Real Estate Legal Services
The essential steps of any real estate transaction are negotiating and entering into a contract, escrow of the down payment, steps by both buyer and seller to prepare for closing, and the closing itself, and certain follow-up steps after closing.
The buyer is the one acquiring a complex asset with many aspects to it: its physical condition, whether there is good title, financial liens, etc., and who needs to make sure that zoning, environmental concerns, and any municipal, utility or building codes are being complied with. Therefore there normally are more elements in a real estate contract to protect the buyer than the seller. Nevertheless, the seller needs to know that the buyer has the wherewithall to complete the transaction and that if the buyer’s many conditions are met, the buyer cannot change his or her mind and back out of the transaction at the last minute.
Once the contract is signed and the down payment placed in escrow, the buyer, primarily, has to arrange for various inspections – municipal, utility, title, and so on, as well as become certain that the zoning is proper for the intended use, that there are no surprise liens on the property, etc. In Missouri, the buyer also arranges and pays for title insurance. In many other states, however, including Illinois, it is customary for the seller to arrange and pay for title insurance.
“Closing” is defined by the transfer of funds for title to the property. The seller executes a deed in return for cash or certified funds, with pro-rata adjustments, usually performed by the title company, for items such as real estate taxes, sewer service charges, and other periodic payments. The buyer records his deed and the seller deposits his money. Usually, of course, there’s a lender involved as well, and, if so, then the buyer has to sign a “Deed of Trust” or Mortgage in favor of the lender and granting the lender a security interest in the property.
- Foreclosure Defense; Loan Modifications
- Short Sales, Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure
- Landlord-Tenant disputes
- Municipal Violations, Condemnation, Public Works and Forestry Departments
- Homeowner Association Issues and Disputes
- Subdivision Indentures and Covenants
- Construction Loans and Financing
- Neighbor disputes, boundary and survey issues
- Dividing interests in a single piece of real estate; Partition
Recent Customer Experiences
One recent case involved a woman who was “sold” a property by someone who was not the real owner, but an impostor. It turned out that the title was in the name of a deceased person and the children of the deceased were trying to evict my client since she did not hold the deed to the house. After much negotiation, we worked out a three way settlement between the children of the deceased, the impostor, and my client. My client was granted the property at a very reasonable price, pending the necessary financing.
I negotiated the purchase of a mixed-use property in the city of Saint Louis, where the ownership was initially tied up in probate court. Several parties who had interests in my clients not obtaining the property were also involved. We overcame serious obstacles in the area of financing as well as the efforts of our opponents.
I successfully negotiated and documented the relationship between a home builder and a major investor, where the investor would purchase property creating a land bank for the builder, who could then sell and build on properties one at a time for home buyers and split the profits with the investor each time at closing.