Real Estate

Real Estate Law

Our system of law derives from the English (“Common”) law which developed on an island.  To be sure, land was limited, and given the importance and scarcity of this resource, the law developed correspondingly restrictive rules about ownership, leasing and selling of real estate.   The law of real estate is both complex and difficult (some would say peculiar and arcane) and real estate law occupies a very substantial part of my practice.  I handle all aspects of real estate transactions, from document drafting and negotiation to closing.  I can bring together all of the necessary professionals, from title company to engineers, surveyor to environmental experts.

Residential Real Estate

The purchase and sale of a home is an extremely stressful endeavor, and I have represented hundreds of buyers and sellers of homes. A sale might be of an occupied home, of new construction already built, or of a piece of land with an agreement that the seller will construct a home to the buyer’s specifications. The details of inspections, contingencies, appraisals, rights and responsibilities in these transactions are complex, and to have a lawyer involved is a minimal expense compared with the size of the overall transaction. Financing can be commercial (through a bank or mortgage company) or private (by the seller “taking back” financing) and either way will require an appraisal. FHA and VA loans have their own peculiar rules. Lease/purchase agreements are quite common, as are occupancy agreements (giving sellers the right to remain in the home after settlement). A buyer should never engage in a purchase without a professional, and although realtors are often very knowledgeable, they are generally the agents of the seller and not the buyer. I am available to represent you from the drafting of documents through settlement, or for any piece of a transaction about which you need advice.  In navigating your way through the morass of title insurance, mortgage financing, surveys and home inspections, you should be fully informed, know your options and be vigilant.  Contrary to the advice you may receive from realtors or ‘how to” books, there are many things that you can do even before signing a contract to determine if the home you are looking at is the right one for you.

Refinancing

The most common question when a homeowner is refinancing is whether to retain legal counsel.  Most of my clients do not want me to attend settlement on refinances, and require only that I be available to counsel them through the course of the loan approval process and then to be “on call” during settlement should a problem arise.  I typically assist my clients by arranging for title insurance and survey, and can be of help in evaluating and comparing different loan proposals.

 

Admitted to Practice Pennsylvania (1977) and New Jersey (1982)