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.

Should I Refinance My Home?

So, you bought a house, took out a mortgage, and agreed to a monthly payment. At the time, you were excited that you were able to qualify for a mortgage, and were confident that you could keep up with the monthly payments, even if the Interest Rate wasn’t the best. After all, unlike rent, every payment you make adds to your equity in the home. You’re making an investment, rather than simply paying someone else for the privilege of living on their property.

Years go by, and life happens. You find yourself hard-pressed for cash. That monthly payment begins to loom. Is there any way to lower that payment?

Thankfully, there is. It’s called Refinancing. Refinancing is taking out a new mortgage at the price of what you currently owe, rather than the house’s original value. So if you bought a $200,000 house with a 30-year mortgage, then paid off $100,000 of it, you could get a new 30-year mortgage on just the $100,000 you have left. You use this new Mortgage to pay off the old and now enjoy a lower monthly payment.

However, just because there’s a lower payment, doesn’t mean you’re spending less money. That’s dependent on your Interest Rate.

Interest is the money you are paying the bank for the privilege of using their money to buy the house. It doesn’t add equity to your house. The less interest you can pay, the quicker you pay off your house, and the less money you spend in the long run.

If your circumstances (credit, debt-to-income ratio, etc) weren’t perfect when you bought the house, and you’ve spent the last number of years fixing that, then it’s likely your new Interest Rate would be much lower than the old one. In that case, Refinancing could help you save a lot of money, even if you don’t want to increase the length of the mortgage. Dropping the Interest Rate even a few points could save you tens of thousands of dollars over a number of years.

However, if you find your credit has slipped since signing the first mortgage, refinancing could cost you a lot more. You could still save monthly by getting a new mortgage over a longer-term, but in the long run, you will wind up paying those tens of thousands, rather than saving them.

In the end, the best thing to do would be to talk to your lender and see what your new interest rate would be. If it’s better, seriously consider refinancing, even if you don’t extend the length of the loan. All it can do is save you money. If the Interest Rate is higher, you can still refinance and get a lower payment if you desperately need the money, but be prepared to continue paying for a much longer-term, and to potentially pay much more than you were originally supposed to.

home construction loan

What is a Construction Loan?

What exactly is a construction loan you ask? A construction loan is a short-term loan that is commonly used to help pay for the construction of a home or other real estate projects. It is usually taken out by the builder of the project to help cover the costs of a project before obtaining other long-term funding. Construction loans have a higher interest rate than that of a traditional mortgage.

What is a Construction Loan?

As stated above, construction loans are typically taken out by the builder of a project or in some cases a homeowner who wants to build the home of their dreams. These loans are short term loans, only lasting one year or less. Once the construction is completed, the loan can be refinanced into a mortgage loan. The financier may also try to obtain a new loan to pay off the construction loan; this is called an “end-loan” in most cases. In most cases, the construction loan must be paid in full before the end date of the construction project.

How Does a Construction Loan work?

In an instance where the loan is taken out by a borrower with the intention of creating their dream home, the lender or bank might state that they will only pay the funds directly to the construction company. The loan payments may come in installments throughout the building contract instead of all at once at the beginning of the said project.

How to Get a Construction Loan

These types of loans may be taken out to finance the rehabilitation and restoration projects of houses as well as to build new custom-designed homes. Keep in mind that most lenders require a 20 percent to 25 percent minimum down payment on construction loans at the beginning of any given project. If a borrower has a limited credit history, obtaining a construction loan will be challenging.

Since the house is not yet built, collateral is considered limited. This can pose an issue when seeking loan consent from a potential lender. In order to get construction loans, the borrower must supply a “blue book”. A blue book is a detailed list of construction steps.

Construction loans are most typically offered through credit unions and/or regional banks. Local banks and credit unions usually know the housing market in any given area and therefore are more comfortable granting construction loans to those in their communities.