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power of attorney

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is an authority to authorize or perform on behalf of another. A power of attorney can be general or specific. General powers of attorneys allow the principals to conduct certain personal acts and dealings as the agent or attorney-in-fact. Such authority may be exercisable by anyone. Others require specific performance to be lawful.


The power of attorneys is most often used in the business and financial affairs fields. General powers of attorney give the agent permission to manage or transact business as though the principal was there. The person delegating the authority to another is usually the principal, donor, or grantor. Some jurisdictions require that any person wishing to create such a trust must first appoint an attorney in fact. In this way, the person can assure the faithful performance of duties even if they are not personally present in the offices.


Some jurisdictions also limit the authority of the agents to be agents for the particular transaction at hand. In most instances, however, the powers are broad and include all transactions, negotiations, and discussions of financial affairs. This includes powers not merely to manage money but also to participate in contracts, carry out research, and set up foundations, corporations, and charities. A power of attorney that limits the agent’s powers typically does so on the basis that the person using the document lacks the mental capacity to exercise management of those powers.


Whenever you sign a power of attorney, it is normally done so by assigning someone the legal authority to act on your behalf. The individual who signs the document must understand the principal’s role will be able to designate the right person or individuals to make decisions on your behalf. It is important that the individual exercising the power of attorney has the same level of understanding as to the principal. The principal is always the individual who has the greatest level of confidence and trust in the ability to make decisions. Therefore, it is important to protect that trust by making the attorney-in-fact responsible for all decisions made in reliance on that understanding.


As an example, let’s say that you want your son or daughter to develop a business. You would want the individual you have designated to make decisions on their behalf to be trustworthy. If they are not, your interests will be violated. Therefore, a Power of Attorney must be established that establishes a relationship between the principal and the individual being appointed as a representative of the principal.


In general, terms, when you sign a Power of Attorney, you agree that your Principal will have (and should have) certain powers and duties on your behalf and these powers must be exercised on your behalf. The Power of Attorney should not be confused with a Durable Power of Attorney, which is just as it sounds. Durable powers of attorneys last only until the time your principal dies, so you would not need to change agents if you wanted to retain the services of the agent you select.


Do I Need A Real Estate Attorney?

When you buy a house, apartment, or commercial property what is the first thing you think of? If you are like most people the answer will be “yes” but you should really ask yourself “Do I Need A Real Estate Attorney?” The answers to these questions can and will vary from person to person.


You may not know that in some states there are no agents or lawyers required to purchase or sell real estate. This does not mean you can sign any blank pieces of paper without an attorney present. In fact, there are many examples of when this is very important. For example, when buying a house in Mississippi you must have a real estate agent licensed by the state. Without a real estate agent, you could spend months trying to get through all the red tape and get your dream house sold. Not to mention that if you happen to have any legal troubles down the road, your attorney will be able to help you deal with them.


There are other reasons for having a real estate attorney to help you. For example, many people who buy real estate don’t fully understand all of the laws that apply. Even if you have all of the facts, a good real estate attorney will make sure that everything is legally defined and that you know where you stand. If you don’t do this there is a chance that you could be sued for breach of contract, fraud, or other such charges. This could ruin your life, even though most states have no-fault divorce laws. Without a lawyer, you could be sued without even knowing it.


Are you purchasing real estate because you need it or are you doing it just because it’s an opportunity to make money? No matter what your motivation, you need a lawyer to help you with everything. Some people purchase property for purely selfish reasons. They may see an opportunity for making a lot of money. They may not think that they really need a lawyer.


However, if you are doing it for purely altruistic reasons and if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you could be in big trouble. Even if you purchase a home for your own personal use, you still need a lawyer. You need to make sure that you know what your obligations are. Without a clear understanding of what you are agreeing to do, you could find yourself in big trouble if things go south.


Again, no one is perfect. People make mistakes. When you make a mistake, it’s important to make sure that you fix it as soon as possible. If you are thinking about purchasing property or if you are looking for a real estate attorney, you should do your homework today and find someone who knows what they’re doing.

real estate attorney

What to Ask a Potential Real Estate Lawyer

If you’re looking for someone to help you out with your real-estate dealings, then you need to know what to ask a potential real estate lawyer. Lawyers are experts when it comes to real estate because they have attended and studied for years. Therefore, it is only natural that they would know the ins and outs of the business. You should expect them to be knowledgeable in all aspects of selling or buying a property, even if they are just starting out. Below are some of the things you should ask a potential lawyer when dealing with this kind of matter.


– What are the fees associated with my legal problem? Before you engage the services of any lawyer, you need to first find out the costs. The lawyer you are asking for will most likely offer you an upfront fee, but this does not mean that all costs can be covered. Check the agreement carefully so that you will know what to ask a potential real estate lawyer concerning the fees. In case there are additional fees beyond the initial one, you need to get this point across to your lawyer. This will also help you evaluate if the lawyer is really capable of handling your problem or not.


– What type of cases does he handle? Before you hire any lawyer, this question should be answered. There are different types of real estate lawyers. For instance, there are those who deal with cases involving buyers and sellers, commercial properties and those who specialize in foreclosure. Be sure to ask about their specialization so you will not waste your time finding one who does not have the appropriate expertise in the matter.


– What is the schedule for the consultation? When you seek the services of a real estate lawyer, you should also ask what their regular schedule is like. There are some who offer their services on a monthly basis while there are some who offer their services only during the course of a particular time. Know the time frame because this will give you an idea of how quickly you can expect to receive updates on your case.


– What is his fee? Ask this question first, because this will give you an idea about how much your lawyer charges. Bear in mind that most lawyers do not charge high fees. But there are some who do charge exorbitant fees so it pays to shop around first. Compare the fees of several lawyers and pick the one who can provide you with the best service.


These are some of the questions that you need to ask when you are considering hiring a lawyer. You can ask your friends and relatives for referrals if they have used a certain real estate lawyer before. This will give you an idea of how to go about your search for a good lawyer. The Internet is also a great source of information. You can use the Internet to search for different kinds of information on what to ask a potential real estate lawyer.


3 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Attorney When Buying a Home

As you purchase a home, you need to ensure that the transaction has progressed smoothly. With such a significant investment, you should not risk anything. Thus, you should procure the services of a real estate attorney. The litigator is supposed to safeguard your interests as they protect you as the client. They are your support system as you initiate such transactions.

Below are the reasons why you are supposed to hire a real estate litigator as you acquire a home:

1. Experience

Is it your first time purchasing real estate property? If yes, you should hire an attorney since they have enough experience when handling such transactions. They have enough knowledge about state and local laws. If you are faced with issues such as zoning disputes, an experienced litigator will come in handy. They will offer the support that you need as they also mitigate the risks.

2. Savings

The cost of hiring an attorney is significant; however, it cannot be compared to the loss you will make if the financial transaction does not progress as you had expected. The real estate litigator will ensure that your investment is safe. They will review all the legal documents, ask the right questions, and handle all the negotiations. When handling a real estate transaction, the knowledge a real estate investor possesses is priceless.

3. Clarity

The litigator will peruse all the legal documents. After reading through the contract, they can assist with the negotiations as they ensure enough transparency. If you are not conversant with some of the terms, the attorney can help to clarify everything. Your requirements should be appropriately communicated and documented every step of the way.

Additional reasons why you need to hire a real estate litigator include:

1. Protection

The litigator is working for you, and they should focus on your needs. They should also negotiate everything on your behalf as a client. The attorney is supposed to offer enough support as they hold your hand every step of the way if the real estate transaction is complicated. They should also protect and safeguard you from an issue you may fail to predict. With the right lawyer, you will have peace of mind since your investment is protected.

2. Closing

There are states whereby you need to hire a real estate litigator as you close a deal. Regardless of the requirements in the state, you gain significantly from the legal support offered when you are acquiring real estate property. The closing process comprises a mortgage, the title deed, final inspection, and title insurance. You should hire a litigator to review everything as they also ensure that all the necessary documents are present when closing the deal.

Final Thoughts

The most important reason you should hire a real estate attorney is to safeguard the entire transaction. Such professionals usually work with your best interests in mind. Although the fee charged by a real estate litigator is significant, you should keep in mind they are helping to safeguard a significant investment.

short sale

Is a Short Sale the Right Choice for You?  

In times of financial distress, one can agree with a lender to take up a mortgage payoff less than the amount owed so the owner can trigger a quick property sale. In short, because of the difficulties at hand, the lender assumes the remaining loan balance and forgives the property owner. A short sale situation differs from a foreclosure auction or even one that is owned by a financial institution like a bank.

A short sale is activated when the lender assesses the situation and realizes that there is a significant depreciation of the home, and the remaining debt exceeds the worth of the home. The homeowner has no option other than discarding the property of negative equity. A short sale has no similarities with a foreclosure, because, in the latter, the lender repossesses the depreciating property, and sells it to recover the costs.

Who Relishes a Short Sale?

A short sale can have implications on all the parties involved; the seller, the lender, and the buyer. For a seller, the credit score can be damaged but not with an equal magnitude as in the foreclosure situation. The seller will also be homeless, and more so without money. Since foreclosure is more harmful to the seller’s credit rating, short sales help to forestall the impact, because there is a chance to convince the lender to forward the cleared loan details to the credit bureaus.

The buyer acquires the property at a discounted price; however, it has several issues because it might demand some reconstruction, redesign, or redecoration. The lender can demand more closing costs from the buyer to be transferred to the mortgage holder. The financial loss a lender experiences might be tangible, but not as much as how it would have been if a foreclosure was activated. In a short sale deal, everyone should agree to get less or even no money in the end. Short sale deals are therefore complicated, long-lasting, and even at times, they fall through.

Should one Sell a Property via a Short Sale?

The decision of whether to take this route depends on the individual situation that needs to be assessed independently in the quest for the best solution. If one cannot afford the mortgage, and the property is rapidly depreciating, then a short sale is the ultimate choice, and by so doing, the creditworthiness will be preserved.

Procedure for Purchasing a Property via a Short Sale

An agreement with the lender must be reached so he or she can know that the full payment will not be made.

The seller should confirm that no other alternative is available because of the financial hardship at hand because the lender is not willing to experience a foreclosure.
The property value must match that in the market, and not during the faltering market moments.
Timely disclosure of short sales to facilitate easy negotiations between the lender and the potential buyers.

The short sale buyers must do a thorough property inspection, assess the insurance and legal details, and allocate enough time for closing.


When Should I Hire A Real Estate Attorney?

Hiring a real estate attorney can be especially helpful when you start in the real estate business. A real estate attorney is equipped with the skills and experience to help you decide during a real estate agreement. Some real estate laws may be complex and sometimes become hard to interpret.

In such scenarios, you can use the help of a real estate attorney. They are also important in smoothening any transactions ensuring that deals are done following the law. Many states have different laws revolving around the field of real estate, and an attorney can help you adhere to the law. Here are a few key points that will help determine when you will need to hire a real estate attorney.

When the State Requires you to
Several states across the country require the presence of an attorney before any deal is signed. Therefore, it is important to hire a real estate attorney so that any deal done can be in accordance with the law. Some of the states requiring a real estate attorney’s presence include New Jersey, Vermont, Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, New York, to mention but a few.

Ambiguous Real Estate Deals
Some real estate deals may pose a challenge in interpretation. The deal may have complex terms, and to avoid any misguidance, a real estate attorney can come in handy. Hiring a real estate attorney will help in the interpretation of such deals, smoothening the process. Some properties may be subject to some other company rights or need adherence to several laws.

An example is a property at the beach or zoning rights. To avoid future complications, hiring a real estate attorney will help avert such challenges ensuring you acquire or sell your property well within and in accordance with the law.

Risky Transactions
Some real estate transactions may be risky, such as a commercial real estate deal. Acquisition of such property may require a highly experienced real estate attorney to properly guide you through the acquisition process. Real estate attorneys have gone through several scenarios and are well poised to explain the matter in full and help you avoid mistakes that may cost you a lot of money. They can give important details on structure requirements, rents, environmental protection, and so on. It is advisable to get a real estate attorney in such a scenario.

When litigation issues arise, having a real estate agent will be very important so as to help you successfully navigate through the issue. In addition, some unforeseen circumstances such as the coronavirus pandemic necessitate the need for a real estate attorney.

The pandemic has brought about many changes in the real estate industry as well as other industries. In order to adhere to the law when handling properties during the pandemic, a real estate agent can help in such matters to ensure you are on the safe side. The pandemic has brought about many laws that need to be followed to the later in order to curb the spread of the virus.

See Wylie and Washburn for your real estate legal needs.

help with a HELOC

Do You Need An Appraisal For A Heloc?

HELOCs and Appraisal Requirements

What exactly does HELOC mean? HELOC is short for “Home Equity Line of Credit.” It describes a loan category that exists right now. If you get your hands on this sort of loan, then the specific lender says yes to giving you the highest sum in the span of a designated stretch of time. The collateral is the individual’s house equity.

Are you trying to get a HELOC? If you are, then you should make sure first that you know about any and all of its requirements for preparation purposes. Some people wonder whether HELOCs call for appraisals.

Are Appraisals Required for HELOC Candidates, Anyway?

The reality is that people can often secure home equity loans with ease. They don’t necessarily have to get official appraisals, either. Lenders can pick between all sorts of avenues that can help them come to conclusions with regard to property market values. They don’t always have to take the standard appraisal route at all, either. What exactly can lenders do? They can rely on public records. They can test out data assessments. If they want, they can assess residential properties visually by going by them in their vehicles.

There is an abundance of home equity lenders in this day and age that do not demand complete property appraisals. They have the option to depend on different property value evaluation techniques. They may opt to check out records that tackle county assessment matters.

They may utilize AVMs or automated valuation models. These things can do so much for lenders who have to make guesses that relate to suitable home price tags. If you’re interested in perhaps decreasing your closing expenses as a means of securing a home equity loan, you should learn as much about all of these options as possible.

It can help you greatly to be in the loop with regard to all sorts of situations that do not call for extensive home value appraisals. Is your lender able to get his or her hands on a new appraisal summary from the last six months or so? Do you need a loan-to-value ratio that’s remarkably minimal?

Think about the possibility of going forward with a different alternative valuation system as well. If you take the tax-equalized value route, you may be able to forget all about extensive appraisals. If you take the previously mentioned AVM one, ditto.

Appraisals that fall under the limited category sometimes are necessary for people who are trying to get home equity loans. People sometimes call these “drive-by appraisals.” If you have to get this kind of appraisal, then your appraiser will exclusively assess the outside parts of your residential property. He or she will solely assess the parts of your community that are nearby as well. This understandably is a markedly less complex and sophisticated process for everyone. Appraisals come up with reports after they perform limited appraisals, too. Limited appraisals are often economical.

If you have questions talk to the experts at Wylie And Washburn.

title insurance

Do I Need Title Insurance As A Home Buyer

Buying a home is one of the largest steps that you will do as an adult. The process can be overwhelming at times and you will hear terms and have discussions about things that will be completely new to you. One such discussion that will most likely occur will be about title insurance and whether purchasing such insurance would be something that you should do.

Title insurance is something that most individuals have never heard of until they enter the final stages of the homebuying process. To put it simply, title insurance is insurance that can give you peace of mind during the purchasing of your new home.

When you are in the process of purchasing a home, normally a deep search is conducted to ensure that the title of the home is free and clear. Free from any liens, tax debt, and unpaid debt by the previous homeowners.

While such searches are thorough, the fact remains that sometimes important information is missed and this missing information could cause major issues during the final purchasing process or even months and years later.

There are two types of title insurance that you may hear about. The first is a lender’s title policy. This policy is almost always a requirement that your mortgage company will have in place. Such a policy protects the lender from any mishaps that are associated with the purchasing deal.

The second type of title insurance is the owner’s title policy. This policy protects you the home buyer. While the first policy may be a mandatory policy, to ensure that your best interests are protected, you will want to purchase both types of policies.

While the chances are minuscule that you will have to utilize title insurance after it is purchased, it is still a plan of protection that could potentially protect you from expensive court litigation should unforeseen problems with the property that you are purchasing arise.

This insurance provides protection for events that most people never anticipate to occur, but the fact is that they do occur and when they do, they are expensive events that may cause you to dream of homeownership to vanish forever if you have to dig into your own pocket for the money to deal with such hassles.

Take the steps necessary to protect yourself every step of the way on the home buying process and purchase both a lender’s title policy, as well as an owner’s title policy. The costs of such policies are not overly expensive, but the peace of mind that it gives you as a potential home buyer is priceless.

Talk to us at Wylie and Washburn for all your real estate questions.

closing attorney

How to Choose a Closing Attorney

There are many real estate attorneys out there. It is good to hire the best lawyers. It is easy to get confused when trying to compare the several lawyers available out there. Many of them will try to convince you that they are the best. It is essential to compare the several lawyers out there then decide on the best. The best closing attorney will advise you on the best steps to follow so that you can realize the best out of your real estate investment. There are a few steps to take so that you can locate the right real estate attorney.

How to Choose a Closing Attorney


1. Get a recommendation from experts

Many experts are involved in the real estate business. You will work with real estate agents and other professionals. You can work with other experts to get the right recommendation you can follow to locate the right lawyer. Locating the best lawyer will be a great way to enjoy the best investment. There are many issues you can avoid when working with attorneys.

2. Choose a lawyer who specializes in real estate

Some lawyers specialize in real estate matters. Hiring lawyers who specialize in the real estate field will offer the best services. Ask the experts whether they specialize in real estate before hiring them. They will offer the best legal advice you need to enjoy the best experience. Some firms specialize in real estate, they are the best to hire, and they will assure you the best legal representation.

3. Check out the experience

Hiring highly experienced lawyers is the best way to ensure you enjoy the best legal representation. Lawyers who have been carrying out the real estate transactions will easily point out issues necessary to note down during t eh agreement. They are also in the best position to warn you in case you are about to buy a property that will expose you to challenges later.

4. Examine reviews

Many people have bought homes before you. You can check out the reviews that other people offer about the services they got. Experts who have good reviews will offer you the best services. Ensure you get to check out issues that past clients offer. Some lawyers are known to offer high-quality legal services. Hire the best lawyers, and they will guarantee you the best services.

5. Compare the lawyers

You will know whether you will hire the best lawyers if you can get quotes from several firms and compare the details. Schedule an interview and get to talk with several lawyers. Lawyers who have a lot of experience in the field will guarantee the best legal services.

6. Search for local real estate lawyers

You will be better off if you can hire lawyers who operate in a given area. They know the state laws that govern the sale and buying of property in a given area. Check out fees offered in a given location before you can hire the lawyers.

What Is A Short Sale?

A short sale(in terms of real estate), is when the sale of the property falls short of the overall debt. Say, for example, you sell a property for about $50,0000. However, the debt for the overall property(such as liens, etc)is about $100,000.

Now the lender can either agree to the $50,000 or not. Say, for example, that the lender does agree to the terms. A short sale has then occurred. The seller will not make any money from the sale. The reason is that the $50,000 goes to paying off the debt.

Is This A Good Thing For The Seller Or Not?

According to many real estate experts, it can be either(or) for the seller, lender, and buyer. It all depends on the situation. On the one hand, the seller can be damaged by this through their credit score. However, this is the lesser of two evils(for the seller) when you compare it to foreclosure.

The reason is that the proceeds are going to be less than what the seller needs to pay off their debt. However, the lender did agree to the $50,000.

What about the buyer?

This is probably going to be a good thing for the buyer. He or she is paying out less than what was initially required. The one downside is that you may have to wait a little while before you can move in.

Can you negotiate the price even lower in a short sale?

You can, but it will take more time. Plus, the lender has to agree to the terms before the sale takes place. Remember that the lender is collecting on a past debt owed by the seller.

Let’s use the example from above. Once again, we are using $50,000(not $100,000) as the benchmark. The lender might have a hard time saying yes to $50,000 to start. It is highly unlikely that the lender will want to go down any lower. They are already agreeing to less than the actual debt. You are better off sticking with the $50,000 and leave it be.

Are There Any Risks To Buying A Short Sale Home?

Yes, there are. We are going to break down the disadvantages into a few key points.

1) You buy the house “as is”. That means you are not able to negotiate with the seller about modifications. You must take care of the modifications if you need them.

There could be some much-need remodeling for the house. Once again, you take care of that yourself.

2) You(as the buyer) are subjected to the mortgage and lender approval. That means the lender has a say in who buys the home since they are trying to collect a debt on it.

3) You either pay the full sum with cash or make a very large down payment before the sale takes place. Lenders do not accept any in-between.