Dealing with real estate is a matter where everyone should retain the services of a law firm. If you're not sure why that's the case, here are five ways you'll benefit from real estate legal services.
1. Establishing a Clear Title
Whether you're the buyer or the seller in a transaction, establishing a clear title to a property is essential. This means determining whether there are any outstanding liens against the location. A similar problem is making sure there isn't an independent party holding the title in trust, a somewhat less common arrangement used by mortgage companies. Claims against the property can arise from land disputes, financial dealings, court penalties, or outstanding taxes.
2. Determining Usage Rights
Even if you're not involved in a transaction and are planning on staying on your property for years to come, a law firm can help you address questions about how you're allowed to use the site. This includes zoning questions, especially in regions where usage is strictly limited. You may also encounter issues with how close to a neighbor's property you're allowed to do certain types of construction, renovations, or landscaping.
3. Resource Right
As property owners try to extract more value from locations, resource rights are becoming a bigger problem. Rights are often licensed or even transferred, and this may not always be obvious when you acquire a property. Such issues apply to natural gas, oil, timber, coal, and even water. Similarly, you need to be sure your rights are clear when resources overlap neighboring properties.
4. Environmental Regulations
The impact a property has on the surrounding environment is coming under increasing regulation. It might seem like nothing to divert a bit of water from a stream on your property to take care of a garden, for example. However, you might find yourself talking with local, state, or even federal officials about the impact. You'll want to have a law firm representing your interests and translating the legalese into something you can understand.
Among the biggest sources of litigation in the real estate world is misrepresentation. If you transfer a property or use it as collateral, it's necessary to fully represent its condition. That can be a challenge, as you'll need to have licensed professionals conduct inspections and provide reports. Likewise, the history of a property, such as being the site of a notorious murder, also has to be accurately represented. Before you make any representations about a property, it's wise to have a real estate legal services professional review them.