27. Real Estate

There are two major areas of Real Estate: Commercial and Residential. Commercial Real Estate refers to sites and buildings where businesses can operate. Residential property refers to houses and apartments where people live.

Real Estate Law not only covers buying and selling land or “property”, but also involves a variety of issues related to the “improvements” meaning “buildings” on that property, in addition to contracts, title, and other disputes. In recent years, foreclosure, mortgage issues, title fraud, and eminent domain have risen to the forefront of Real Estate Law, especially in Residential Property.

Misunderstandings, mistakes, and outright fraud are bound to occur in a certain percentage of real estate transactions. Having an experienced Real Estate agent who works exclusively in the area where the property in question is located often avoids many problems, but some issues are beyond the scope of an agent’s duty to the buyer or seller. These areas will require a lawyer’s guidance and legal skills.
Before calling a lawyer who specializes in Real Estate law, it is a good idea to know in advance who is “on title” for the property in question. This means, “Who legally owns the property as of the last time it was recorded?” It can be a person, several people (including people who are deceased), a company, or a trust.