Real Estate

Many facets of the law come into play within CVDL’s real estate practice.

We work with businesses, homeowners and developers to start their projects off in the right direction with detailed contracts, covenants, title searches and other due diligence. We help negotiate financing arrangements and guarantees. We conduct or monitor the entire closing process to make sure all parties receive what they bargained for. We examine numerous title insurance commitments every year for local lenders.

Local zoning and land use issues require a thorough knowledge of city codes and internal procedures. Environmental liability is a risk that can be mitigated significantly with proper investigation and documentation.

Unfortunately, real estate practice also deals with correcting errors in earlier transactions conducted by less experienced professionals or other issues that arise over time.

We are prepared if necessary to pursue title insurance claims, and we have significant experience litigating boundary issues, easements, and adverse possession claims, which can be critical to maintain the value of the subject real estate.

We also have an active foreclosure practice. Foreclosures in Missouri (under “power of sale”) are relatively straightforward, but there are very precise notice and publication provisions that must be honored. We handle numerous foreclosures for lenders every year.

Whether a client is buying or selling a home, business, or property, developing a condominium or leasing a commercial site, our firm is equipped to assist at every step of the process.

Our Firm's Real Estate Attorneys

Published on: October 3, 2019:2:29 pm

A Few Things to Think About – by John Landwehr:

  1. Licensed real estate brokers are handling my purchase. Am I OKAY? 

Licensed brokers handle 90% of residential real estate contracts, and most of them are very qualified. (It helps that 95% of real estate closings are handled by title companies since they are so technical and document-heavy.) The broker’s job is essentially to market the property, get a solid contract in place, and guide the clients toward the closing.

That said, here are couple of things you might watch for:

  • If you’re confused about anything, pay a few dollars for a real estate lawyer to take a look. The fee will be minimal when compared with the risk.
  • Mark your calendar! Especially for buyers, there are critical “drop-dead” dates in most contracts, e.g., inspection notices, loan approvals, etc. Do NOT assume these are just guidelines. Make sure the appropriate notices are sent on time.
  • Brokers are authorized by law to fill in blanks in forms approved by an attorney. There is usually a section at the end of the standard form for “Special Agreements.” Sometimes these matters are very simple, but sometimes they are complicated enough to require well-drafted provisions. Make sure you’re comfortable with the wording.
  • Read the title commitment and ask for the documents. (90% of buyers don’t bother!) A title commitment is the buyer’s guarantee that he will get good title at closing. Buried in the commitment are references to all recorded documents affecting the property. Examine all these entries and if you have questions check with your broker or have an attorney take a quick look. Here are some examples of critical matters that are often overlooked:
  • Easements – you may be sharing a driveway and not know it.
  • Covenants and Restrictions – sorry, no fences or outbuildings.
  • If you don’t require survey coverage, there may be encroachments you don’t know about.
  1. How are real estate taxes for the current year handled at closing?

Typically, they are “pro-rated.” The buyer will get the tax statement in December and will pay it all. Therefore, the buyer will get a credit at closing for the seller’s share. For example, if the real estate taxes for the current year are $2400 and the closing occurs on April 1, the buyer will get a credit of $600.00 (1/4 of the year times the total).

  1. If a buyer backs out, he just forfeits his earnest money, right?

Not necessarily. Most contracts give the seller the option of accepting the earnest money OR seeking specific performance (an injunction forcing the closing) or money damages (if he has to sell to another buyer for less money).