Real estate law encompasses all those laws pertaining to real property. Real property is real estate such as land, a home, an apartment, or a condominium. Real property is distinguished from personal property, which is investments, money, jewelry, and art.
Common real estate law focuses on:
- Buying a Home
- Renting a Home
- Selling a Home
Buying a Home
Buying a home includes a multitude of legalities, including the offer, acceptance, contract, inspections, local ordinances and requirements, and mortgages. A real estate lawyer often handles the title search, preparation of the new deed, and the real estate closing.
Renting a Home or Apartment
Renting a home includes landlord – tenant laws and a lease agreement. Both the landlord and the tenant also deal with security deposit, local laws and ordinances, evictions, the implied warranty of habitability, maintenance requests, and liability issues.
Tenants have the right not to be discriminated against. In other words, a landlord cannot avoid renting to someone because of the prospective tenant’s race, religion, color, nationality, sex, age, familial status, physical disability, or mental disability.
Tenants also have the right to habitable conditions. This means that the home or apartment has to be safe; no holes in the floor, no pest infestation, heat in the winter, running water, free of lead paint, and the like.
The landlord has the right to be paid the rent as agreed upon in the lease. If the tenant fails to pay the rent and follow other reasonable rules as outlined in the lease, the landlord’s recourse is eviction.
Selling a Home
Selling a home includes a multitude of legalities including the offer, acceptance, contract, inspections, local ordinances and requirements, and mortgages. A real estate lawyer often handles the title search, preparation of the new deed, and the real estate closing.
A bank or financial institution may initiate foreclosure proceedings when mortgage payments are missed. In today’s economic climate, foreclosures are common. When a home is foreclosed upon, the bank (i.e. mortgagor) who owns the home sells it to pay off the original mortgage.
Foreclosures can be halted or stopped altogether. For example, upon the acceptance of a bankruptcy petition, the court issues a “stay,” which means that creditors must immediately cease all collection practices. The foreclosure is halted.
Most homes today are purchased with the financial help of a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan that is secured by real estate. Both financial institutions, such as banks and mortgage companies, and individual home sellers can give mortgages.
The person who gives a mortgage is called the “mortgagor;” whereas, the person who is given the loan (i.e. mortgage) is the “mortgagee.”
Home equity loans are a second or third mortgage that is secured by the real property. Home equity loans are used to improve the property, thus increasing the value of the real property.
Where to Get Help with Real Estate Matters
Consult a qualified real estate attorney if you have any questions or concerns regarding real estate matters.