The real estate business is a complex industry with myriad laws and regulations. Real estate lawyers are essential not only when it comes to the sale and purchase of property, but also for drafting contracts between business partners or investors. They can also help with issues relating to landlords and tenants, and even foreclosure. Nonetheless, their assistance is most often solicited to streamline the purchase or sale of property and this article is a brief introduction to the laws governing such transactions, and how a real estate lawyer can provide benefits in such circumstances.
Buying A Home
If you're considering buying a home, you should know that any legally binding offers must be submitted in writing to the property owner. This ensures both parties that information contained in the offer is valid and legally enforceable, meaning the buyer cannot demand a lower amount, and neither can the seller decide the home is worth more and renege on the agreement. A real estate attorney can really help in these situations, especially with regards to ensuring that the language of the contract does not permit disparate interpretations.
What To Include In Contract
A real estate attorney will also ensure that purchase agreements clearly identify both parties, the property in question, and other provisions regarding the transaction. These can include everything from conditions precedent, which are conditions that must be met prior to the sale of the home (imposed by sellers), to mandatory inspections (imposed by buyers).
Dealing With Charges
When it comes to real estate purchases, a qualified attorney can also help clear up any charges on the property. Charges may appear on the title to the home, and are most often the result of unpaid debts on the part of the seller. However, charges might also reference joint-ownerships or extenuating property rights of non-owners. There are few different types of charges, including easements, statutory rights-of-way, and builder's liens.
Easements & Statutory Rights-Of-Way
An easement exists where the owner of an adjacent property, perhaps the owner of the house next to that which you intend on purchasing, has certain legal rights over the seller's property. These can include encroachment and access rights, and even passage through the for-sale property to access adjacent lots. By contrast, a statutory right-of-way is only generally granted to public entities like utility companies or other municipalities. Statutory rights-of-way simply provide the holder access to a given parcel for reasons that concern the general public. A real estate lawyer can make sure that these situations don't stall or negate the transaction.
Liens may also appear on the property title, including builders' liens or those belonging to third party lenders. For instance, if the seller borrowed a small amount of money against the title and never repaid it, the lender would be entitled to recoup his losses from the sale of the property. The same would be true if a contractor built a deck at the home and was never paid for services rendered. An attorney can ensure that a buyer won't be held liable for making good on these debts.
Ultimately, there are many, many reasons it is beneficial to enlist the expertise of a real estate lawyer when purchasing a home. They are uniquely qualified to handle the innumerable complications that can arise during a real estate transaction.
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