Real Estate

Buying or selling a house?
Speak to an attorney before a problem arises.

Real estate matters are varied and cover a wide range of situations, involving multiple areas of law. Whatever the situation may be, however, if real estate is involved, it is imperative to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. Contact Us today to set up an appointment to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys who can help you avoid the many pitfalls involved in real estate. In the meantime,we hope the information below, which represents just a sampling of the real estate work we handle, will help to give you a basic understanding of Real Estate Law.

Residential and Commercial Real Estate

One of the largest transactions that you will have in your lifetime is the acquisition of your personal residence whether by sale or by construction of your personal residence. Our attorneys can assist you in the planning for the construction of your home including reviewing the constructions documents, lot purchase documents and other regulatory issues that may arise pertaining to your property. Our firm has represented builders and residential lot owners and has a vast experience in dealing with issues that arise during the construction process.

For already constructed homes, it is imperative that before you sign the contract for the acquisition of the property, that you have it carefully reviewed by an attorney. There are many aspects of the acquisition of the property that should not be left to the realtor alone. Also, our firm can provide title insurance which will be almost certainly required by any lending institution who would place a mortgage on your property.

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Buying or Selling Your House?

The purchase of your home will probably be the single largest financial transaction you are involved in during your lifetime. Even if you have purchased or sold real estate previously, the importance and size of each transaction merits special attention.

Your attorney should be the one who is experienced in real estate transactions and should be chosen with care. His or her role will be determined by what use you make of the professional relationship. The following sections contain a brief description of how your attorney can assist you in the purchase or sale of real estate.

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The Agreement of Sale

The Agreement of Sale is the contract that sets forth the terms of your purchase. Thus, it is imperative that all of the terms, discussions, and agreements previously negotiated between the Seller and Buyer be contained in the Agreement of Sale. Failure to abide by the terms of the Agreement of Sale or failure to meet a condition of the Agreement of Sale could result in its termination or money damages payable to you.

Before the Agreement of Sale is signed by you, it is advisable to have your attorney review the Agreement of Sale with you to be sure all conditions or contingencies that you want are properly set forth in the Agreement of Sale. Once the Agreement of Sale has been signed, a legal contract is made which can be enforced in a court of law. You should make sure every item of personal property (curtains, appliances, carpeting, etc.) that you are purchasing or selling is specifically listed in the Agreement of Sale. Too often at the settlement table, discussions arise as to what was supposed to e included with that purchase price.

If you are constructing a home or buying a home constructed or completed according to your spcification, then additional contingencies and conditions must be reviewed with your attorney for your protection.

It is recommended that any inspection rights as to radon, well water, septic system, termites, structural soundness, or other inspections be spelled out in the Agreement of Sale as to when the inspections are to be completed and what happens if a problem is found.

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The Title Search

In order to insure that the owner of a property that the buyer is purchasing has a good and legal title, an attorney will conduct what is known as a title search. Most residential mortgage lenders in the area will require that you obtain a title insurance policy from a reputable company to protect against any title defects which may arise. By selecting an attorney who is also a licensed title insurance agent, you can avoid duplication of services and fees.

The title search is an examination of all records relating to the property. It will go back for a period of at least 60 years and will turn up all liens, encumbrances, easements, restrictions and other matters affecting the property, which have been recorded in the courthouse. If you are the purchaser, your attorney is responsible for seeing to the removal of all monetary liens against the property either before or at the time of settlement. He will advise you as to the acceptability or easements and restrictions and will explain to you any title defects which may exist.

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In addition to receiving the title search, the attorney will often be responsible for preparation or review of all documents necessary for the transfer of title, financing and settlement. Such documents include the Deed, Mortgage, Bond or Note, Settlement Sheet, and all related papers necessary for the transaction.

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Settlement is the finalization of the Agreement of Sale when the Seller and the Buyer meet together to sign the necessary documentation to complete the transaction and to transfer the funds for the purchase of the property. You should review each document at the time of settlement and raise any questions that you have pertaining to the documents.

Before settlement, you should carefully inspect the property to make sure that all electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems are in working order. Also, you should check for any changes in the condition of the property since you signed the Agreement of Sale. You should make sure that all personal property, which was agreed to stay with the purchased property is present. At settlement, any defects noted should be discussed and resolved to your satisfaction. After settlement, the attorney will check the title of the property to the sate of the settlement. The attorney is responsible for disbursing on behalf of the parties. After settlement, the deed will be recorded in the county courthouse and returned to you for safe keeping.

The mortgage will also be recorded and will operate as a lien against the property until the loan is paid off. The mortgage and note will be held by the lender until the debt has been paid. Your settlement will hopefully go very smoothly. This is because of the efforts of your attorney and your real estate agent in solving problems before settlement day.

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After-Settlement Services

Your purchase of a new home has state and federal tax consequences. Your attorney can explain them and provide you with the information so that you can take full advantage of the tax benefits of owning your home. Furthermore, your purchase of a substantial asset is an opportune time for you to review your financial status and affairs, as well as to revise the adequacy and sufficiency of your will and estate plan.

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Zoning and Planning

Our attorneys have represented clients in areas of zoning and subdivision issues for over thirty (30) years. We are bale to assist you in planning and zoning matters, construction lending and construction contracts and federal, state and local regulations pertaining to zoning and subdivision matters.

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Landlord / Tenant

Our firm represents both Landlords and Tenants concerning the Landlord/Tenant relationship. A careful review and preparation of a Lease is important in any Landlord/Tenant relationship. Our firm can assist you by revising your Lease or preparing a Lease involving your Tenants as well as other provisions associated with Landlord/Tenant relationships.

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Title Insurance

Please see our section on Title Insurance.

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