Legal

This will provide you with valuable insights into the legal issues associated with buying, selling or owning real estate.

Found 8 blog entries about Legal.

Do you know how you currently hold title to your property?  Do you own it individually or jointly with another person?  If with another person, do you hold title as “joint tenants” or as “tenants in common”?  The difference could affect what happens to your property after you die.  Therefore, it is important to know and understand how you currently hold title to your property or how you want to take the title on your next purchase for estate planning purposes.

In Georgia, when a property is owned by more than one person (husband and wife for example), the title is typically held as either “Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship” (Joint Tenants) or as “Tenants in Common”.   The language in the warranty deed from the prior owner to the current owners

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Once a common practice at closings, buyers today rarely obtain a survey of the property they are purchasing.   Before, if a buyer needed a loan to purchase property, their lender required that a new survey is obtained in order to proceed with the closing.  However, some time ago, title insurance companies created a lenders title insurance policy that protected the lender against any claims that may result from any boundary line dispute or other matter that would be disclosed by a current survey. Since their collateral was already protected by this insurance policy, lenders no longer required buyers to obtain a survey. 

Thereafter, title insurance companies created a new owners title insurance policy that offered “some” protection to the buyer for

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Prior to the closing on the purchase of a piece of property in Georgia, an attorney performs a title examination of the property.  This examination includes researching all of the title documents that are recorded in the Superior Court Clerk’s office for the county in which the property is located.   The attorney uses this examination to identify any mortgages, liens, judgments or other encumbrances which need to be satisfied or corrected at the closing.

However, this title search will not identify over 100 possible defects in the title that could arise at any time in the future.  For example, this title search will not identify: 1) any prior documents in the chain of title that have been forged, lost or misfiled, 2) any documents that have

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Over the last 20 years the legal relationship that a real estate professional has with a buyer or seller has seen significant changes.  Most all of us are familiar with the relationship that exists between the listing broker/agent and the seller; they sign a listing agreement and that broker/agent represents them in a way that is supposed to reflect their best interest.  In years past all other brokers/agents that showed properties listed by other brokers to their customers were in fact legally representing the sellers as sub-agents of the listing broker.  Needless to say this caused a lot of confusion.  Buyers thought that they were represented by the broker/agent showing them homes, when in fact that agent represented the seller.  Imagine that, sharing

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Each year our Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) works very hard to update the GAR Forms that most major Brokerage firms use.  The annual release of new or updated forms always has an impact on the Brokers' clients, whether Buyers or Sellers.  Below you will find some of the more significant changes and the impact that they may have.

2017 CAD

Community Association Disclosure (CAD or HOA Exhibit)

In years past many agents have overlooked this as an essential element of the contract, leaving it out, or in many cases allowing for the Seller client to fill it out without attention to detail.  In the past the consequences were nominal and rarely caused a problem.

However the changes in the (2017 CAD or HOA Exhibit) now carry a potentially large

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Typically, when a seller conveys title to a purchaser, the seller executes a general Warranty Deed transferring all of their interests in the property. The seller is “warranting” to the buyer that the seller has good and marketable title to the property. Thus, if a title issue later arises involving a claim against the title that occurred at anytime prior to the sale, the purchaser can seek recourse against the seller through this Warranty Deed.

Today, many purchasers are buying foreclosed property wherein the seller (bank) only agrees to execute a Limited (or Special) Warranty Deed. Here, the seller is still conveying all of their interests in the property to the Purchaser. However, the seller is only “warranting” title to the purchaser for any

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A contractor or vendor who supplies labor or materials to a new or existing home can file a mechanic’s or materialman’s lien if they are not paid for their services. The vendor must file a claim of lien within 90 days after completing their work or supplying materials to the property. Furthermore, the vendor must file a lawsuit to perfect the lien within 365 days after filing the claim of lien. Otherwise, the claim of lien expires and is void.

To prevent a lien from being filed against your property, a homeowner should insist that every vendor supplying labor or materials to the property sign a lien waiver upon receipt of payment. Moreover, if the homeowner engages a contractor to supervise the work, the contractor should sign an Affidavit of

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Because of the real estate slump of the past two years, the fair market value of most properties has decreased (dramatically in some cases).  However, the “assessed” value of most properties by the county tax assessor has not decreased.  Thus, homeowners are now paying property taxes on assessed values much higher than the fair market value of their property.  To remedy this situation, homeowners need to appeal the assessed value of their property with their county tax assessor.

To begin the appeal process, the property owner must file a Property Tax Return with their county tax assessor (you should check with your local tax assessor’s office to determine the deadline each year to file such return).    The Property Tax Return is typically a

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