Buying, selling, leasing, or renting a property sounds pretty straightforward. Most people tend to think real estate transactions merely involve the signing of contracts and transferring the decided amount to the selling party and the land or property is theirs. However, real estate laws go deeper and are more complicated than you think. These laws impact everything from buying or selling a property and govern the way a piece of land can or cannot be used. Real estate laws also impact taxation and transactions executed for the property. Therefore, it is essential to consult a real estate attorney for the smallest of decisions concerning real estate.
Real estate law, also known as real property law, covers an extensive range of areas. These laws govern everything that has to do with the land and other resources attached to it. Simply put, real estate or property laws deal with everything from immovable structures such as buildings and trees to minerals and other resources found above or below the land. Besides this, real estate laws also encompass the legal rights, benefits, and interests attached to real property. These rights include concepts of ownership, acquisition, rights to the air above the land, right to live on a property, etc. Real estate laws impact home buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, infrastructure developers, and anyone who is involved in directly or indirectly using or benefitting from real property. A wide variety of real estate statutes exist at the federal, state, and local levels. Although real estate laws are highly region-specific, there are times when federal statutes may take precedence over local laws.
Real estate laws cover an extensive range of topics and areas. An overview of some of the important areas is provided below:
Buying and selling a house are crucial decisions that you may take during the course of your life. When you decide to buy or sell a house, you are required to submit documents and fulfill some legal requirements. This includes managing and drafting of documents such as deeds, bill of sales, insurance, mortgage, and title agreements. Other purchase agreements and documents may also be required during the process. While these are common for both parties, buyers need to consider the various deed and ownership options at their disposal. On the other hand, sellers are required to make full disclosures about their property and ensure they are not misrepresenting any aspects of the property they are selling or hiding flaws. Both buyers and sellers have real estate rights that they should be aware of. Consulting a real estate attorney, therefore, is essential to ensuring seamless progress in buying and selling of residential properties. In fact, it is compulsory in some states to hire a real estate attorney for the buying and selling process.
There are some specific laws and regulations that apply to the selling and leasing of commercial real estate. These laws are concerned with commercial leasing, land use, contracts, licensing, and zoning. Adhering to these laws is essential for business owners to ensure their operations do not suffer any setback. When buying a property for commercial use, you may run into zoning or leasing problems, ownership disputes, boundary disputes, or fail to get the documents necessary to avail insurance for a business.
In addition to ownership issues and deeds, real estate is also subjected to zoning. The three basic categories of zoning include residential, commercial, and industrial. Zoning imposes additional regulations and restrictions on what and how the property can be used. In most states, the three zoning categories are further subdivided with each division having specific legal requirements and specifications. Zoning is done to restrict and limit land use. If your real estate project or use infringes upon a protected area, you may end up in trouble. These laws and regulations are framed and enforced by local legislators. However, there are federal laws that form the basis of zoning on state and local levels. These laws are the National Historic Preservation Act 1966 and the National Environmental Policy Act 1969.
Foreclosure is a subcategory of real estate law. It is a legal process wherein the lender takes over the ownership of the mortgaged property when the borrower fails to pay their mortgages. Generally, lenders sell foreclosed properties to recover the loan that was initially paid to the borrower. Besides this, there is a chance that the borrower may be personally held liable for the difference the lender fails to obtain after selling the house. There are various legal measures you can take to avoid foreclosure. You can know more about the process and how to avoid it here.
Another category where real estate laws come into force is the landlord-tenant laws. These laws govern the renting of both residential and commercial property. Both property and contract law form the basis of landlord-tenant laws. These laws define the rights of both landlords and tenants and are enforced when the two parties have a dispute regarding the property in question.
Real estate transactions involve the transference of huge sums of money and are taxable. There are unique tax laws that apply to these transactions. By knowing real estate laws and restructuring these transactions you can maximize your investments and save big on taxes.
Hiring a real estate lawyer will benefit you in the following ways:
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