Real Estate Law Tips

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What are some tax-related advantages of owning real estate?

What are some tax-related advantages of owning real estate?

The biggest advantage of owning real estate is with regard to being able to deduct the interest paid on your home mortgage or home equity loan.

There are some qualifications that need to be met to be able to deduct this interest, including:

* Whether or not the construction substantially improved the real estate;
* The amount of any home-equity debt does not exceed the fair market value of the home and that the residence in which you're attempting to deduct interest paid for the mortgage is your principal residence and not a rental or investment property.

Real estate tax law allows you to deduct interest paid on a home mortgage, a vacation home or a home equity loan by filing the proper paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service, Schedule A.

Many states also allow you to take similar deductions with regard to filing your state income tax return. Municipalities are also regulated when assessing real estate taxes under the real estate tax law, which includes being uniform in the assessment against all property owners under the taxing authority.

Besides the advantage of being able to deduct interest when paying your income taxes, the pride of ownership is usually listed as an advantage among real estate owners.

   
Are there risks with owning real estate?

Are there risks with owning real estate?

What many property owners may not realize is that there are many inherent risks in owning real estate or property.

Some of these may seem minor:

* Liability for zoning regulations or ordinances up to some of the bigger risks such as liability for injuries that occur to others while on your property
* Environmental hazardous clean up required
* Liability to third-party contractors regarding the property, i.e. the lender who holds the mortgage;
* Liability to any potential purchaser or failure to maintain the property such that it would cause an injury to someone else or other's property.

To diminish the risks associated with real estate ownership, it is important to know the real estate law for your area. Government entities can provide you with zoning regulations as well as consultation with a reputable real estate attorney, familiar with the regulations and restrictions on real estate in your area.

Despite all the inherent risks that go along with owning real estate, it is, for the most part, agreed that owning real estate is desirable and the benefits outweigh the risks.

   
Do homeowner´s policies cover more than just my home?

Read your homeowners policy closely

Your homeowner's policy may cover a lot more than you think. Aside from covering damages incurred due to natural disasters such as fires or earthquakes, your policy may also cover other unfortunate incidences. Depending on your policy, you might also have coverage over the legal liability of a third party becoming injured on your property. This is important because without some form of coverage you can be sued for all your personal assets if you are found responsible for the injury.

   
What are some things I should think about when selling my home?

Cover all your contract's bases when selling your home.

During the closing of the sale, be sure to specify exactly what comes with the house. For example, though you might plan on taking the washer and dryer, the buyer may be thinking otherwise. Another good idea is to include a specified amount of time that events such as termite inspections must take place by. If you don't specify dates the moving process can be delayed by days or even weeks. All of these precautionary measures can help ensure a smooth transition from seller to buyer.

   
attorney, lawyer, security deposit,

Pay attention to how long it takes your landlord to refund your security deposit.

In most states the landlord has 21 days to return your security deposit minus charges taken out for repair and maintenance. Check out your particular state's law and make sure you get your money back in due time.

   
When do I need a real estate attorney

When do I need a real estate attorney

While most homebuyers and sellers buy and sell homes without the aid of a real estate attorney, there are times when the help of a reputable real estate attorney may come in handy. Most realtors are not able to give legal advice unless they also happen to be an attorney.

There are actually a few states that require the assistance of a real estate attorney when it comes to writing purchasing contracts and handling closings. Some homebuyers use the advice of real estate attorneys when it comes to purchasing property in which there are homeowner's association rules and regulations.

Oftentimes the documents that are involved in this type of situation are lengthy and filled with legal jargon that would best be interpreted by a real estate attorney. Another example of when it might be good to contact a real estate lawyer is with regard to the purchase of condominium or townhouse projects. Undoubtedly a copy of the CC&R or Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions pertaining to ownership will be supplied to you, but again, reading a document such as this may raise more questions than you have answers for.

A reputable real estate attorney will be able to assist you in deciding whether or not the CC&R is an acceptable restriction on what you can and cannot do with your real estate.

   
What qualifies as real estate?

What qualifies as real estate?

Real estate property and housing is generally termed as land and the structures and resources permanently attached to it. Things deemed “permanently attached” may be also referred to as improvements, including homes, garages, barns and buildings.. Resources may include things such as gas, oil and minerals.

Typically, once you own real property, improvements may be made to it as well that would qualify as a structure permanently attached, although various federal, state, city, county and even local community regulations exist that can restrict the type of improvement that is made to the real property.

The three most common restrictions imposed by governmental bodies are zoning, or what the land may be used for. These uses might include

1. residential
2. industrial
3. agricultural or commercial.

Environmental hazards also could be a factor in determining what improvements or uses of the real property there might be. Storing hazardous materials on the property will be government-regulated.

The final restriction would be public right-of-way, or a portion of your real estate that has to be left open for others to use, such as a sidewalk or utility easement. Be sure to follow these restrictions and regulations carefully to avoid any fines, penalties or even criminal prosecution.

   
Do I need an attorney when buying a new home?

Consider consulting a lawyer when purchasing a new home.

You don't necessarily need a lawyer when you are buying a new home, but it's not a bad idea to seek additional advice. An experienced lawyer not only can draw up the contracts in your best interests, but they can also complete a title search to ensure that there aren't any claims against the property you are interested in purchasing.

   
Can I protect my estate by signing a real estate power of attorney?

Can I protect my estate by signing a real estate power of attorney?

We should first note the definition of a power of attorney.

*This is a document, when signed and notarized, gives someone else, usually a friend or relative, the authority to make certain decisions and act on your behalf to protect your best interests.

This person does not have to be an attorney, but the term is used merely to refer to the fact that this appointed person might act on your behalf.

Also, just because you sign a power of attorney, does not mean that you give up the right to make decisions for yourself. It simply allows another person to act for you if need be. Things that a person appointed as having a power of attorney for you may include would be to spend your money, i.e. cash checks and withdraw money from your bank account; pursue insurance claims and also, to enter into binding contracts on your behalf, such as real estate contracts. This may include buying or selling real estate.

Some argue the necessity for establishing a real estate power of attorney in the event you become mentally incapacitated to avoid a court stepping in to appoint a guardian or conservator on your behalf.

Remember, when choosing a power of attorney, select someone that you trust and know understands your point of view and that would respect your wishes should he/she become involved in your affairs.

   
Where can I turn for legal information

Where can I turn for legal information

There are a vast amount of resources available in today's age of Internet technology. Nearly everywhere you turn, it seems that there are also advertisements for legal help, attorney services and free legal advice.

Depending upon the area of your quest for information, legal information can be found as quickly as turning on your computer and surfing the net. Legal information can also be found through literature as well, published by legal associations. In a day and age where information is so readily available, be sure that the advice you're getting comes from a reputable and trusted source.

There's nothing more heartbreaking than being given legal information only to find out that it isn't quite accurate. Whether you need counsel on personal injury, criminal, estate planning, employment, family law, real estate law, bankruptcy, business, immigration or tax law, ask for references for the source you're going to trust for such legal information.

   
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