Month: February 2021

 When Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney?

Real estate can be tricky. Even the average home purchase can be overwhelming in the sheer number of details that must be attended to. For most people, real estate is the financial largest investment they’ll ever make. It is completely normal for something to come up that leaves you wondering whether you should hire a real estate lawyer. We’ll go over some of the common situations where it might be best to have professional legal help.

Buying or Selling a Home

One of the most frequently asked questions in this area is, “Do I need a real estate attorney to buy or sell a house?” Some states legally require that real estate transactions be reviewed by an attorney—California does not. Formal requirements aside, whether or not you need an attorney depends on the situation.

As an example, consider an ordinary house purchase. Both the buyer and seller have great real estate agents, the house is in good condition, there are no liens on the property, etc. Do you need a real estate lawyer in this situation? Probably not. Bear in mind, though, that as the value of the property goes up, or if you are from out of town/out of state, it becomes a better idea to hire an attorney just to make sure everything is in order.

It is definitely more advisable to use a real estate attorney if there are any non-standard issues surrounding the transaction. For buyers, these non-standard issues can include:

–        The home is owned by the bank

–        It’s being sold as part of an estate sale

–        There are tenants currently living on the property

–        The land is in a flood zone, tornado-prone area, etc.

For sellers, common issues include:

–        The home is part of a divorce settlement

–        It’s part of an estate of which you are the executor

–        A short sale (selling for less than you owe on the mortgage)

–        Liens on the property

–        Major physical damage to the property

The list could go on and on, but the key point is this: Anything out of the ordinary should drive you to reach out to an attorney and better understand what you’re getting into. Of course, many people would prefer to avoid the cost of hiring a lawyer, but when considered as a fraction of the total price of the home and how much trouble (and money) it can save you down the road, it’s really a minor expense.

Real Estate Disputes

Whether you are a homeowner, a renter, or an HOA director, there are a wide variety of legal disputes that can pop up and disrupt your life. These range from seller non-disclosure issues to prescriptive easements to property title claims. For anyone involved in a real estate dispute and whose home or property value is on the line, we recommend contacting an attorney immediately. Any delay could prejudice your case due to statutes of limitations and other filing deadlines.

Contact a San Diego Real Estate Attorney Today

If you’re asking yourself whether you need a real estate attorney, chances are you should at least sit down for a consultation. Contact our office today to set an appointment.

Real Estate Disputes

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Disputes

There are few areas of the law that touch on our emotions so deeply as real estate disputes. This is because they often lie at the intersection of two very important aspects of our lives: our homes and our personal finances. Though people may prefer to resolve them quickly and informally, the underlying issues can be complex and passions can flare up quickly. In these cases, the best option is usually to hire an experienced real estate dispute attorney.

Types of Real Estate Disputes

Here are a few of the most common legal disputes people encounter when it comes to real estate:

Purchase Disputes – These real estate contract disputes pop up after the deal has been signed, and sometimes well after the buyer has taken possession of the property. They often revolve around a claim that the seller misrepresented or failed to disclose a material fact. For example, the seller may have neglected to mention an environmental problem or other information that affects the value or use of the property.

Property Ownership Disputes – Sometimes multiple parties simultaneously claim ownership of a property. For example, one owner performs a survey of the boundaries of their property and subsequently claims that part of the neighbor’s home is actually on their land. In such a case, there may be little room for informal negotiation.

Nuisance Claims – One owner may claim that the actions of another are interfering with the reasonable use and enjoyment of their property. These can vary widely, from excessive noise to environmental pollution. For example, if a homeowner has a view of the ocean but a proposed construction project will block that view, the owner may seek to stop construction or receive compensation.

Homeowner Association (HOA) Disputes – HOA agreements can serve a variety of purposes, including obligating owners to maintain a certain level of care or appearance in order to keep nearby property values stable. Disputes often arise when an owner wishes to do something that is alleged to be prohibited by covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) or contests a special assessment against their property.

Landlord/Tenant Disputes – Both landlords and tenants commonly have claims against each other. These include nonpayment of rent, breach of lease agreement, and habitability issues (unhealthy conditions, failure to make repairs, etc.).

Resolving Real Estate Disputes

The best approach to real estate dispute resolution is to prevent the issues from coming up in the first place. Hiring a legal professional early in the process, such as during a real estate purchase, can help owners catch issues early and keep them from growing out of control.

Sometimes a dispute is unavoidable, though. In these cases, owners may wish to keep the case out of court through some sort of alternative dispute resolution like mediation. This approach has the advantages of being generally faster and less adversarial. Attorneys can fill the role of mediator and/or represent the parties in negotiations.

If a dispute requires litigation, all parties should have assistance of counsel. The factual and legal issues are likely to be complex, and too much is at stake to go it alone.

San Diego Real Estate Dispute Attorneys

If you are involved in a real estate dispute, our experienced attorneys can help you resolve the matter in a cost-effective manner. Schedule a consultation today.