The O’Malley Law Firm assists both individual and corporate clients by ensuring that real estate transactions meet the goals and objectives of the parties. When there are disputes and the parties can’t agree on a resolution, we’ll litigate on behalf of our clients.
Real property (real estate) relates to land and those things that are more or less permanently attached to it. Personal property refers to everything else.
Why use an attorney when it comes to real estate transactions?
A real estate agent for either the seller, buyer or both will often steer the sale of a house to a final closing. But in many instances, the seller already has a buyer and does not want to pay a commission for a realtor, yet wants to ensure that the closing goes smoothly. In those instances, attorney are usually a less costly alternative and can draft contracting documents that are tailored to the specific situation that has been agreed upon by the parties to the transaction.
For commercial transactions, if there is no agent, then it’s very important for the parties to engage counsel because the purpose and usage of the property may have certain restrictions or ordinance limitations.
How is real property owned?
When more than one person owns real estate, there are several ways it may be titled:
- joint tenancy with right of survivorship,
- tenancy in common,
- tenancy by the entirety, and
- community property.
Not only do individuals own real estate, but corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies can also hold title to real property.
Who governs real estate?
The governance of land is both a public and private endeavor. There are zoning laws, building codes, subdivision regulations, environmental regulations, taxation, easements, liens, deeds and many more rules that govern land ownership. The private sector is allowed to make its own arrangements as well. If a homeowner wants to allow a path (easement) for schoolchildren to cut through, that’s probably okay. But the homeowner could also block such a route and that too would be okay.
The transfer of property can range from simple to complex depending on the nature and location of the property, who the parties are, whether financing is involved, condition and warranties about the property, agency relationships and so forth.
What are deeds and what do they do?
Deeds are the manner in which property is titled. There are:
- general warranty deeds
- limited (special) warranty deeds
- quitclaim deeds,
- trustees’ deeds
- executors and administrator deeds.
Each of them have specific requirements to be considered valid.
Creative financing often accompanies the sale of property and typically involves banks, savings and loans, credit unions, mortgage banking companies who issue conventional loans, insured or guaranteed loans, sub-prime loans and private mortgage insurance. Title examinations and title insurance also play an important role in real estate transactions.
What does a closing entail?
The closing of a real estate transaction is fraught with potential pitfalls because the stakes are usually quite high. Subject matter often includes:
- hazard and fire insurance
- termite clearances
- satisfaction of loans and liens
- repayment terms
- escrow money
- loan expenses
- indemnity of fees
- compliance agreements and much more.
It’s a good idea to have an attorney review transactional documents related to the transfer of ownership of property. The attorney can protect a client’s interests in many ways. Disputes often arise when one party doesn’t understand the terms of the transaction and is taken by surprise. Legal counsel can help avoid that.