Zoning Appeals & Litigation Real estate transactions are governed by federal statutes, state statutes and common law established by court interpretation of those laws. Legal issues relate to acquiring, financing, developing, managing, constructing, leasing and selling commercial and residential properties. Buying and selling real estate is more complicated than buying or selling expensive goods, such as a car. With real estate, many different people have an interest in the same property, tax consequences are more complicated, and possession is not necessarily indicative of ownership. An experienced real estate attorney can help you sort through all the difficult decisions and negotiations involved in real estate transactions. State and local rules vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The state and federal laws encompass everything from ownership of land and buildings to related issues such as financing, leasing, construction, taxes, environmental rules, and a multitude of other issues. A competent and experienced real estate attorney can protect a party’s interest in both routine and complex transactions and disputes. Real estate terminology can be confusing, especially to a first-time home buyer. The attorneys at Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, experienced in real estate law, can help the buyer or seller understand the terms and concepts involved in the transaction. The following are other terms involved in a typical real estate transaction: An appraisal is an estimate of the value of the real property made by a third party not involved in the transaction, comparing the sales price to the value of a similar property in the area. Mortgage lenders normally require an appraisal before they will make a loan to the buyer. An assessment is the charge for an improvement completed by the local government that is beneficial to adjoining property owners, such as a sidewalk or road work leading into the property. The assessment is proportional to each property owner for the cost of the improvement. A deed is the document that establishes the transfer of ownership of real estate, and includes the names of the buyer and the seller and the property’s legal description. The deed is signed by the person transferring the property. The deed may also make the buyer responsible for other claims against or conditions on the property. It is extremely important that the deed is accurate and completely executed. The deed must be in writing and follow all state laws for property transactions. A deed should be recorded in order to make the ownership change a matter of public record. A home inspection is the process in which an independent home inspector gives a detailed written report to the buyer of the condition of the property that he or she is considering buying. The unbiased evaluation will allow a buyer to know what work needs to be done now and what work will possibly need to be done in the future on the property. Obtaining a home inspection and reviewing the results with an experienced real estate attorney can allow the home buyer to be in the best position to negotiate his or her purchase. A whole house inspection will uncover defects that may not be readily apparent to the buyer. Specific other inspections may be requested at the buyers expense, such as for termites, etc. A settlement, or closing, is the meeting during which the property ownership is officially transferred from the seller to the buyer. The buyer and seller, their attorneys, real estate agents and the lender typically attend the closing. The closing involves settling any open issues, balancing and verifying the closing statement, and signing all documents necessary to complete the transaction. It is important to have an experienced real estate attorney, such as the attorneys at Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, to represent your rights at the settlement. At that time, the attorney can explain all closing costs and verify that the costs are being appropriately allocated between the buyer and the seller. The closing documents include promissory notes, mortgages, deeds, security agreements, financing statements, guarantees, and loan agreements. Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law have the knowledge and expertise to prepare all the documents and to review and explain the legal effect of the closing documents in plain English. We will work with you at every stage of your real estate closing. If problems are discovered along the way, we take steps to help you resolve those problems so that the closing is not needlessly delayed. As the time for closing approaches, we coordinate the scheduling of the settlement with out client, the sellers, the agent, and the lender. The contract and loan documents are reviewed, payoff information for existing loans on the property is obtained and all necessary closing documentation is prepared. At closing: the deed, loan documents and other legally required documents are signed, and all funds are obtained and disbursed. We insure that the closing process is conducted according to the terms of the contract, the lender’s instructions and all applicable laws. We can provide you with title insurance. Zoning Zoning is the process by which the local governments have the ability to regulate use of land. Zoning is initially established in order to keep competing uses from interfering with adjoining real estate or real estate in close proximity. Local zoning rules are generally set up to establish residential areas, commercial areas, agricultural areas and industrial areas. Zoning rules also establish procedures in order to request re-zoning for appropriate uses of real estate. An experienced real estate attorney, the lawyers of Mooney & Associates, will represent your best interests in order to establish a classification which meets your needs and can be approved by the zoning process. Eminent Domain Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private lands for public use. The government can determine the appropriate compensation for the owner. The general ability of the government to do this has been taken for granted throughout our history. The power is limited only by the federal constitution and by state constitutions. A real estate attorney experienced in this area of the law will be able to explain the process and your options in this procedure.