Nearly everyone will encounter some aspect of real estate law during their lifetime. If you buy or sell property you will need the help of a real estate attorney to protect your investment and legal interests. Even if you only engage in renting or leasing property, real estate law can affect you.
Buying and Selling a Home or Property
For many families, buying a home is one of life’s biggest events on par with getting married or having a child. First time home buyers are often unaware of the many potential legal pitfalls that can turn your dream into a nightmare. Even seasoned property buyers can run into unexpected legal entanglements. Selling property can be just as treacherous.
You can protect your legal rights and your investment by learning the basics of real estate law and always consulting a local real estate attorney before you sign anything.
Owning a Home or Property
Once you own a home, land, or business property, you can quickly be overwhelmed by the legal responsibilities and expenses which come with ownership. Even if you did your homework before making your purchase, you may still face surprises, sometimes problems that were intentionally hidden by the previous owner or the real estate agent.
Some of the many challenges home and property owners can face include:
- Property taxes
- Other tax issues related to your property including possible deductions
- Home and property owners’ associations, their rules, fees, and disputes
- Building codes, covenants, and other restrictions
- Home owners’ insurance and making sure you really have the coverage you think you do
- Building contractors – repairs, maintenance, improvements, scams, and liability
- Liability and your responsibility to prevent injuries on your property
Mortgages, Loans, and Rent-to-Own
Borrowing money, in one way or another, is standard procedure for most home buyers, but it can be treacherous territory. You can easily lock yourself into a money-losing deal or set yourself up for foreclosure if you do not understand all of the fine print. Just qualifying for a mortgage can be a complicated process.
If you cannot pay or get behind on your mortgage payments, you may be terrified. Foreclosure can mean losing your home and the destruction of your credit rating. Never assume that all hope is lost. If you think you are in danger of foreclosure and even if you are already in the process, you may have alternatives which can save your home or, at the very least, help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible. The worst thing you can do is just sit back and let the process run you over.
Land use laws including easements, zoning, and eminent domain, can change everything you thought you knew about your property. The problems can be so severe as to render your property useless to you, and eminent domain can mean having it taken away.
Problems with your neighbors can be the worst controversies you ever tackle. If you have never experienced it, you may not be aware of all of the potential issues that can come up between neighbors and just how serious they can become. In worst case scenarios, disputes between neighbors have escalated to the point of intentional destruction of property and even physical violence. Areas of disagreement and contention can include:
- Property boundaries
- Water and soil contamination
- Trespassing, including driving or walking across your property and hunting on your property