Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home, leasing an office space, or changing the way your land is used, real estate law governs your legal rights and obligations. It establishes the requirements and procedures for property transactions and provides protection for everyone involved.
The law determines the right to own property, the right to sell or transfer that ownership and the right to exclude others from a piece of land. It also defines the legal boundaries of a piece of property, sets zoning regulations, and establishes how materials underground can be utilized. Real estate law also regulates mortgages and real estate loans, landlord and tenant laws, and construction defects.
Real estate law is a complex area of the law that involves many different areas and considerations. You need a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the process and avoid any potential pitfalls.
For example, in New York state, home sellers are required to provide a Property Condition Disclosure Statement to buyers. If a seller doesn’t disclose known defects, they can be held liable by the buyer for damages. Buyers may also need an attorney’s advice in deciding what inspections they should request and who should perform them.
In some cases, a contract will include a “settlement contingency.” This clause usually allows the buyer to cancel the sale if they can’t secure a loan or if other issues arise that prevent the transaction from closing. If you are selling your home and have a settlement contingency in the contract, an attorney can review the terms of that clause to make sure it is enforceable.
Before a final sales agreement is signed, both parties need to have their attorneys review the documents. This is standard practice and helps ensure that all aspects of the contract are legally sound. Typically, this process takes three business days. However, if you have significant concerns about a particular provision in the contract, it may take longer than this.
A lawyer can also help with a number of other issues that might come up during the course of a real estate transaction. For instance, if you’re selling a newly built house and you’re concerned about warranty issues, an attorney can help you understand your options.
Another issue that sometimes comes up is when a seller wants to remain in the home after closing while arranging for their new living arrangements. This can be problematic for a buyer, but an attorney can work out an arrangement that is acceptable to both parties.
Finally, an attorney can help you understand your duties as a real estate agent. In most states, agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients, including loyalty, full disclosure, obedience, and confidentiality. If you’re not sure if your broker is meeting these duties, it’s best to hire an independent attorney to advise you and represent your interests.
Buying or selling a home is one of the largest financial investments a person will make in their lifetime. Whether you are moving to accommodate a growing family or downsizing for retirement, it’s important to understand the legal complications that may arise during such a transaction.
Real estate law involves a wide range of topics that affect homeowners, homebuyers, property sellers, landlords, tenants and anyone who is involved in the purchase or sale of land or any permanent manmade additions to it. This includes the laws governing transfers in ownership, landlord tenant rights, real property financing including deeds and mortgages, zoning regulations, easements, environmental issues and more. Often, local and state laws will differ significantly from federal law.
While real estate laws set a minimum standard of care and practice for real estate agents and other professionals in the industry, buyers and sellers should always consider obtaining their own legal advice before entering into a contract. An experienced attorney can help protect the client by evaluating the facts, explaining the law and its impact on a particular situation, negotiating for a favorable contract and resolving disputes during a real estate transaction.
For example, New York law requires homeowners to disclose any known home defects to potential buyers. Failing to disclose can result in a lawsuit.
Likewise, when purchasing a newly constructed home, buyers should always have an attorney review the final document before signing it. The attorney can check for such issues as the buyer’s right to waive a warranty, the seller’s obligation to provide a clear title, and the proper way to record the sale.
A lawyer can also advise clients on matters such as how the closing process works, who can be present at the closing and for how long, what personal property is included in the sale and the requirement that a survey of the property be done. Often, these questions are not addressed in a standard contract form and can be difficult to resolve after the fact.
Additionally, the complexities of residential real estate law can differ widely from region to region. For example, upstate closing customs and practices differ from those of the rest of New York, especially in rural areas where there are more limited options for real estate brokers. In these cases, the attorneys who represent the homebuyer and seller should coordinate their efforts to ensure that the transaction closes smoothly. In addition, a knowledgeable attorney can provide guidance on local real estate law in such areas as property tax consequences; whether the contract is drafted by a realtor or an attorney and if it is subject to the approval or disapproval of the client’s attorney; who orders and pays for title searches and the type of deed to be used. Click here to get free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms.