Real Estate Transactions and Litigation
Real estate transactions can be rewarding and relatively painless when properly managed, but disappointing and expensive when not.
Tannenbaum Scro Hanewich & Alpert assists its clients throughout Florida and New York with real estate transactions and litigation. We have offices in Sarasota and Clearwater for the convenience of clients throughout the region and often assist European clients with real estate investments in Florida.
In addition to our work with single-family homeowners and investors, we handle particularly sophisticated matters, including subdivision closings or chain of title matters for developers throughout Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Pasco, Charlotte and Lee counties.
Why you should retain an attorney prior to entering into any real estate contract:
Partner Salvatore Scro cannot count how many times he has been contacted by prospective clients for his assistance in representing them in a real estate transaction - for which the client has already entered into a binding contract!
Typical statements that the buyer-clients make:
- "They said I would receive a credit!"
- "They did not do what they said they would do!"
- "They told me I could run my business out of my home!"
- "They said it would be no problem getting approval to install a new pool!"
- "They told me I could install a privacy fence!"
- "I did not know I had to pay over $2,000.00 in bank fees for this mortgage!"
- "I thought the appliances were all included and supposed to be in good working order!"
Typical statements that the seller-clients make:
- "They told me I have to replace the septic system!"
- "I did not know I was supposed to pay $1,000.00 in closing costs!"
- "Why do I have to wait until the buyer closes on his home before I can close on the sale of my home?"
Most, if not all these concerns could be addressed had the seller-clients retained an attorney from the outset. Tannenbaum Scro Hanewich & Alpert provides services to its real estate clients including contract review and negotiation services, in most situations.
Tannenbaum Scro Hanewich & Alpert recommends:
- Retain an attorney before entering into any real estate related contract, whether it is to buy, sell or list a property.
- If you want to enter into a contract before you have retained an attorney to secure the buyer or seller, be sure to make the contract contingent upon your attorney's approval.
- Even if you have entered into a contract to buy or sell, you should still seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible to be sure that your interests are protected to the greatest extent possible.
Why you need an attorney even when there is a title company involved:
Tannenbaum Scro Hanewich & Alpert understands that title companies play an important role in Florida real estate transactions, but we know from experience that the title company is not enough to protect all of your interests in full.
Most buyers in real estate transactions will receive from the seller a policy of title insurance, presumably to insure that the buyer has received a "marketable title" and "insurable title" from the seller. Buyers should understand that "marketable title" and "insured title" do not necessarily mean that the buyer has been fully protected.
As a buyer, it is just as important to know what is not insured as what is insured; and it is just as important to know what restrictions exist to the use of the property as to what uses of the property are permitted.
For example, residential real estate purchase and sale contracts typically state that title exceptions, such as easements and restrictions, will not prevent the residential use of the property. Although a restriction to the use of the property and an exception to title insurance coverage may not interfere with the use of the property for residential purposes, it may interfere with the buyer's other intended uses of the property (i.e. docking a boat; installing a fence or pool, operating a business, etc.).
Some things to remember:
- A title company provides insurance for what it deems it wants to insure, not necessarily what you want to have insured.
- Title companies do not have any reason to explain insurance exclusions to you. Attorneys can negotiate exclusions to your benefit, so that you are truly insured.
- Title insurers are not qualified to identify the full scope of property issues that attorneys can, including things like boundary disputes or adverse possession.
- Attorneys are equipped to address title discrepancies that may arise, such as actions to clear title defects (quiet title actions), etc.
- In most instances, your attorney can facilitate the title insurance you need.
- Attorneys do not accept a title just because it has been that way for a few steps in the title chain.
- Attorneys can close on your transaction, even if you choose not to obtain title insurance.
If you are contemplating or in the process of a real estate transaction, contact us today to learn more about how we may help you.