Stokes O'Brien

Real Estate Laws Cover a Wide Area

Posted in Business and Real Estate Litigation on December 15, 2019

The average person defines “real estate,” as land ownership and/or use of land. Real estate laws, sometimes referred to as “property laws,” typically cover the right to own, use, and enjoy the land and its man-made additions. Whether we are homeowners, renters, landlords, home sellers or buyers, all of us are affected by real estate laws directly or indirectly.

Real estate laws, which differ from state-to-state, cover a wide array of areas including deeds, leasing and renting, taxes, zoning, and estate planning. Such laws establish how people acquire property and what they can do with it. Real estate attorneys help litigate and address fraud for various real estate lawsuits and disputes.

Real Estate Laws and Deeds

A deed is a document giving an individual a legal right to real property and grants an ownership interest in land. Grants are a written transfer of title to real property. When it comes to deeds, state laws outline how to create, execute and record a deed. A real estate attorney should carefully explain the different types of deeds, draft a deed, and describe the property and the types of ownership being transferred. A new deed must be prepared and filed every time real estate owners change.

Zoning

Zoning laws typically specify the physical boundaries for residential, industrial, recreational or commercial activities. Zoning can place a major restriction on property usage and control what property owners can and cannot do. Since the majority of zoning takes place locally, real estate attorneys work with local government officials and zoning boards to dispute restrictions and represent the client’s interests.

Leasing & Renting

Another component of real estate is leasing because property occupants are not always the property owners. Terms of a lease are critical and real estate attorneys assist their clients draft the lease after the tenant(s) and owner(s) have negotiated and understood lease agreements.

Taxes

More often than not, real estate is subject to tax. These taxes are calculated as a percentage of a property’s assessed value, mostly on privately owned properties. Revenue from real estate taxes help pay for public schools, road maintenance, snow removal, and local government activities. In addition, police officers, fire fighters, and the local public works department are also paid via property taxes.

Estate Planning

An estate is the ownership of property measured in terms of its duration. It’s possible for different estates to coexist in the same piece of land. You are likely familiar with terms such as “living wills” and “power of attorney.” Estate planning is planning for the management and/or transfer of your estate in the event of your death or should you become incapacitated. You identify your beneficiaries and how your assets will be distributed after you are gone. Diligent planning not only helps prevent familial conflicts but also minimizes taxes. Real estate attorneys who specialize in estate planning help create a sound financial plan to avoid probate, guard assets, prevent family disputes and costly legal fees.

At Stokes O’Brien, we oversee a wide variety of real estate issues. Regardless of the complexity of your real estate matter, our attorneys are fully prepared and consistently represent our clients’ best interests. For more information or a free case evaluation, contact our office in San Diego at 619-696-0017.