What We Do: Real Estate

October 10, 2015
What We Do: Real Estate

The language of real estate can be very confusing, especially if you’re new to the sale or purchase of a home, commercial real estate, farm or land-development process. That’s why it’s important to become familiar with real estate law. Having a lawyer on your team who is well-versed in real estate law will help you become more educated on the real estate world. Once you understand the specifics of real estate law, you can take legal action if necessary. The three main areas of real estate law include property disputes, real estate purchases, and zoning and land use.

Property Disputes

Everyone has, or at least knows someone with, a neighbor who doesn’t understand personal space. His tree limbs hang over your yard; he mows his yard at unusual times of day; or he won’t let you build a fence between your properties. Whatever the case, property disputes are frustrating and expensive. These disputes may include:

  • Boundary lines — uncertainty over where your property ends and where your neighbor’s begins
  • Real estate damage — if your neighbor somehow destroys part of your property
  • Nuisance claims — if your neighbor’s noise or other action on his or her property disturbs you
  • Disputes involving subdivision covenants and restrictions

If you encounter these and other issues with a stubborn neighbor, it can be difficult to resolve them without a third-party mediator. A real estate attorney can define these disputes more clearly and provide legal counsel for civil suits or other actions.

Real Estate Purchases

Whether you’re buying your first home or buying or selling a rental property, you should have a real estate attorney on your side. Property transactions can be tedious, and there are usually hidden” or unknown costs involved, such as mortgage costs, title insurance, survey, inspection and closing costs. A real estate attorney can assist you with buying and selling these properties:

  • Commercial — restaurants, business offices, and stores
  • Residential — homes, condos, and apartments
  • Agricultural — farms, fields, and other land

Every real estate purchase involves a contract, depending on whether you wish to buy, sell, or rent a property. A real estate attorney can walk you through this paperwork, which must:

  • Identify the parties — full names of the buyer and seller
  • Identify the real estate (property) — the address and legal description
  • Identify the purchase price — the sales price or at least a reasonable appraisal
  • Include signatures — from both parties
  • Have a legal purpose — cannot call for any legal action
  • Involve competent parties — both are of sound mental state
  • Reflect a meeting of the minds — each party must understand and agree to all of the contract’s details
  • Include consideration — something bargained in exchange for real estate (money, other property, a promise to pay)
  • Income tax issues that should be dealt with

Zoning and Land Use

All cities, counties, and townships have zoning laws to guide land development and shape the community. Zoning uses often conflict with each other. For example, you might not be able to build a large country home in a certain area because of agricultural zoning. You’ll have to take other land use and zoning rules into consideration, such as:

  • Building height and overall size
  • Density (how close the buildings are to each other)
  • Which part of the building lot may contain structures
  • Uses for specific facilities on the property

Zoning and land use laws apply to areas such as:

  • Zoning — divides a municipality into residential, commercial, and industrial zones
  • Rezoning — assigns land or property to a different zone due to changes in long-term plans or error in the original zoning
  • Variances — when an applicant requests to deviate from regular zoning ordinances or building codes
  • Special exceptions — specific, permitted land or building use that is allowed once certain conditions are met
  • Signage — designates that on premise signs are designed, installed, and maintained in a way that promotes public safety
  • Property development — creating and adhering to a master plan for development, along with an official map
  • Subdividing — divides property into multiple residential units (subdivisions) to increase the value of land
  • Planned development — helps the developer meet overall community density and land use goals while complying with zoning law
  • Eminent domain — the right of the government to expropriate (take away) private property for public use with compensation
  • Inverse condemnation — when the government exercises eminent domain but fails to pay compensation, a 5th Amendment requirement

Ball Eggleston Can Help

Having a lawyer on your team who is well-versed in real estate law will help you become more educated on the real estate world.

As you can see, there are many elements and rules that make up real estate law. Having an experienced real estate attorney on your side can make property disputes, real estate sales or purchases, and zoning and land use less of a headache. With proper counsel, you can be assured that you will be well protected in your real estate transactions. Contact Ball Eggleston for more information or for answers to your questions about real estate law.

Ball Eggleston is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 7429046, by fax at (765) 7421966, or by email at info@​ball-​law.​com. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at ballegg.local. You can also find us on Facebook.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.