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3 Things to Check Before Hiring a Lawyer

real estate law termsMany real estate law cases in the United States stem from the fact that real estate contracts are notoriously confusing to homebuyers. There are often loopholes and fine print that the average home buyer wouldn’t pay attention to, which can get them in trouble later on.

For example, the National Association of Realtors recommends that buyers and sellers both have their own inspections done of a home before purchasing, but only 77% actually take this step. Other real estate law terms are set in stone but people try to get around them anyway or simply never complete their side of a contract. A great example of this is in home purchases and evictions. When purchasing a home, it should take about four to 10 weeks to close, but you should have a closing date in writing. In addition, tenants living somewhere for more than a year are entitled to a 60 day eviction notice in states like California.

When you have been treated unfairly by a seller or Realtor, a real estate law firm can help. As experts in real estate law terms, they can help bring you justice. To find the best possible real estate lawyer, simply make sure they have the following three things:

Knowledge and Experience
The lawyer you choose should, to put it simply, know what they’re doing. This doesn’t just mean they’ve memorized the books either. They should know how to argue your case’s unique nuances to provide the best possible chance of winning. Law can be subjective to each case sometimes, so they should have the experience to take advantage of that.

References
Every great lawyer has a network of people willing to vouch for their great work. Look into the network of the person you plan to hire before actually hiring them, in order to get a good idea of who you’ll be working with.

Great Communication
Communication between lawyers and clients is key! You will want and need to know what is going on in your case as developments come up, so that you don’t get any nasty surprises! This requires the lawyer to be very open and honest with you during every step.

Finding a qualified lawyer isn’t always easy, but if you look for the right things, it shouldn’t be an impossible task.

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3 Ways a Real Estate Law Firm Can Help You

real estate law firmBuying a home, and later owning your home, can be a stressful but exhilarating experience. On one hand, you finally have a space that is all your own, and you can do as you please with that space. No more landlord breathing down your neck about tack holes or neighbors banging on your walls — it can be a great experience. But that doesn’t mean that nothing can go wrong, and when they do go wrong the stakes are often much higher than they would be with your old apartment. However, you can help yourself out and get out of sticky situations by enlisting in the help of a real estate law firm.

Foreclosure
In 2013, one in 96 homes was foreclosed upon. This is one of the worst situations you can be in, but getting someone on your side who knows property law may be able to fight your case and find a solution for you.

Wrongful Sale
Property law cases can often be quite complex, but wrongful sales are often easy to sort out once you have a real estate law firm on your side. Most states, including California, require the real estate agent you’re working with to tell the buyer about any deaths on the property within the past three years. This and numerous other issues, such as serious structural issues, must be disclosed before a sale. You have the right to sue the real estate agent if they do not.

Insurance Issues

According to the National Association Of Realtors, about 77% of homebuyers actually have an inspection done before they purchase a home. You should have your own inspections done, whether you are buying or selling a home. This will help you avoid surprises during either process, and can help you avoid issues with insurance. If you do find yourself in a dispute with an insurance company over an issue though, a real estate lawyer may be able to help you win.

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The Most Common Issues Addressed by Real Estate Attorneys

real estate attorney“Do I really need to hire a real estate lawyer for a personal property issue?”

Many American homeowners and business owners today ask themselves that very question, so if you’re wondering it too, you definitely aren’t alone. There are several reasons why hiring a real estate attorney can be beneficial, so let’s take a quick look at some of the most common property law cases today:

  • Before buying a house: When you’re in the process of buying a home, an attorney can make sure that you don’t get shortchanged. Requesting certain repairs or inspections can be part of the sale agreement, and a lawyer can make sure that these conditions are met before you’re required to abide by the contract. If the seller didn’t disclose important information — such as any mold cleanup or any deaths that occurred on the property in the past three years — you’ll want an experienced legal professional who can advocate for you.
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  • Writing up any real estate contracts: The terminology alone is enough to make you avoid anything related to real estate — forever! Real estate attorneys are really beneficial where contracts are concerned because they know the legal jargon used and they know to look for certain clauses or conditions that will affect you. Leases, commission agreements, and sale contracts all need to be in writing according to California regulations, or else they aren’t considered legally binding.
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  • Possible eviction: Landlords are able to evict tenants if those tenants fail to pay their rent on time or if they fail to follow conditions on the lease agreement. Landlords in California are required to provide at least 60 days notice to tenants before evicting them, and both parties have the ability to take an eviction filing to court.

And those reasons above are just the beginning! The real question now is, what can a real estate attorney do for you?

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California Property Law Terminology 101

property lawMost experienced real estate investors and developers will know the common terminology used in legal discussions, but for the regular homeowner or business owner, this jargon can quickly become overwhelming.

With that in mind, it’s often helpful to outline what some of the most common terms mean in personal property law cases and business property law cases. Some terms are pretty straightforward and generally apply to multiple sectors within the industry of property law; others are a bit more complicated and apply to niche sections of real estate legal cases.

  • Eviction: An eviction is another legal process that can apply to residential or commercial properties where the land is leased out to a tenant. Landlords can evict a resident if that resident fails to make rent payments or abide by the terms of the lease agreement. In California, landlords must provide 60 days notice to residents (if the resident in question has lived on the property for over a year). If the eviction escalates to a courtroom proceeding, a judge must make a decision on the case within 20 days of it being filed.
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  • Foreclosure: You’ve probably heard this term before and, if nothing else, you know it usually means bad news. On average, one in every 200 homes are foreclosed upon (although in 2013, one out of every 96 homes in the U.S. were foreclosed due to the Recession). When a property owner fails to make his/her mortgage payments, the mortgage lender files for a foreclosure in order to seize the property.
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  • Forbearance: This is a temporary hold on a foreclosure process which allows the property owner more time to make mortgage payments and avoid having the property taken away.
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  • Homeowners association (HOA): This is a group created by community members which regulates private and public property within a certain region. HOAs are required to provide meeting information to all members, as well as financial statements explaining how its HOA member fees are used. These groups typically operate within gated communities or condos; they can pass rules about owning pets, permitting/prohibiting front lawn decorations, and negotiating problems between neighbors.
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  • Mortgage: If you don’t know what a mortgage is and you’ve never had to deal with one, consider yourself lucky! There are several different types of mortgages and they all aim to provide easier financing of a residential or commercial property purchase.
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  • Unclaimed property: This is defined by Title 10 in the California Civil Procedures Code as any property which is vacant or any property for which no legal owner can be found. According to the California State Controller’s Office, residential properties are just one type of “unclaimed property” — everything from safe deposit boxes to trust funds can be considered “unclaimed.”
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  • Zoning laws: These differ depending on geographical location and can restrict the height, land coverage, or use of any building constructed in the specified region.

Of course, it’s impossible to narrow down all the important terms of property law into one article — but we don’t want to leave you hanging! What other real estate terms would you like defined? Or any of the above terms which you’d like explained more? Be sure to let us know!

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Basic Facts to Know About Property Law

property lawProperty law and real estate contracts can be confusing at the best of times, but luckily, real estate attorneys and even Realtors can help you understand how things work. Read on for just a few basic facts that you should know about property law!

  • In 2013, one in 96 homes reported one or more foreclosures.
  • California property laws require a real estate agent to disclose information regarding property, including any death within the last three years.
  • Property for which the legal owner cannot be found is automatically listed as unclaimed according to title 10 of the California civil procedures code. After three years of unclaimed status, the deed is transferred to the California government.
  • Any California resident who has lived on a property for over a year must be give a 60 day eviction notice by their landlord.
  • If an eviction case goes to court, it will be heard and decided by a judge within 20 days after the tenant or landlord files to set a trial.
  • The Statute of Frauds dictates that three types of contracts must be in writing. This includes leases for more than a year, commission agreements between principals and real estate licensees, and contracts for the sale of real estate.
  • In the state of California, it takes about 40 days to close on a house.
  • According to Zillow.com, the median price for a California home was $393,000 in January 2015.
  • About 77% of those buying a home have an inspection done before buying. Officials say to avoid issues, have your own inspection done before putting the house on the market.
  • Your purchase contract will dictate how long the process will take, so read it carefully. It will specify a closing date or a number of days until close. Though it varies, the average contract takes four to 10 weeks.
    • One in every 200 homes is eventually foreclosed upon. There are strict regulations, notices, and opportunities to pay put in place by every state before the home is sold at a foreclosure sale. Consult a real estate law firm if you are in danger of foreclosure.

    What do you think about these facts? Were they helpful to you? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments!