Real Estate Property Law
Orlando Real Estate Attorney
Are you involved, or need to be involved in a real estate transaction? Do you need a real estate attorney or a real estate broker?
Property law is a vast field of law related to the buying, using and selling of real property. Much property law is related to assessing the rights between landlords and tenants, between owners and mortgage holders and between people and governments. However, another major area of property law deals with injuries that occur on property. And another major area of property law focuses on developing real estate and investing in property. Because this area of law is so diverse, often people need to speak with a lawyer skilled in a particular aspect of property law, as opposed to a general property lawyer.
Real Estate Brokers: A broker is a person who helps you buy or sell your home. Both a buyer and seller of residential real estate can benefit from a broker. For example:
- Many brokers are members of a multiple listing service (MLS)
- Brokers subscribing to a MLS share their exclusive listing agreements with other broker in order to expose your home to more sellers.
- Brokers work for you! The broker you hire is your agent. This means that the broker owes you duties, such as loyalty, care, and diligence.
- Brokers are professionals. Brokers are required to be licensed and are thus educated and trained to help you sell or buy your home.
A real state listing agreement is a contract between you and the broker that creates the obligations and rights of the relationship. It is wise to consult with an property law attorney or a real estate attorney before signing any legal document or contract.
The listing agreement usually provides:
- Material defects within the seller's knowledge - Many states require a seller who knows of a problem with the property to disclose the presence of this problem to the buyer.
- Actively conceal material defects - Generally, a seller cannot actively hide a defect in order to attract a buyer to the property.
- Buyer's Duty to Inspect - Most states find that the seller does not have an obligation to inspect the property before the deed is transferred. Thus, the buyer should hire someone to inspect the property for any defects that are not easily noticeable.
- Inspection Contingency - The buyer can place a clause in the purchase contract stating that the sale is contingent on a property inspection by a qualified engineer or construction expert at the buyer's expense.
Encumbrances on the Property
An encumbrance is something that may prevent a buyer from taking the legal title or possession of the property. Most encumbrances are recorded at the county recorder's office.
Sometimes a piece of property can be sold subject to a mortgage or other financial lien. A buyer can check whether a piece of property has a lien or mortgage through the county recorder's office. Additionally, a title insurance company should inform you of any such encumbrances on the property.
A buyer may not have enough cash up front to pay the entire purchase price for a piece of property. A financial institution may be able to lend the buyer the purchase money and attach a mortgage to the property.
Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney if I Want to Buy or Sell a House?
A real estate attorney can guide you through the process, and help you negotiate a price that is right for you. A real estate attorney will also review listing agreements with brokers, offers, and purchase contracts before you sign them to make certain that your requests are met. Further, a real estate attorney can advise you on financing the house of your dreams.
Title and boundary disputes involve disagreements about who owns a piece of property, and the amount of area the property covers. Title and boundary disputes are becoming less common as better records are kept and property lines are more clearly defined. However, title and boundary disputes still arise, especially when title and boundary lines were recorded a long time ago.
Finding my Property's Boundary Lines
The property description in your deed includes the boundary lines of your property. Deeds to property are recorded at the county or city recorder's office. The recorder's office should have information on all the prior owners of your land and where the boundaries used to lie.
Many people own subdivision parcels. In a subdivision, the initial developer created a map, called a plat map, dividing the large parcel she owned into many small parcels. You can check the subdivision's plat map for a description of your boundaries.
What Does it Mean to Have "Title"?
Having title to a piece of property generally means that a person actually owns the property described on the deed. Title usually refers to an owner's rights.
Recorded title is also important. When an individual sells or buys a piece of property, he or she is usually required under state law to record this event at the county or city recorder's office. The recorded title will also note any "clouds on title" or "encumbrances" such as liens, mortgages, easements or other things that may affect ownership rights.
Essentially title insurance is a guarantee of a thorough search of the public records of your deed to make sure no one else has an interest in the property. The title insurance company will defend your title if there is a "cloud" or another interest recorded on your title that they did not find.
An easement is the right of another person to use your land for a specific reason. You can grant someone an easement through a document, like a deed. Easements affecting your land that have been expressly granted are recorded in the county recorder's office.
If your neighbor has been using a portion of land that is within your boundary lines for a certain period of time, he may have a prescriptive easement. Even though you did not expressly grant him the right to use your property, he may have developed a right if he used it long enough. Each state requires that the neighbor use the land for a specific period of time. A prescriptive easement is not always recorded at the county recorder's office.
Contact our Property Law Attorneys
If you need assistance with any property law related matter, contact an Orlando property la lawyer from NeJame Law at your earliest convenience. Our real estate attorneys handle cases in Orlando, Central Florida and throughout the State of Florida. We can be reached at (407) 500-0000, by e-mail us at Civil@NeJameLaw.com and by filling out our online form located at the bottom of this page.