Monday, October 24, 2016

Florida Waterfront Property Buyers and Sellers Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Florida Waterfront Property Buyers and Sellers
Waterfront Property issues?
Buying and selling waterfront properties can be a confusing path to navigate.  If you are thinking of buying or selling property that borders a body of water, you must understand the purchase and sale of waterfront property involves more complex issues than purchasing property which is not waterfront.  The added complexity of waterfront property normally centers around the location of the waterline and riparian rights.   An attorney with experience in riparian rights and waterfront real estate can provide you with invaluable counsel regarding whether your land is really waterfront as advertised, whether others may have rights to use the land between your property and the water's edge or whether someone besides the State of Florida owns the submerged land you want to put your dock on.
          Significant issues to consider when buying or selling waterfront property include:
  1. Does the property really extend to the water's edge?  You might think this is a dumb question, but I cannot tell you how many people have been in my office with “waterfront property” that isn’t really waterfront property.  Your deed only conveys the property described in the legal description.  In many instances, we find filled lands in between the waterline and the platted or surveyed lot lines.  Or, in less frequent instances, we find old easements, dedications, walkways etc.  If the property being conveyed does not extend to the waterline for any of these reasons, you may not have “waterfront property”.
  2. Does someone other than the State own the submerged land adjacent to your waterfront property?  The State of Florida owns the vast majority of the submerged lands throughout Florida.  However, it is not uncommon to find instances where a third party owns the bottom land immediately adjacent to waterfront property.  Depending on the particular circumstances, third party ownership could create a significant problem locating your dock, or worse yet, how about if the submerged land owner tries building a dock on his submerged property?  
  3. Are there existing or potential riparian rights issues with the neighboring properties? The main reason most people purchase waterfront property is for riparian rights.  These rights include the right to ingress and egress by boat, the right to build a dock, the right to fish, and the right to view the water to name a few.  Is your neighbor’s existing dock blocking your view of the water? Is your neighbor’s dock located such that when he wants to add a boat lift, your ingress and egress will be blocked? Does the location of your neighbors dock impact how you will have to construct your new dock?
  4.  Are your neighbors using your land?  Is there a path or walkway across the lot that extends to the water?  Does someone other than the seller maintain a dock or moor boats on or adjacent to the property?  If so, further investigation is required before you buy, to determine what legal rights, if any, such users might possess.
  5. Are there pre-existing issues with neighbors or the association?  Buyers always need to talk to the homeowner's association.  Many waterfront areas have homeowner's associations that may have valuable information regarding issues that have confronted riparian owners.  Are there current disputes, past issues, that may remain unresolved or understandings regarding rights to use waterfront areas?  Owners of adjacent lots may have similarly valuable information
  6. Will erosion or accretion be an issue for the property?  Erosion and to a lesser degree accretion, are big concerns for waterfront property owners. Over time, you can actually lose property (erosion) or gain property (accretion) if the shoreline has not been appropriately protected and buffered. If a sea wall or bulkhead of some type already exists, then you should invest in an inspection to determine if it’s sufficient, has been properly maintained, etc.
  7. What questionable documents are contained in the title search or commitment.  If there are covenants, restrictions, declarations or similar encumbrances to which the land is subject, they must reviewed and analyzed.  Does you deed properly convey riparian rights?  Have they been severed by a previous owner?
  8. What about the waterbody and future permitting? How deep is the water adjacent to your property?  That will directly affect your ability to build a dock and/or determine how long your dock will need to be.  Are there any water quality issues?  Are the existing in water structures properly permitted?  What is the likelihood you can add a slip, or a roof to a boathouse or bring in a larger boat?  Local permitting knowledge is essential and all these questions need to be addressed before you buy waterfront property.
  9. Do any local ordinances restrict or otherwise control the use of the waterfront?  Some municipalities have enacted ordinances to regulate docks and the mooring of boats.  Some areas have significant building setback requirements on the upland.  Some areas don’t allow new seawalls.  Aside from regulating in water structures, most areas have specific engineering requirements for waterfront property. 
  10. What will insurance cost?  Check out insurance carefully, as there are different types of policies and coverage that are important when purchasing waterfront property. Flood insurance and hazard policies address different things and can be complicated. Be sure to investigate wind damage to see if additional riders are required. 
There is no substitute for expert advice and specific information when it comes to buying waterfront property.  Due diligence is the key, don’t let yourself down.  If you think you are buying waterfront property confirm that fact by investigating BEFORE you buy.  Equipped with the right expertise, guidance and knowledge, you’ll be ready to turn to your waterfront dream into a reality. Call Guy Yudin & Foster, LLP. at 772.286.7372 for help with your waterfront property transaction.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Real Estate Lawyer Stuart, FL – 9 reasons why you need one

Real Estate Lawyer Stuart, FL –
9 reasons why you need one
Buying or Selling Real Estate in Stuart, Florida?

For many people home ownership is their most significant financial investment.  In order to protect your investment, hiring a real estate attorney is a smart choice whether you’re buying or selling.  A real estate lawyer can protect your rights and interests in the transaction; protect you against the unexpected; ensure a smooth and low-stress closing; and is the only one involved in the transaction who is qualified to provide you with legal advice.

What happens if the property has an illegal structure, termites, lead paint, asbestos, or other potentially hazardous conditions? What If there is an issue with your deal, what are your legal obligations?  Can you back out of the contract? Can you get your earnest money back? Will you owe the other party any money for changing your mind? Do you have sufficient time under the contract to get inspections done? Are there mistakes in the contract documents? Are there mistakes in the closing documents? And will that cost you money?

Your real estate attorney will keep an eye on all these different areas of concern and many more.  Knowing you have an independent, and experienced real estate attorney on your side will give you peace of mind and help you get your through what is often times a stressful situation.

1. Buyers need to know if the property has an unpermitted addition or improvements. If a seller has failed to obtain permits for an addition or other improvements to the property, it can be extremely difficult for a buyer to obtain any sort of satisfactory resolution after the closing. In order to protect themselves, buyers need to know if local codes and state regulations have been followed, and if they haven’t, what to do about it.

2. No matter how experienced you are at buying or selling residential property, any commercial real estate transaction involves complications which do not arise in simpler residential real estate deals. A real estate lawyer is important in commercial transaction so that these additional legal issues such as easements, corporate ownership, leaseholds, environmental issues, structured financing, tenant claims can be resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner.

3. Out of town buyers are particularly in need of a real estate lawyer. As a buyer you need someone local on the ground and familiar with the particular nuances of the area in which you are purchasing. Not only can your real estate attorney be your local point of contact for participants in the transaction, they normally are aware of specific municipal, county, state, or even federal regulations that may apply to the property.

4. Are you concerned the seller and/or real estate agent aren’t telling you something about the property? As difficult as it may be to believe, not every seller or real estate agent is honest and above-board; if you are suspicious, then a real estate lawyer can help you get answer to questions or suggest contract language to address specific concerns.

5. Are you buying or selling a property that is part of a trust or is in a probate administration? If so, it is not always clear who is representing the interest of the beneficiaries. Is the trustee or personal representative or perhaps one of the other heirs acting on behalf of the estate? Your real estate lawyer will help in jumping through the hoops associated with wills, trusts and probate courts.

6. Your real estate attorney will read everything. The volume of paperwork is insane. It’s tempting to throw up your hands and stop reading after the fifth page of your contract but that’s the way money gets wasted. Your attorney will read through your paperwork and raise any concerns. Even if there are no obvious red flags, your attorney will know the details of your transaction and can easily deal with issues if questions come up.

7. Do you want your attorney to hold your deposit just in case there is a problem with the transaction? Or do you want an unknown 3rd party holding your earnest money deposit? Real estate lawyers can act as escrow agents and most handle title insurance as well.

8. Are you concerned that you may not qualify for financing and you may lose your deposit? Your real estate attorney can suggest contract clauses to address this issue, including returning the deposit to the buyer if the buyer is unable to obtain prevailing market financing.

9. Do you what to make sure when you arrive at the closing you aren’t required to sign documents you are not obligated to sign under your contract? An experienced real estate lawyer will review the closing documentation before closing to be sure you only sign those documents called for in the contract.

Your real estate attorney has no personal interest in the outcome of the transaction other than making sure you, the client is taken care of. All other parties assisting you in the transaction have a financial interest – namely, commissions and payments which are far greater than your attorney Don’t wait until you receive an offer to sell your property. Contact a real estate attorney today to discuss how they can protect your interests from the outset. Call Guy Yudin & Foster, LLP. (772) 286-7372.