What is real estate law?
Do I need a real estate lawyer when buying or selling a home?
For most transactions, the answer should be “no”. In California, the standard practice is to work with a real estate agent and broker for a sale real property. A properly trained agent or broker who prioritizes your interest should be able to guide you through any standard transaction. However, the services of a real estate lawyer are advisable when a transaction is not “normal”. For example, a real estate lawyer can help:
- Interpret or draft complicated contractual terms;
- Analyze and consult on questions regarding title, easements, CC&R’s or other recorded documents;
- Look out for your interests where there is an issue that is outside the agent or broker’s knowledge or expertise or if a dual agent is used; and,
- Avoid or minimize the risks that are frequently inherent in transactions that involve a person’s most valuable asset.
What are closing costs?
Closing costs are the fees and expenses that are incurred when a real estate transaction is completed. These costs can include:
- Title insurance
- Lender fees
- Appraisal fees
- Escrow fees
- Attorney fees
Closing costs can vary depending on the location of the property, the purchase price, and the type of loan.
What is a title search?
A title search is a process of reviewing public records to determine the ownership history of a property and to identify any encumbrances on the title.
This is an important step in the buying process, as it helps to ensure that the seller has clear title to the property and that there are no hidden liens or judgments that could affect the buyer’s ownership rights.
What is title insurance?
Title insurance protects the buyer and lender from financial losses that could result from defects in the title to the property. These defects could include:
- Forged signatures on deeds
- Undiscovered liens or judgments
- Errors in public records
Title insurance is typically purchased at closing and is usually a one-time expense.
What is a property tax?
A property tax is a tax that is levied on real property by local governments. The amount of the tax is based on the assessed value of the property.
Property taxes are used to fund local government services such as schools, roads, and police.
What is a homeowner's association (HOA)?
An HOA is an organization that is responsible for managing and maintaining a common interest community. HOAs are typically found in condominiums, townhouses, and planned unit developments.
HOAs have the authority to make and enforce rules and regulations governing the use and upkeep of the common areas of the community.
What is a lease?
A lease is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that grants the tenant the right to occupy a property for a specified period of time in exchange for rent.
Leases can be for residential or commercial properties.
What are tenant's rights?
Tenants have certain rights under the law, including the right to:
- Live in a habitable unit
- Receive reasonable notice before the landlord can enter the unit
- Receive a security deposit that is returned within a reasonable time after the tenancy ends
What are landlord's rights?
Landlords have certain rights under the law, including the right to:
- Collect rent
- Evict tenants who violate the terms of their lease
- Make reasonable changes to the property Disclaimer: This FAQ is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have specific questions about real estate law, you should consult with an attorney.