Protecting Your Interests In Real Estate Transactions

Because of the large scope of legal services that are included in the terms real estate and real property, it is important to focus on matching your particular needs to the lawyer used. These terms can include legal services relating to sale transactions, commercial leasing, property development, environmental conditions, land use issues, landlord/tenant issues, easements and other property restrictions, condo development and management, and other matters. Most attorneys work only in a few of the different real estate areas. My focus is on the purchase and sale of real property, commercial leases and interrelated areas such as brokering, escrows, title insurance and others.

Clear Title

Read your preliminary real property title policy well in advance of closing on your real estate purchase. Contact the title company if it is slow in providing it so you will have the time to clear up any problems. Some of the problems might, for example, be old releases not recorded, easements or incorrect legal descriptions.

Americans With Disability Act

This law and other similar statutes affect the physical arrangement of your facilities and also how disabled persons are treated regarding employment. Although there are provisions in the law that allow deferral of many of the required building changes until new construction is done, there are still many requirements that must be complied with now. Parking, counter heights and access requirements are examples. This is an area where you should consider hiring a specialized consulting firm, which should at the very least conduct a survey of the facility for compliance issues.

Various Topics

The following are some of the miscellaneous items that should be addressed in a real estate purchase agreement:

  • Seller disclosure of property conditions
  • Checking for conditional use permits for the business or practice that operated at the facility
  • Hazardous waste search (then progressing to a Phase I and II test if needed)
  • Checking for any likely government taking of your street or yards
  • Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements
  • Indemnity provisions
  • Prevailing party legal fee recovery provisions
  • Contingencies on key issues such as appraisal, loan approval, condition inspections, etc.
  • Buyer’s thorough inspections
  • And many others