Purchasing or selling real property involves both contractual and real estate law and can be challenging to the lay person. An attorney can protect your legal rights and make sure all relevant laws are complied with to ensure problems do not arise after the transaction is closed.
A deed is a legal instrument that conveys an interest in real property.
In order to know the state of title to the real estate all of the public records must be searched and reviewed. The search will reveal the current owner and past owners, whether there are liens against the property, or other encumbrances or easements that will impact the ability of the owner to convey the property free and clear such that the purchaser will have clear title.
Litigation is a last resort not a first resort to resolving disputes or issues regarding title or boundaries to property. However if common ground cannot be found, or if the issue involves some ancient matter that parties are no longer around, litigation may be the best, or only alternative to obtain a ruling that will clear title or settle boundaries.
There are a myriad of issues that may result in real estate litigation. One of the most common are boundary disputes between adjoining property owners. Others include liens, or other encumbrances that affect title to property.
Caveat Emptor is the usual standard, meaning buyer beware. Do your homework before purchasing, conduct inspections both prior to signing a contract by hiring a home engineer inspector and prior to closing to make sure things are as represented in the contract. After closing while it is not impossible, it is difficult and expensive to address problems, and then mainly when there is fraud, or deceit in concealing things that should have been disclosed.
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If your contract specifies repairs are to be made prior to closing and they are not done, there are several alternatives to pursue: you may refuse to close; you may settle on a credit of a sum of money for you to do the repairs; or have money from the closing be held in escrow to make sure the repairs are done within a time frame. All of these are conditioned that the seller is required by the contract to make the repairs. Just another reason you should have legal representation when making one, if no the biggest purchase during your lifetime.
Title insurance is an essential element when purchasing real property. If you are taking a mortgage the lender will insist upon it. A title search reveals the status of the title to the property, whether there are liens of encumbrances, if the seller has the ability to convey clear title. Once the search is performed any issues can be addressed prior to the transfer. At the closing it is advisable to purchase a policy ensuring that your title is clear. Should something arise later on the title company will defend or prosecute a claim and if there is a defect will compensate the insured for the loss.
It is advisable to have a Phase I environmental report prepared prior to purchasing commercial property in order to ensure that the property is free of environmental hazards which might subject the owner to significant expense if a hazard were to be found.
A 1031 Exchange is a mechanism to defer capital gains tax upon the sale of real property by acquiring another property in replacement of the one being divested. There are very strict rules that must be complied with in order to qualify for a 1031 exchange