Form libraries are available for every state. The drafting style in the documents tends toward legalese rather than plain English. Lawyers' Computer Network sells DL and can be contacted at (610) 347-1500.
HotDocs for Windows is another document assembly program for lawyers; it uses clause libraries for document drafting and forms creation. A user can select from forms databases provided by HotDocs and also can produce user-designed forms. The program asks users questions and employs the answers to assemble documents. A paralegal using HotDocs could answer the questions and input variables, producing a highly sophisticated document for the lawyer's final review. The forms provided with the program look attractive and seamlessly transfer into Windows word processing programs. The drafting style of the forms is plain English but may lack the detail many lawyers include in their transaction documents. Lawyers who write word processing macros to automate doc-ument production will find HotDocs a user friendly, sophisticated and elegant alternative. Capsoft Development Corporation produces HotDocs, and can be reached at (801) 763-3900 or e-mail www.capsoft.com.
Lien Writer for DOS automates document production to create and perfect mechanics' liens throughout the country. After recording facts regarding a construction project, the user can track payments on the account and mechanics' lien notices, releases, claims and settlement doc-umentation. The program does not produce mechanics' lien foreclosure pleadings. The DOS interface is easy to use and works well on older as well as newer personal computers. Auctoritas Software, Lien Writer's producer, can be reached at www. auctoritas. com or at (916) 726-2025. The company also manufactures Lien Releasor, which generates lien waiver and release documents for use nationwide.
Investment SoftwareArgus for Windows analyzes discounted cash flows for income property. The software works with office, retail, apartment, hotel and combined types of income properties. The user inputs detailed property information, assumptions on the inflation rate, reimbursable and nonreimbursable expenses, capi- tal expenditures and vacancy rates. Argus uses the data to model capitalization rate and various sale, purchase, financing and present value scenarios. The software helps in market leasing analyses, including renewal probabilities, market rates, months vacant, tenant improvements and lease commission calculations. Argus Financial Software, the program vendor, can be contacted on the Internet at www.argussoftware.com or by phone at (800) 332-7372.
Real-Pro for Windows calculates and displays investment potential for residential property. The user can describe the property in detail, including purchase price, market value, rental income, rehabilitation and operating expenses and debt financing. The program allows the user to make assumptions about the property's appreciation, income tax rates, real estate taxes, expenses, rental income and financing. Real-Pro produces reports based on data regarding loan amortization and payment, investment analyses for cash flows and sales, before- and-after tax income and internal rates of return. The user can gen-erate reports for equity investment or debt financing. Real Pro-Jections, Inc. sells Real-Pro; telephone (619) 434-2180 or e-mail email@example.com.
Residential Investor for DOS helps real estate investors analyze the purchase, sale and operation of income properties, including side-by-side analyses of different scenarios. The program is designed primarily for single-family rather than multi-family properties. Residential Investor accepts detailed information for finance, investment, operating expense and operating income. It can analyze holding period income and investment yield. The software also calculates how long to hold the property based on the estimated inflation rate, appreciation and required annual rate of return. The DOS interface is attractive and easy to understand. Command Decisions, Inc., 545 Moores Mill Road, Auburn, AL 36830, produces Residential Investor. Dan Wade & Associates, 2235 D Tackett's Mill Drive, Lakeridge, VA 22192 is the distributor. Legal Description Software Deed-Chek is legal description plotting software for DOS. The user interface takes some effort, but the software can calculate complex legal descriptions. For example, the software can plot curve data based on the bearing to center, radius and delta angle; deflection angle; tangential bearing in and out; the radius, chord and chord bearing; radius, arc and chord bearing; and the arc, chord and chord bearing. A user can edit bearings and distances, calculate the bearing and distance to close and figure the area of a legal description. Deed-Chek is available from Advance Graphics Technology at (770) 924-9692.
MapDraw for Windows easily plots metes and bounds legal descrip- tions and calculates the bearing and distance to close. The program displays a drawing of the legal description as the bearings and distances are entered and can print the drawing, bearings and distances. The prose form of the legal description can be cut and pasted into the program and printed on the drawing. MapDraw plots curves based on the chord, radius and left or right orientation of the curve. The program is attractive and very easy to use. MapDraw is available from Informatik, Inc.; telephone (610) 640-0339, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or website at users.aol.com/informatik.
Loan Calculation ProgramsLoanWatch for Windows helps debtors confirm lenders' loan calculations, calculate the future of a variable rate loan by supplying rate and payment changes and analyze loan scenarios by changing the terms of the loan. The program allows the user to update the indexes for variable interest rate loans by purchasing disks from the software manufacturer. The program has sophisticated abilities to work with variable rate loans and indexes. Loan Watch easily prepares amortization schedules and tracks payments in a format similar to a spreadsheet. The software calculates nominal rates of return, annual percentage rates, internal rates of return, effective annual rates, periodic rates, daily rates and payoffs. The program also features a simple amortization calculator. Compu-Share, Inc. produces Loan-Watch; telephone (800) 928-2456.
Tvalue for Windows is a loan calculation program. It handles complex interest problems as well as routine loans. The program also calculates balloon payments, multiple interest rates, fixed principal payments, skipped payment loans and more. In addition to normal amortization, the program calculates the Rule of 78, the U.S. Rule (no compound interest) and the Canadian Rule amortization. TValue allows the user to easily change components of interest rate and amortization formulas. The user will likely learn a great deal about interest rate calculations from TValue, which is available from TimeValue Software at (714) 727-1800 or email@example.com.
Technology_Property Editor: Kevin J. Dunlevy, 4000 First Bank Place, 601 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55402-4331; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Index to AdvertisersAs a service to readers and advertisers, Probate & Property lists each issue's advertisers with a contact name and telephone number, if available, and the page on which the ad appears.
Advertiser Page No. Contact Telephone
ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section 4, 6, 25, 35, 41, 48 Order Fulfillment FAX (312) 988-5568
Books & Videotapes
Appraisal Institute Cover 3 (312) 335-4100
Blake & Blake 19 (800) 525-7722
BNA Software 9, 39 Customer Relations (800) 372-1033
Brentmark Software 52 Gregory Kolojeski (800) 879-6665
Josh Butler & Co. 61 (800) 567-8434
Chicago Partnership Board, Inc. Cover 4 Trading Department (800) 272-6273
Database Technologies Cover 2 (800) 279-7710
Deed Analysis System 13 Mary Metz (919) 821-1828
Desktop Displays, Inc. 11 (415) 389-1302
Greenbrier Graphics, Inc. 31 (304) 484-7034
International Genealogical Search, Inc. 63 Tim Rodenbush (800) 663-2255
Landplot Research 47 (401) 757-8871
The Le Van Company 40 R. Ingram (704) 669-0131
Matthew Bender 13s (800) 223-1940
Search International, Inc. 2 Elizabeth Getto (800) 966-5665
Charles A. Triay, Attorney at Law 31 Charles A. Triay (510) 832-8700
U.S. Trust 24 Nicole S. Splitter (212) 852-3564
The Valuations Group 24 Michael D. Phelan (800) 824-5500
Zane and Associates, Inc. 8 (800) 331-253
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