Real Estate Law | Contracts | Titles | Hampton, VA

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Serving Hampton, Newport News, Yorktown, and Southside Hampton Roads

Robert E. Long & Associates, Ltd. | Law | Hampton, VA

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Real Estate

Perhaps the very best investment vehicle one can use to build wealth is real estate. Commercial real estate, residential real estate and undeveloped real estate all provide unique opportunities to “leverage” one’s available investments funds to take advantage of the unique growth opportunities this investment medium affords. A quick comparison of real estate and the stock market illustrates this principle of “leverage” dramatically:

Wealth through real estate

America’s most wealthy have recognized the advantages' estate affords. The following observations have been made by some of our most successful real estate entrepreneurs:

• “The major fortunes in America have been made in land.” - John D. Rockefeller, American Business Magnet, Founder of Standard Oil Company and Philanthropist

 

• “Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with commonsense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

 

• “Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.” - Warren Buffett, The Most Successful Investor of the Twentieth Century

 

• “Ninety Percent of all millionaires become so through owning real estate. More money has been made in real estate than in all industrial investments combined. The wise young man or wage earner of today invests his money in real estate.” - Andrew Carnegie, Scottish Businessman and Philanthropist

 

• “Buying real estate is not only the best way, the quickest way, the safest way, but the only way to become wealthy.” - Marshall Field, American Entrepreneur and Department Store Founder

Assistance with a wide range of transactions

We can help with the following transactions, among others:

Bringing in an experienced real estate attorney before entering into a real estate deal is the best way to avoid trouble. Contact us today.

Call today to schedule your FREE initial

in-person real estate law consultation.

(757) 723-7742

Sales and purchase contracts for real estate

This is the least understood part of all real estate transactions. It is the Sales / Purchase Agreement that governs the rights of the parties. However, attorneys are seldom involved at this stage in the transaction. Typically, the lawyers are brought into the transaction after the sales / purchase agreement has been signed.

 

By that time, “the deal has been struck” and the rights of the parties are often set in concrete. When lawyers are brought into the closing after the contract is signed, lawyers merely conclude the deal already struck by the parties.

 

If a lawyer is consulted before the sales / purchase is executed, oftentimes sellers and purchasers can improve their positions before a binding contract is entered into between the parties. Lawyer intervention, before the contract is signed, is the best way of avoiding hidden pitfalls.

• $10,000 invested in the stock market will buy $10,000 worth of stock.

 A 10% increase in the value of the principal will yield a profit of

 $1,000*

 

• The same $10,000 invested in real estate can represent a 10% down payment on real estate valued at $100,000. The same 10% return yields a profit of $10,000 or 100% of the amount invested.

 

*Note: this illustration assumes the stock investment does not use a “margin” account. Investing with margin account on stock exchanges is very risky and not recommended for most investors.

  • Sales and purchase contracts for real estate

  • Title examinations

  • Loan applications

  • Document preparation

  • Lender's title insurance

  • Owner's title insurance

  • Real estate concerns

  • Zoning

  • Leases - residential and commercial real estate

  • Life estates in real estate

Title examinations

Title records concerning real estate are kept in the Clerk’s Office of the Circuit for the County where the real estate is located. Title examinations are essential to assure that marketable title is being transferred from seller to buyer at the real estate closing.

 

Oftentimes a seller will offer to pay for the title examination. The buyer should use caution if this occurs. The buyer of an automobile does not want the seller’s mechanic to certify the compression of the automobile engine. Similarly, the purchaser of real estate should have the purchaser’s lawyer arrange the title examination to verify title in the name of the seller and avoid costly title defects.

Loan applications

Real estate can be one of the most leveraged of all investment vehicles. “Leverage” is what makes real estate such an attractive investment for the accumulation of wealth. Leverage means that a small down payment (perhaps 10% or less) can secure title to property of great value.

 

Most real estate contracts require buyers to make applications for real estate loans within 5 days of the execution of the real estate purchase contract. Our law firm can assist buyers secure financing for their real estate investments.

Document preparation

The sales contract for real estate will determine which party (buyer or seller) will pay for the preparation of documents. Customarily the seller will pay for preparation for the Deed to convey the property to the buyer. All other documents are the responsibility of the purchaser. The purchaser should have the purchaser’s attorney prepare the documents required by him.

Lender's title insurance

This is always a prerequisite for a loan by a commercial lender. Should the title examination be defective or should other claimants to title appear after closing, policies of title insurance will help protect the lender’s investment in the property from being lost to adverse Court action.

 

Banks and other financial institutions will, customarily, not make loans without requiring title insurance. Our law firm can assist lenders in acquiring title insurance.

Owner's title insurance

Owner’s title insurance is generally not required by the lender. The founder of our firm has often said “Preventative law is the cheapest way to use a law firm!” Title insurance is purchased for a one time premium at closing.

 

Title insurance provides insurance coverage should title defects appear in the future. The title insurance company bears the cost for lawyers to defend and/or correct title problems that may arise in the future. Buying title insurance for the owner is akin to practicing “preventative law."

Real estate concerns

A myriad of problems can arise in any real estate purchase. Real estate contains restrictive convenants, easements, setbacks, principles of adverse possession, riparian rights, life estates, estates for a term, minority interests, tenants rights, boundary line disputes, etc., etc., etc.

 

By properly evaluating real estate during the title examination period, with proper reservations in the sales / purchase contracts to repudiate the contract if unforeseen problems are detected, a real estate purchaser can best protect his financial interests as he goes forward with the real estate acquisition.

Zoning

Existing zoning laws regulate how property can be used by its then owner. The value of property may be substantially enhanced by re-zoning. These are issues with which the law firm of Robert E. Long & Associates is familiar. Consult one of our attorneys should you have a zoning issue.

Leases - residential and commercial real estate

Real estate for rent covers a wide spectrum from studio or one bedroom residential apartments to department store space in major commercial shopping malls - and everything in between.

 

Likewise, leases can be easily understood legal contracts or highly complex and involved commercial transactions. As a prospective tenant, you need to know the terms of the lease before you enter into a contractual obligation.

 

As the owner of real estate you need to protect yourself and your real estate investment from inadvisable leases without the appropriate lease covenants.

 

The law firm of Robert E. Long & Associates can help you draft your leases as the owner of commercial real estate or, as a tenant, the law firm can review leases being proposed by property owners to make sure that your rights are protected.

Life estates in real estate

This area of the law dovetails with Wills and Estate planning. Life estates affect title to real estate and can be valuable tools in conveying real estate ownership interests by retaining use and enjoyment of the real estate for the Grantor’s natural life or for a fixed term of years during the Grantor’s life.

 

The attorneys at the law office of Robert E. Long & Associates, Ltd. understand real estate, the opportunities it affords and the pitfalls associated therewith. We can help you with your real estate investments, strategies and goals.

 

Real estate, not properly understood, can be a very dangerous investment. Call one of our lawyers BEFORE you decide upon a real estate investment strategy or invest in any real estate. Preventative law is the cheapest way to use a law firm!

 

Located in Hampton, Virginia, the firm primarily services clients and cases throughout the Peninsula and Southside Hampton Roads, including Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach as well as in Gloucester, Williamsburg (and all of James City County) and York County (Yorktown & Poquoson). Additionally, the firm also routinely handles matters throughout the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Call us today at 757-723-7742 to schedule a FREE in-person consultation.