RE/MAX Executive Realty



Posted by RE/MAX Executive Realty on 2/21/2021

Photo by Rafa Bordes via Pixabay
 

Real estate closings could be quite simple at one end of the spectrum or very difficult at the other end. In most cases, you will need to understand the legal ramifications of signing several documents, including the note, mortgage, transfer of title, mineral rights, title insurance and tax documents. If your closing is complicated, you should always have an attorney present.

Simple Closings

It is very rare to have a simple closing, but it could happen. If you are buying raw land for cash, the closing is usually quite simple for the buyer and seller. You don’t need a mortgage, but you will need title insurance for yourself. You’ll also need a deed. The seller will need to sign the requisite tax documents.

Another simple closing is when you purchase a manufactured or modular home and put it on land that you already own. The closing, even with a mortgage, is easy and between the buyer and home manufacturer. However, if you need a construction loan while the home is being built and/or set up, the closing becomes more complicated since you must close twice. The first closing is the construction loan on the money you borrow for the home. The second loan is the loan that covers the finished product. Closing with a builder of a home that is built on-site is more complicated than closing on a manufactured or modular home.

Closings Gone Wrong

While no one wants to have a closing go wrong, it does happen. Your lawyer might find mistakes in documents, including the loan estimate. You might find that the seller did not disclose pertinent information about the home – information that would have prevented you from making an offer on a home and could be cause to break the contract without prejudice. It is always better to have a real estate lawyer review the documents prior to closing and at the closing to ensure that your best interests are met.

List of Closing Documents

At the closing, you will have to review and sign most of these documents:

  • Closing disclosure that dictates the terms of your loan and the closing costs you will pay.

  • Your loan application. You must sign a new copy of the application you submitted to the mortgage company, so be sure to review it and make sure everything is correct.

  • The mortgage note that binds you to repay the loan should have the amount you borrowed, the interest rate, payment date, the amount you will pay over the life of the loan, the length of the loan and other information.

  • The mortgage or deed of trust is what provides security for the loan. When you sign this document, you are putting your house up as collateral. If you bought land separately, the lender might also use the land as collateral.

  • The title and/or deed to your home. The deed is proof of ownership.

  • Affidavits, depending on your situation.

  • Escrow disclosure that tells you how much of your payment goes to escrow and what the escrow is used for. It is usually for county taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

  • Property transfer tax documents.

When scheduling your closing, even if your real estate agent is using a closing agent, consider having your own attorney present. It could save you a lot of headaches and heartache if the lawyer catches something amiss with the closing. 




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Posted by RE/MAX Executive Realty on 12/20/2020

Image by Michi S from Pixabay

Every property has an assigned zone that controls how you can use it. In residential zones, for example, you often have to abide by restrictions regarding business activity and animal husbandry. Commercial and industrial zoning also comes with many restrictions for its use, limiting the types of businesses that can be operated in each zone. If you want to go beyond those usage restrictions, it is possible to request a zoning variance through the city. Here’s what to expect during that process.

Application Submission

Every city has its own process for zoning variance requests, though most follow similar procedures. To begin, you will likely need to fill out an application and pay a filing fee. Depending on the local requirements, your application may need to include blueprints, surveys, or photographs detailing your planned usage of the property.

Review of Request

After paying the filing fee, the application lands in front of the zoning board for review. The board members take a look at the property characteristics and proposed use of the land. They weigh how your planned usage will impact your neighbors and the surrounding environment. Depending on the nature of your request, they may send out a photographer and other officials to record information to use in the decision-making process.

Notification of Neighbors

Before the zoning board can make an official decision, they are usually required to notify your neighbors of your request. As a part of this notification process, you may need to display informative placards on the land. In addition to the details of your request, these notifications usually include the hearing date to allow all interested parties to attend.

Once notified, local property owners are given time to respond and air their grievances. The zoning board records all messages of support or objection that come their way, so they can take them into account during the official hearing. You can streamline this process by asking your neighbors for letters of support and include them in your application.

Hearing by Zoning Board

The hearing starts with a review of the notification procedures, verifying the board abided by the local laws. Then, the planning department is given time to inform the court about your zoning variance request and their findings.

After that, you are typically given a chance to plead your case and convince the board that approval is the right move. The planning department may be given time for rebuttals before they open up the floor to your neighbors. All interested parties have a limited amount of time to share their concerns or messages of support. Once they are finished, the fact-finding portion of the hearing is complete.

In some locations, the zoning board will immediately vote on the decision, while others make their determinations behind closed doors. If you do not receive an immediate decision, the zoning board will likely be in touch to schedule a final determination meeting. Either way, approvals are effective immediately, allowing you to move forward with your plans. If your request was denied, however, you may have up to 30 days to file an appeal.




Tags: homeowner   Legal   Zoning  
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Posted by RE/MAX Executive Realty on 11/22/2020

Photo by Succo via Pixabay

When you need a real estate attorney, be sure to do your research. Don’t just hire an attorney because your friend or a relative sings the attorney’s praises. The referred attorney may be great in the practice area they helped your friend or relative in, but they may not have the experience needed for your case. In addition to researching the attorney’s knowledge, you should also make sure you get along with the lawyer and make sure they don't have bar complaints lodged against them.

Practice Areas

Real estate is an encompassing practice area. It has many sub-practice areas, such as boundary disputes, buying and selling real estate, probate issues, easements, title issues and more. If you need legal advice for a boundary dispute, you need an attorney who has experience with boundary disputes. Another example: If you were left property by a loved one who died, the property needs to go through probate. You should retain a real estate attorney who has experience in probate law. If not, you might have to retain a real estate lawyer and a probate lawyer, which will cost you more money.

Reputation

Once you determine the real estate lawyer has experience in cases like yours; you will need to check the attorney’s reputation. Always check the state’s bar website to make sure the attorney is in good standing. You may also check other sites for reviews, including peer reviews. Once you determine that the attorney is in good standing and handles your type of case, you are ready to schedule a consultation.

The Consultation

Once you schedule the consultation, gather any documents you have that are related to your case. You will also need to jot down several questions for the attorney. Some questions are to help you determine the attorney’s experience and how they interact with their clients. Questions might include:

  • How many cases like mine have you handled?

  • Of those, how many cases had a positive outcome?

  • What are the ways I can contact you? (The answer should be phone and email. Some attorneys even give out their cell phone numbers.)

  • What is your fee schedule? If the attorney charges a flat rate, be sure you understand what is included in that rate, whether it’s to negotiate your case or go to trial, if needed.

  • If the attorney charges by the hour, ask what the retainer is and how much they charge on behalf of their staff. For example, the attorney may charge $125 for work that a legal assistant does and $175 per hour for work that a paralegal does.

  • Review the attorney’s contract before you sign it.

Personality

Finally, if everything else is to your satisfaction, only retain the attorney if your personalities do not clash. When you retain someone you do not get along with, your case could suffer because of the differences between you, the lawyer and the staff. If you do not have a personality clash, then you are ready to retain the attorney.




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