Category: Real Estate Law

Probate of Real Estate

 

The probate process will ensure that real estate goes where the deceased left instructions for it to go in his or her will.  If the deceased left no will, the probate court will distribute real estate based on state law.

Probate

Probate is a process conducted by a state court to distribute your property after your death.  Certain types of property avoid the probate process and get distributed directly to heirs, such as life insurance policies, certain bank accounts, gifts, trusts, and certain kinds of joint property ownership.  All other property must pass probate to get to your loved ones.  Many people plan their estates to avoid probate.  While probate ensures that your property is distributed fairly among your loved ones, it is a costly and lengthy process that can delay your gifts to your family and friends.

Real Estate in Probate

If real estate ends up in probate, it will either be distributed to family members according to the will of the deceased or intestate distribution laws, or it will be sold to pay creditors of the estate, or it will be sold by court order to distribute value more efficiently among family members. Probate real estate is conveyed through an Order of Final Distribution or some other method selected by the probate court.

If You Die Without a Will

If you die without a will (intestate), probate will ensure your property is distributed fairly among your family members.  Each state has laws of intestate distribution that prioritize family members in line to receive property from your estate.   Of course, a will or a trust is the best vehicle for ensuring your property is distributed after your death according to your wishes.

If You Die With a Will

If you already have a will, the probate process will carry out your will precisely.  You won’t have to worry about certain family members not receiving their property or taxes going unpaid.  The court oversight in probate makes sure these tasks are completed per your wishes and according to the law.  Probate also makes it easier for you to name guardians and conservators of your dependent children and adults.

 

Portland Real Estate Lawyers

Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys are the men and women lawyers of Portland who handle the real estate transactions in and around the greater Portland, Oregon area.

A “Portland real estate lawyer” is the same thing as a “Portland real estate attorney”. There is no difference between “lawyer” and “attorney” and this context.

In most residential purchase situations the real estate lawyers and attorneys get involved after the brokers or agents are done with the parties and an earnest money agreement has been agreed to and signed. Usually the broker or brokers help put together the contract, but a person can certainly get the help of a lawyer or attorney at this stage if they want to.

Both the buyer and the seller usually get their own lawyer or attorney and the transaction goes ahead from there.

If the buyer is getting a new mortgage then the buyers lawyer or attorney will often take care of that on behalf of the bank or other lender as well.

In mortgage refinancing situations the mortgage lawyer or attorney sometimes acts for both the borrower and the lender. This happens as well with second mortgages or lines of credit secured by mortgages.

Special caution needs to be taken in situations involving situations where there is no broker or where there might be only one broker involved.  

The main job of the buyer’s lawyer in most situations is to make sure that the buyer gets their name on the property.  The main job of the seller’s lawyer in most situations is to make sure that the seller gets their money.  The bank, if there is one, will often use the buyer’s lawyer as well and the main job on behalf of the bank is for the lawyer in most situations is to make sure that the bank’s mortgage or other security documentation gets properly registered against the property.

Portland real estate lawyers do much more than the “standard” purchase described above. They must have a deep and really varied knowledge of the law and of how to apply it to various situations.  They must be familiar with both federal and state laws.

Special care must be taken if there are rental tenants in a property that is being either bought or sold. They have rights that can carry over to the new owner. You need to discuss this with your lawyer or attorney.

A title insurance company or an attorney is typically used by the buyer to investigate whether the title is marketable. Title insurance companies also insure the buyer against losses caused by the title being invalid.

Here are just a few of the areas that most Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys will have experience in. Keep in mind that the best Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys probably have a broad background but do most of their work in particular field.

Residential Real Estate

Portland real estate lawyers are involved in practically every single purchase, sale and refinancing of residential real estate in Portland. This includes both residential house and condominium sales.

The lawyers often get involved in negotiating all kinds of things and holding deals together. The realtors don’t always do a perfect job of putting an offer together. Dower issues arise.  Purchase money issues arise.  Property tax matters need to be adjusted so each party only pays their share and not more. Title, survey and boundary issues come up. The real estate lawyer or attorney must be familiar with all areas of residential real estate contract law including contract, specific performance, non-disclosure, fraud, misrepresentation and more. When financing is being obtained the purchaser’s lawyer or attorney will sometimes act for the bank or lender as well. These mortgage lawyers are responsible for making sure the mortgage gets properly signed and registered. It takes a great deal of coordination and communication among all the parties to close the deal.

Commercial Real Estate

Portland real estate lawyers and attorneys are involved at some stage in every purchase and sale of commercial real estate. This includes land and buildings whether they be corner stores, shopping centre’s or high rise office buildings. Commercial real estate law involves commercial purchases, commercial sales, real estate investment opportunities, construction, development issues including, land use planning, zoning issues, farm purchases, farm sales, leasing, landlord and tenant matters, financing, refinancing, mortgages, second mortgages, foreclosures and everything that goes along with these situations. If there are changes in “the market” before the deal closes then it can really complicate things. One party or the other may suddenly want out. The legal matters that come up in commercial real estate situations can be extremely complex.

Construction Real Estate

Behind every construction project in Portland there is a real estate lawyer or attorney. These projects might be developing residential real estate or they might be constructing commercial properties. These construction real estate lawyer’s deal with owners, lenders, contractors, municipal officials, land titles offices, utility providers, builder’s liens, mortgages, mortgage advances, construction defects and claims, construction accident claims, progress payments, warranties and all of the situations that go along with these. Construction real estate lawyer’s negotiate mortgages, re-financing’s, purchase and sale agreements, commercial leases (i.e. office, medical, dental, restaurant, industrial property, or shopping center leases) and more. As with any real estate deal, if the market changes before the deal is concluded (i.e. before the project is complete and money has changed hands) it can really get interesting as one party or the other may suddenly want to get out of the deal. Being a construction real estate lawyer or attorney is a high pressure, fast paced and demanding profession.

Trustee Sales

The trustee sale is where foreclosed homes are sold.  For homeowners, this sale could be the final death knell of your current home ownership.  For investors or other home buyers, however, the trustee sale could be a place for great bargains. 

The Basics

Foreclosure is a legal procedure to collect the delinquent balance of a mortgage loan by forcing a sale of the home securing the loan.  When a borrower takes out a mortgage loan secured by a home, the borrower gives the lender a security interest in the home.  Based on this security interest, a lender can take back a home if a borrower defaults on mortgage payments and use the proceeds of the home sale to pay the delinquent balance.  The forced sale of the home may be conducted by the court under judicial foreclosure or by the mortgage lender under nonjudicial foreclosure.  The actual home sale process in California is referred to as the trustee sale.

Nonjudicial Foreclosure in California

California favors nonjudicial foreclosure.  Under a nonjudicial foreclosure, the lender uses its power of sale to sell a home secured by a delinquent mortgage in order to cure the delinquency.  The court is not involved in a nonjudicial sale.  Both the power of sale and the nonjudicial foreclosure are typically written into the deed of trust document.  The deed of trust establishes a mortgage on the home.  The deed of trust is so named because a trustee holds the deed to your home until your mortgage is paid off.  When your mortgage falls delinquent, it is this trustee that conducts the sale of your home to recoup the delinquent mortgage balance.

Trustee Sales

Trustee sales follow strict rules.  The sale must occur between 9AM and 5PM on a business day and is held in an auction format led by an auctioneer.  Bidders for foreclosed homes must be able to pay the full amount of their bid in cash or a cashier’s check on the day of the sale.  The auctioneer qualifies bidders prior to the sale to ensure they have the money to back up their bids.  Trustee sales do not permit home inspections by bidders – the bidders buy “as-is.”  Once a home is sold at a trustee sale, all liens attached to the home, except for property taxes, go away and the buyer takes the home free and clear.  If people are still living in the home, the buyer must initiate eviction proceedings to get them out of the home.

Riverside and Corona attorney, the McAndrew Law Firm, specializes in real estate law.  Lead attorney, Richard McAndrew, has practiced real estate law for over 11 years.  He is a member of the California Bar Association, Riverside County Bar Association, and San Bernardino Bar Association.  Mr. McAndrew has helped hundreds of clients just like you conduct real estate transactions or know and assert their rights regarding real estate.  Let the McAndrew Law Firm take a look at your real estate interests and offer counsel on your rights under real estate law.  Contact the McAndrew Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.

Sanity-Saving Strategies For Second-Home Buyers

Several years ago, after vacationing at picturesque Bald Mountain, Idaho, Victor Bernstein and Gail Landis decided the area was ideal for their second home.

Low interest rates and the volatile stock market had done much to convince them — along with hundreds of thousands of other Americans in recent years — that a vacation home would be a good investment.

They set out to find a large house in the nearby resort town of Sun Valley. But finally, after a two-year search, they scaled back their plans.

“We just realized what we were looking for was too big of a commitment, too far away, too soon,” Ms. Landis says. The couple ended up buying a small three-bedroom condominium as a kind of base from which to scout the area more thoroughly, and they now are in the process of upgrading to a larger house.

People could learn a lot from the couple’s experience.

To many Americans, buying a second home represents the great escape from the daily grind. More than just a place to lay your head, second homes can be a chance to live out your dreams. All too often, though, prospective buyers set out with unrealistic expectations, or worse, they make big decisions with a kind of hasty abandon that few would display when purchasing a primary residence.

The result is that second homes often turn out to be disastrous investments. People buy properties they can’t afford, or will never use. They buy in areas that are overpriced or overbuilt. And they buy in communities that are the perfect getaways for a couple of weeks — but wear thin when the weeks turn into months.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. What follows is a look at some of the biggest errors made by buyers of second homes, along with advice on how to avoid such mistakes and make those dreams come true after all.

Get to Know Your Market Firsthand

This may seem obvious, but given the number of people who ignore it, it bears repeating: Research the local market properly.

“A lot of people vacation somewhere for a week or two and think they want to live there, but they don’t know anything about the area,” says Tim Richards, an Ocean City, Md., real-estate agent who specializes in second homes. “People need to know when the vacation becomes a reality, it’s much different.” For instance, a quiet, relaxing vacation spot may be a popular spring-break destination for college students or an annual meeting spot for bikers with noisy motorcycles.

Even if you’re sure about the area you want to buy in, an effective search can take years, considering that most of your hunting will be done on weekend visits or subsequent vacations.

As a result, experts recommend renting or buying a smaller home in the area — as Ms. Landis and Mr. Bernstein did — to learn the lay of the land before upgrading to a larger investment. A few months after buying their condo, the New York couple found the property they’d been looking for just a few blocks away: a plot of land with an older house that they decided to tear down and replace with a five-bedroom dream home.

“The two-step process was critical for us,” says Ms. Landis, who plans to vacation in her new two-story home this summer after construction is complete. “A house is a big financial commitment, and you really don’t want to make a mistake.”

Don’t Settle for Less Than What You Really Want

Sometimes people make sacrifices when buying a primary residence in order to be closer to work or to send their children to a better school. But a second home should be about pure enjoyment. It’s important to get it exactly right.

Julie Beyer, a substitute teacher in West Salem, Wis., searched for her ideal property for two years and wound up still making a purchase that was hasty. Her dream was to own a lakefront home in northern Wisconsin. But after long and fruitless searching, the 45-year-old Ms. Beyer and her husband, Mark, settled for a plot of land two miles from the closest lake and began planning to build on it. Four months later, they found what they had wanted all along and bought that as well: a three-bedroom, fully furnished lakefront home in Willard, Wis.

But now the Beyers are saddled with the unwanted land.

“I’m still paying property taxes on the land, and it’s tough to sell because most people want a lakefront property,” Ms. Beyer says. “We should have been more patient.”

Look Into Zoning and Other Restrictions

Becoming familiar with local politics, laws and other peculiarities is also important. Many communities, particularly those in coastal areas, have special zoning requirements and other ordinances of interest.

Richard Roll wasn’t aware of the zoning laws in Nantucket, Mass., when he bought his second home. The retiree from Stamford, Conn., thought the area in front of his vacation home was designated as conservation land, which would be protected from residential and commercial development. But because of quirks in the local zoning laws that he wasn’t aware of, Mr. Roll later found out the area was not protected and that buildings could go up there.

“That really put a cloud on the property in terms of resale value,” says Mr. Roll, who has since sold the property and bought a two-bedroom condo in Singer Island, Fla. “It weakened how much we got for the property, and it took us a year to sell the house even though it was a great property.”

Bone Up on Mortgages, Insurance and Contractors

Lenders historically have charged higher rates for second-home mortgages; they view second homes as a greater risk because they’re often the first thing to go when borrowers need to tighten their belts. Such views are changing, though, and experts say that investors can shop around for competitive rates. Local lenders, meanwhile, because they’re familiar with the area and want a local customer’s business, can sometimes offer better rates than national lenders.

You may have less luck finding a good deal on home insurance. Because second homes aren’t occupied all the time, and so are at a greater risk for theft and fire, premiums tend to be higher than they are for comparable primary residences. In addition, they may not be close to a fire hydrant or fire station. Those buying in a remote mountain location or in dry areas may want to consider additional fire insurance. Similarly, houses on flood plains may need flood insurance. Sometimes insurance won’t even be available on a property for some of these same reasons, so make it a contingency on any purchase offer.

You need to be especially careful when hiring a contractor for a second home since you may not be familiar with local builders or know who to ask for references. When retiree Mordecai Arnold was building his second home, a three-bedroom log cabin he designed himself in Auburn, Ala., the retailer that sold him the logs referred him to a contractor to complete the construction. The contractor collected $28,000 upfront, finished only about 10% of the work, then walked out on the job.

“I accepted a recommendation, but I should have done research,” says Mr. Arnold, who tracked the contractor down only to find him in prison. Mr. Arnold ended up spending an additional $28,000 to fix the mess the contractor left. “I also shouldn’t have paid the money in advance. Very few legitimate builders and contractors insist on full payment in advance.”

Is It a Fixer-Upper?

Maintenance issues in second homes can be a bigger concern than they are for a primary residence, if only because you don’t want to spend your getaway weekends doing a lot of chores.

One way to avoid making a purchase that will drain both your time and budget is to hire a professional home inspector — one that doesn’t do repairs — to determine the maintenance requirements. Upkeep should be evaluated in addition to potential repairs. For instance, many homes in rural areas use septic systems, which require periodic treatment to prevent buildup and may require cleaning depending on frequency of use. Some rural homes use wells instead of the community water utility, which may mean the well water has to be tested.

“One thing you definitely don’t want to do is have your second property managing you,” says Jed Gray, a Sun Valley real-estate agent. “You want to be able to enjoy your property.”

David and Karen Strohl of Chicago learned that lesson the hard way. They were thrilled when they bought their second home in Lakeside, Mich., a popular town on the southeast shore of Lake Michigan about 75 miles away from their primary residence. But the couple’s enthusiasm waned after they realized they were spending most weekends overseeing repairs of such things as the roof and basement.

“We had a lot of work, a lot of projects, to get the house in shape,” Ms. Strohl says. “If you have maintenance issues, you might not be doing the same amount of traveling to other destinations, and you might start to resent that.”

The Strohls have now finished their renovations, after several years, and say they’re happy with their home.

Don’t Expect a Cash Cow

For second-home owners using their property as an investment, experts warn not to depend on rental income to cover their mortgage and other expenses. Unless the property is in a prime location such as an oceanfront or other popular resort area, it’s unlikely that rental income will cover all the costs because of the seasonality of most vacation destinations.

New Law To Boost Panama’s Real Estate Sector

Panama’s real estate sector is poised for an “unprecedented boost” as a result of a new law recently passed by the country’s National Assembly giving multinational companies performing certain tasks a significant tax break, according to company specializing in investment property in Panama.

The Knightsbridge Investment Group says that the new rules, known as ‘Law 41′, are designed to encourage the establishment of multinational companies in Panama, and give exemption to multinationals from the payment of income tax in the Republic of Panama for all services provided to any entity domiciled outside Panama. In addition, the legislation allows licensed corporations to hire trusted foreign employees to fill management positions in the company, authorizing them to work and reside in Panama, which could spell an influx of international professionals moving to the jurisdiction.

While years of economic and political stability, a healthy tourist industry, and the expansion of the country’s greatest economic asset, the Panama Canal, have underpinned the country’s real estate market, Knightsbridge Investment Group has suggested that Law 41 will give the country’s real estate sector an “unprecedented boost”. HP and Caterpillar are just two of the first to announce new offices in Panama City, with Proctor and Gamble also rumored to be relocating a significant part of its Latin American business to Panama, Knightsbridge claims.

Residential sales prices have been increasing, particularly in prime locations, but Knightsbridge says that another interesting trend has been those related to Class A office space. Vacancy rates for Class A office space are already down from 30% last year to 3%, meaning that today there is virtually no available Class A space in Panama City.

In addition, with Class A office space in such demand, lease rates have increased by approximately 20% over the past year, the company stated. “Average lease rates for Class A are $16-$20 per m2 per month with total occupancy costs at $22.74 per m2 per month (below those in the region including Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Uruguay, Caracas, Bogota, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro) giving ample space for growth and also allowing for multinationals moving to Panama” announced Alan Morrison, Vice President of Knightsbridge Investment Group, Panama City “In addition, current sales prices are favorable, with the average sale price at $2,200 per m2. With these prices and Law 41 providing the final impetus for Multinational Corporations to relocate to Panama, the time is right for those looking to make an investment in real estate in Panama,” Morrison concluded. 

Taking the Help of Lawyers Software

Litigation software ensures that the workflow is well maintained. A centralized and comprehensive data storage system is required for the storage of expert witness information, case-related information and information about the defendant and the plaintiff. Such a system is necessary for the management of a law firm’s huge volume of data and also for handling multi district litigation cases. Some of the systems enable proper workflow documentation and also that of the business process and therefore takes into account diverse aspects including team interaction.

Law firm software also includes the use of a litigation program that can help the solicitors to frame strategies while contesting their case.  Information can be searched and retrieved easily and customized reports published instantly. The software is also enabled to schedule meetings, notify the members of a team about the latest update, track case documentation and also schedule case events.

Some of them are also used for the preparation of budget proposals and also make projections for the sake of insurance coverage litigation, responding to the queries of the insurers and also assign tasks.

Litigation software simplifies the process of billing to a large extent. A number of issues need to be taken into account and therefore it is necessary to choose the software accordingly. Billing software helps to keep a track of all case related expenses and therefore the lawyer can bill the client accordingly.

The enhanced search features of a software help to look up files instantaneously. The search process is reduced to a matter of seconds.
Every manufacturer wants to create software that would be‘one-stop shopping’ software. There is a huge demand among law firms for such a product among law firms and vendors, on their part, are attempting to create software that would serve multiple needs at a time and make the task of the solicitors easy.