How To Choose The Best Property Lawyer For Your Real Estate Investments

How To Choose The Best Property Lawyer For Your Real Estate Investments

Real estate comprises the financing aspects of property, such as liens, mortgages, and foreclosures. Suppose you are thinking about purchasing real estate property, whether you are considering a house, a commercial building or a piece of land. In that case, you can consult with a property lawyer to protect yourself from unforeseen liabilities attached to the properties.

Whether buying or selling your real estate property, deciding which property lawyer you wish to work with is crucial.

Real estate contracts tend to be loaded with legal jargon that can be difficult for the average person to understand. However, suppose you have selected the right attorney to assist you with the real estate transaction. In that case, they can help relieve you from the stress of the deal by ensuring that your documents are in order and ready to be signed and that the deed has been drafted. All the necessary paperwork has been completed according to the law. Selecting the right property lawyer will go a long way to ensure that your house-buying or selling process is smooth.

Here Are Some Tips On Choosing The Property Lawyer For Your Real Estate Investments 

1. Choose a property lawyer

It seems obvious, but some clients make mistakes addressing a lawyer. For example, some people might choose a family friend who helped with the divorce or a property lawyer close to them. Not every property lawyer can help you in real estate. Legislation is constantly changing, and experienced property lawyers have had several cases like yours. Ask a lawyer who deals with this locality, and you will have the expected results. Learn more about Australian legislation law.

2. Experience matters

Your property lawyer should have several hundred or, better yet, thousands of transactions and several years of experience. That means the lawyer will have seen everything and can provide the proper guidance and advice during your transaction.

3. Choose an honest lawyer

Many property lawyers offer the first consultation free of charge. You can take advantage of this opportunity to cut costs. Use the meeting to determine whether the lawyer is honest and forthcoming. Intuitively, some people can choose an individual’s character within a few minutes of interacting with the person; however, a few personality traits can also tip you off. You can also ask the lawyer about your case’s chance of success or failure. If the lawyer sounds optimistic and doesn’t tell you any risks or downplays the costs associated with the case, they might not be honest. Remember, there are risks in almost every case.

4. Contact the Bar association in the region

The bar association has all the information of every licensed lawyer. They will give you a list of property lawyers in your area specializing in real estate management. Using the local bar as a resource has the added benefit of ensuring that the attorney you choose is appropriately licensed to practice law in your location. You can typically call the bar association or visit their website to find a list of attorneys.

How To Choose The Best Property Lawyer For Your Real Estate Investments

5. The property lawyers must be more capable than a real estate agent

In some transactions, it’s recommended to go to a property lawyer and not rely on the professional advice given by a real estate agent. Sometimes, real estate agent doesn’t have the necessary legal training, and their contracts are usually just standard forms. A property lawyer can issue special clauses and customize the sale-purchase contract, which a real estate agent certainly can’t. Any personal details transaction should be supported by a legal practitioner specializing in real estate transactions.

6. Examine the lawyer’s reviews

You can find numerous resources online that allow clients to provide reviews of property lawyers whom they have engaged to represent them in different types of legal matters. Reviewing other individuals’ experiences with a particular lawyer can judge whether an attorney might be the right fit for you.

7. Don’t call a lawyer too late

It often happens to call a lawyer when you have already signed a contract and found clauses you don’t like or when you have already been sued for debt recovery. Now you are looking for a property lawyer to help you. Thus, contact a lawyer before you experience problems so that they can support you with practical solutions. 

For example, if you have purchased a real estate property and found out about some unpaid taxes, but it is too late, you’re the owner and responsible for what you’ve bought. Action in court involves the court costs, lawyer’s payment, and other costs. If you have hired a property lawyer from the beginning, you won’t have this problem anymore. Hiring a lawyer can be costly, but in this way, you will save many later expenses.

8. Ask for fee estimates

Hiring a property lawyer does not always have to burn a hole in your pockets. Note that a competent lawyer will not hesitate to quote an estimate by considering your case’s complexity and other factors. However, no qualified lawyer will promise ‘too good to be true’ fee quotations. Therefore, it’s best to consult your case briefly with a few best lawyers in town to help you snag the best deal. 

9. Look for references

One of the most practical ways to find a competent property lawyer is to ask for recommendations. You can invite friends, family, or colleagues who have gone through a similar situation to help you.

That will allow you to gain an in-depth understanding of how to proceed with your lawsuit. Furthermore, suppose you know an attorney from a different field of law. In that case, you can also consider asking them for references and recommendations. 

Final Thoughts 

While indulging in a lawsuit, the urge to ask your property lawyer about the probability of winning the case is quite reasonable. However, it is vital to remember that no qualified property lawyer can guarantee you a win, especially when the case hasn’t yet unfolded in the courts. It takes thorough investigations, research, evidence, and convincing arguments to increase the odds of winning. Hence, always select a property lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases and is willing to guide you throughout the process.

Less-Know Differences Between Property Lawyers And Real Estate Agents

Less-Know Differences Between Property Lawyers And Real Estate Agents

People pursue many careers in the real estate industry, including real estate agents, realtors, property lawyers and leasing agents. Though many of these are similar, they have fundamental differences, like property lawyers’ and realtors’ responsibilities and functions. Learning about these two roles can help you determine whether pursuing a career in one of them is right for you.

This article discusses what property law and realtors are, how their careers are different, and the primary responsibilities within each role.

Who Is a Property Lawyer?

A property lawyer is an experienced legal professional who assists home buyers and sellers complete the property transaction. They handle the legal aspect of property transfer. Unlike real estate professionals such as agents and brokers, property lawyers know the legal requirements of property transactions. In some jurisdictions, it’s a legal requirement that property deals can only proceed with property lawyers’ input. Click here for ten golden rules every property lawyer need to know.

Who Is a Real Estate Agent?

Realtors are professionals in the real estate industry who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To become a member of the NAR, a real estate agent must subscribe by paying a membership fee, paying annual fees and complying with the Association’s code of ethics. Realtors are either real estate brokers or agents as long as they are members of NAR.

Property Lawyers vs Real Estate Agents

Here are the critical differences between property lawyers and realtors:

Responsibilities 

There can be some overlap between the responsibilities of each of these roles, but they also have unique duties. Learn more about housing and property in Australia.

Typical responsibilities for a property lawyer include

  • Advising clients on relevant real estate laws and ethics 
  • Drafting purchasing agreements, title documents and mortgage contracts 
  • Assisting home buyers and sellers close the deal 
  • Arbitrating contractual disagreements arising from the transfer of property
  • Representing clients in courts on real estate matters
  • Assisting landlords with rental and commercial tenants in disputes with landlords
  • Assisting clients in dealing with foreclosures, bankruptcies and short sales 

Typical Responsibilities of a real estate agent 

  • joining and annually renewing membership to the National Realtors Association and paying all the requisite membership fees
  • observing the code of ethics outlined in the association bylaws
  • Preparing homes for viewing by prospective buyers
  • Seeking to expand client base with new property buyers or sellers
  • Network with other realtors to facilitate the faster sale of homes
  • Taking prospective home buyers to properties listed for sale
  • Advising home sellers on the most appropriate price for their homes
  • Guiding home sellers in making their properties appealing to buyers
  • Hosting open houses for home sellers
  • Promoting property on social media and other real estate platforms
  • Overseeing deal closure between the seller and the buyer
  • Training newly recruited agents to enhance their sales skills
  • Assessing mortgage financing options to assist clients in making the best home-buying decision

Education 

Realtor positions usually require a minimum of a high school diploma. They must also complete real estate education courses in management, sales and marketing, closing, taxes and financing. Aspiring realtors must also meet several instruction hours to learn the details of real estate business, home pricing, listing and relevant real estate laws.

Property lawyers typically have a minimum of a law degree. The degree takes three years, during which students take tests on comprehension and analytical skills and must be from a recognized college or university. In the last year of their studies, students can take specialized courses such as commercial, criminal, or property law. You can get more about courses in property law by cliking here.

Training 

Realtors do much of their learning on the job. Some realtors may join real estate firms as agents and become realtors upon gaining experience and earning relevant certifications. Inexperienced and licensed realtors may obtain training through real estate agencies that provide formal training. The exercise allows new realtors to learn how the real estate industry works through mentorship from a more experienced professional.

Ost of the training for property lawyers involves the experience of a law firm specializing in real estate. Aspiring property lawyers work under the supervision of more experienced lawyers. They typically perform law-related tasks such as drafting tenancy agreements, explaining the law to clients and accompanying lawyers to mediation and court sessions. The exposure allows young property lawyers to improve soft skills such as negotiation, persuasion, communication and critical-thinking skills.

Certifications 

 work as a realtor, candidates pass an exam and obtain a practising license. The primary requirements to qualify for a permit include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete real estate courses
  • Pass the license exam
  • Enrol as a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Realtors might also pursue additional certifications to enhance their skills in their work. These include: 

  • Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) certificate
  • Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR)
  • Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

A property lawyer needs a license to practice. The licensure requirements vary from state to state, but passing a bar exam is a common prerequisite. Law practice is broad, and property lawyers typically specialize in property or real estate law. Nevertheless, some real estate law firms have lawyers specializing in all the fields under the same firm.

Work Environment 

Realtors spend their time in offices and out in the field. In the office, realtors draft contracts and meet clients, primarily buyers and sellers of homes. Out of the office, realtors’ work entails travelling with clients showing them houses on sale or assessing houses’ condition. A typical working week of a realtor extends past 40 hours. They may also be required to work over the weekends or late in the evening to suit the client’s schedule. Realtors may be self-employed or hired by real estate agencies.

Property lawyers’ work is mainly in the office. They may also be required to attend court sessions and meet clients in their homes. In the office, property lawyers’ work entails drafting contractual agreements, advising their clients, closing real estate transactions and overseeing agreements between the parties in the deal. Court attendance requires property lawyers to be in professional attire. A typical working week of a property lawyer may extend over 40 hours. They may work late into the evening and sometimes over the weekend to research legal jurisprudence and fit into the client’s schedule.

Final Thoughts 

Both property lawyers and real estate agents play an essential role in property buying, selling or management. Hiring a real estate agent is ideal if you want to purchase a residential or commercial property. However, suppose you need legal advice or need to solve more critical issues. In that case, you can consult a seasoned property lawyer for a quick solution.

Ten Golden Rules Every Property Lawyer Need To Know

Ten Golden Rules Every Property Lawyer Need To Know

Property lawyers and clients resolve disputes, usually with a release and an exchange of money. Money changes hands anytime; there are tax issues for both sides coming up in surprising ways. Perhaps your car was stopped at a red light, your contractor did careless work on your condo, you were fired, or someone hurt you. As a result, you are collecting a judgment or settlement payment.

The first question in those situations is whether the judgment or settlement payment is taxable income, and the answer is always “yes.” For more clarity, here are ten rules every property lawyer and client should know about taxation of settlements. You can get more valuable information about property law on https://chamberlains.com.au/property-law

1. Judgments settlements Are Taxed the Same

The same tax law applies whether you are paid to settle a case or win a judgment. Despite this similarity, you will almost always have more flexibility to reduce taxes if a case settles rather than goes to a conclusion. You must show what the issue was about and what you sought in your claims if you are audited. Consider the settlement agreement, the complaint, and how payments were made to resolve the case. You can influence how recovery is taxed by dealing with those issues. Learn more about property taxes in Australia.

2. Taxes is determined by the origin of the claim.

Judgments and Settlements are taxed according to the matter for which the plaintiff sought recovery (the origin of the claim). If a property lawyer uses a business for lost profits, a settlement or judgment will be considered lost profits taxed as ordinary income. Suppose you are laid off from work and sue for discrimination seeking wages and severance. In that case, you will be taxed on your settlement or judgment as having received wages.

Your former employer will withhold employment and income taxes on all settlements if you have not worked there for several years. On the contrary, if you sue for damage to your condo by a negligent building contractor, injuries usually won’t be considered revenue. Instead, the recovery can be treated as reducing the condo’s cost. That favorable rule means you might not pay tax on the money you collect. However, these rules contain exceptions and nuances, so be careful. 

Related: Why You Need a Property Lawyer in Your Real Estate Investment

3. Recoveries for Physical Injuries and Sickness Are Tax-Free

That fundamental rule causes almost unending confusion among property lawyers and their clients. Suppose you sue for personal physical injuries resulting from, for example. In that case, your compensatory damages should be tax-free, such as a slip and fall or a car accident. That may seem odd because you seek lost wages if you cannot work after your injuries. However, a specific section of the tax code shields damages for personal physical injuries and physical sickness.

4. Signs of Emotional Distress Are Not “Physical.”

Tax law distinguishes between the money you receive for physical symptoms of emotional distress (like headaches and stomachaches) and physical injuries or sickness. Here again, these lines are not clear. For example, in settling the dispute, suppose that you collect an extra $60,000 because your staff gave you an ulcer. Is that ulcer considered “physical”, or is it merely a symptom of your emotional distress? As a property lawyer, you need to be able to tell the difference.

5. Medical Expenses Are Tax-Free

I have heard about cases where property lawyers claim to attach a tax to their medical expenses. That’s out of the radar! Even if the injuries are purely emotional, payments for medical expenses are tax-free, and what constitutes “medical expenses” is surprisingly liberal. For example, amounts to a psychiatrist or counsellor qualify as payments to a chiropractor or physical therapist. Many nontraditional treatments count as well.

However, suppose you have previously deducted the medical expenses and are reimbursed when your suit settles in a subsequent year. In that case, you may pay taxes on them. Suppose you deducted an amount in a previous year, and that deduction produced no tax benefit to you. In that case, you can exclude the recovery of that amount in a later year from your gross income.

6. Allocating Damages Can Save Taxes

Most legal disputes about properties involve multiple issues. Still, even if your dispute relates to one course of conduct, there is a good chance the total settlement amount will affect various categories of damages. The plaintiff and defendant should agree on what is paid and its tax treatment. Such agreements are not binding on the courts in later tax disputes but are rarely ignored. Then, a property lawyer must spell this fact out to clients when damage issues arise. 

7. Look for Capital Gain 

Outside the suits for physical injuries or sickness, just about everything is income; however, that does not answer any question on how it will be taxed. Suppose your suit is about damage to a residential or commercial building. In that case, the resulting settlement may be treated as a capital gain. Long-term capital gains are taxed at a lower rate (15 per cent or 20 per cent, plus the 3.8% Obamacare tax, not 39.6 per cent). It is, therefore, much better than ordinary income.

Aside from the tax-rate preference, tax basis may also be relevant. That generally is your original purchase price, increased by any improvements you have made and decreased by depreciation, if any. In some cases, the settlement of a property lawyer may be treated as a recovery of basis, not income.

8. Property Lawyers’ Fees Can Be a Trap

Legal fees will impact net recovery and clients’ taxes if a property lawyer charges hourly or on a contingent-fee basis. If plaintiffs use a contingent-fee property lawyer, they usually will be treated (for tax purposes) as receiving 100 per cent of the money recovered by the client and the lawyer. That is so even if the defendant pays a  property lawyer the contingent fee directly.

9. Punitive Interest and Damages Are Always Taxable

Punitive damages and interest are taxable, even if injuries are 100 per cent physical. Suppose one is injured in a car crash and receives $40,000 in compensatory and $10 million in punitive damages. The $40,000 is tax-free, but the $10 million is fully taxable.

10. It Pays to Consider the Defense

Clients generally are much more worried about tax planning than defendants. Nevertheless, consider the client’s perspective as well. A defendant paying a judgment will want to deduct it. If the defendant engages in a business, doing so rarely will be questioned, given that litigation is a cost of doing business. Even punitive damages are tax-deductible by companies.

In Conclusion

Every property lawyer needs to have a complete understanding of the provision of the law in every situation. That is one of the best ways to do your job like a pro. This article is majorly written to get new property lawyers familiar with the demands of the new field they have chosen. Although you might have learned a lot in college, the above rules will help you make informed decisions in difficult situations.

Why You Need a Property Lawyer in Your Real Estate Investment

Why You Need a Property Lawyer in Your Real Estate Investment

Many do-it-yourself-oriented homebuyers often ask why they need property lawyers in their business. Of course, it is not compulsory. But necessary is an understatement.

Can’t real estate agents see buyers through? Well, they can in most states. But that doesn’t mean that they should. Although using a property lawyer can cost thousands of dollars, it is often money well spent. Read on to find out how a property lawyer will help you close the deal and avoid the pitfalls.

Top Reasons You Need a Property Lawyer

1. Contracts

Most individuals have the intuition to negotiate face-to-face during real estate investment practices with another party. However, the terminologies of the deal must be appropriately recorded in a contract for them to be legally binding. Property lawyers can negotiate on your behalf and ensure that the contract adheres to the region’s laws. Furthermore, they can address a particular issue that might affect the property’s use in years to come. Click here for Investing in Australia’s property market.

In some regions, the buyer and the seller have  3-4 days to review a contract before it becomes legally recognized. Surprisingly, some buyers and sellers are not aware of this fact. A property lawyer will inform the client of it, review the agreement for legal glitches, make necessary changes, and insert applicable contingencies.

2. Title Searches

Another essential service that property lawyers perform is called a ‘title search. The title search aims to ensure that the properties are free of encumbrances, such as judgments. The title search is necessary because it helps buyers to discover if the seller has the legal right to sell the real estate property or not. Although anyone can do the title search, a property lawyer will be able to do it better and faster. If they don’t do everything themselves, they will often have relationships with title search organizations specializing in the service. Visit https://business.gov.au/planning/new-businesses/legal-essentials-for-business for more essential services that property lawyers perform.

If the search shows something problematic, your lawyer can counsel you on how to proceed. However, you need a lawyer if the title search shows that the sellers must pay a lien or any outstanding court judgment before buyers can claim the property. A property lawyer might negotiate a price reduction on the property to compensate you for the delay. The property lawyer may also provide the seller with suggestions or financing sources to satisfy claims.

3. Property Transfers

When two or more parties form corporations, partnerships, or trusts, the contract preparation and the negotiations are complicated. A property lawyer understands these arrangements and their legal boundaries within your region. The property lawyer will ensure that the agreement is consistent with the laws and ethics of the partnership’s or corporation’s charter agreements. Learn more about property transfers duties.

4. Filings

Real estate deeds often must be filed at the state and county levels. A property lawyer will be able to do this efficiently. In some cases, real estate transactions might involve a property where specific types of construction are prohibited and not allowed. If that occurs, an attorney will be able to navigate the maze of state regulations so that you can complete the transaction.

Securing an attorney is even more critical if the transaction revolves around the commercial property. The lawyer will be able to penetrate the government’s red tape to establish your sole proprietorship or corporation as a valid business entity for tax purposes. A property lawyer can also secure your actual business license through the municipality.

Failing to file the proper documents at the county level may result in severe consequences, such as:

  • If a deed isn’t transferred correctly, it could lead to income or real estate taxes for buyers and sellers.
  • Suppose it is a commercial transaction, and the business is not correctly registered at the state level. In that case, the company might be forced to close.

Do Sellers Need property Lawyers Too?

In most states, having an attorney represent your interests isn’t a legal requirement if you’re selling a property. However, not having one can increase your chances of being sued by the competing party for failure to disclose some information. That is because a lawyer must review the property inspection and disclose every relevant fact about the home to the other party.

Suppose the other party is a partnership, and the transaction is not completed correctly. In that case, they might sue you for failing to disclose certain defects, not clearing the title to the property, violating a corporate charter, or anything else. While having a property lawyer will not insulate you entirely from such litigation, obtaining legal counsel will undoubtedly reduce your risk. A property lawyer will be much more likely to secure a clear title and make the appropriate disclosures.

Dealing With Discrimination

Property Lawyers can certainly help if you face discrimination during the home-buying process. Even though most property lawyers don’t specialize in that area, they will know a legal practitioner who does. However, don’t let anyone confuse you that you need lots of money or a high-profile legal team to respond to discrimination.

Do I Need a Property Lawyer to Buy a House?

Buying a house is not as cheap as giving out your credit card and being a homeowner. Homebuying is a complicated legal transaction subject to state and local rules and regulations. An experienced property lawyer will guide you through the step-by-step process of closing your home. You could do all the complex paperwork, but it will be highly time-consuming. If you don’t file permits and financial documents properly, it could cost you the sale.

What Does a Property Lawyer Do?

When you hire a property lawyer, their job is to make sure the process of legally transferring the property occurs from the seller to the homebuyer. Depending on the deal, their tasks may vary, but they must adhere to all laws. Typically they prepare and review all documents, oversee the transfer of clients’ funds and keep them in an escrow account; a property lawyer often negotiates with the seller/buyer’s lawyer instead of the seller or buyer speaking to one another during what can be an emotional procedure.

How Much Does a Property Lawyer Charge?

How much a property lawyer will charge you depends on the job and the legal practitioner. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate, which may vary depending on where you live and the attorney. Some attorneys may charge you for each service they provide, like a home closing or double-checking a title search.1

 

In Conclusion

Property lawyers make good business sense because of the complexities of real estate transactions. Experienced property lawyers s can help to protect your interests in every real estate transaction. They ensure that your transactions comply with your locality and municipality’s applicable rules and regulations. That way, the closing process will work to the satisfaction of all parties involved.