Real Estate Law
Real estate is a core area of our legal practice. We have three attorneys who focus on this aspect of our practice. Click on the subheading to the left that is closest to your area of concern. Then, give us a call if you think we might be able to assist you.
Perhaps the most common need for legal services comes from those buying or selling a house. From our point of view, we don’t just “do” closings. We represent clients through the entirety of their real estate transaction.
We often begin our role with a review of the underlying contract. If you haven’t dealt with FGSB before, you should know that we would look forward to meeting you at this early date. This is a chance for us to have input into the proposed contract before it is signed. It allows you to meet with us and our real estate staff.
It is impossible, within the limited space of a website, to tell you all that goes into a residential real estate transaction. Of course, we’ll make sure that title issues and any other buyer/seller concerns are resolved. If you haven’t been involved in a closing for a while, you’ll be surprised at the level of government regulation. There are disclosure requirements to meet, and documents which must be supplied. There are actually regulations detailing that attorney emails should be encrypted and which file cabinets must be locked at night. All of this may be unfamiliar to you, but it is routine to us.
It’s no secret that paralegals play a large role in residential real estate matters. You’ll find them knowledgeable and able to give you a prompt response on the day to day issues that inevitably arise in the course of a real estate transaction. They will coordinate the efforts and schedules of the lawyers, clients, agents, bank officers, and others who play an important role in your matter.
If this is your first closing, please let us know. We’ll take extra care to make sure you understand the process. From our perspective, a closing is never simple or routine. We are here to help you through the entire process.
Zoning & Land Use
Land use issues have certain unique characteristics. Most often, they are decided at the local level before a commission that may or may not have legal experience. An applicant is expected to !mow and comply with all legal requirements and to explain their project to the commission clearly.
Perhaps the most common land use issue is a request for a variance--a departure from the strict enforcement of zoning laws. Even in this basic proceeding, there are legal requirements which must be met. Terms such as "hardship" have a meaning in zoning law that is different from that in ordinary English usage.
Land use issues are of vital importance to a new business. If a client's particular use is not authorized, there are ways to get Special Exceptions. Occasionally, it is necessary to seek a change in the zoning regulations. Other land use issues involve subdivision applications, environmental concerns, and wetlands issues. In every one of these areas, our lawyers will work closely with your engineer, surveyor, architect or other professional to obtain the best possible outcome.
If you were asked to name the most contentious type of lawsuit, property litigation would probably not come to mind. The reality is that these cases can be extremely difficult. Ask a client who has just seen his trees cut down so that a neighbor can have a better view of the water if his case is "minor."
Common property issues include disputes over the location of boundary lines, encroachments, claims of adverse dispute possession, arguments over the nature of easements (including "view" easements), and drainage issues. While the claims may differ, these cases have one common thread. The parties will end their dispute having to live as neighbors.
Property issues require extensive documentation and preparation. At FGSB we'll take the time to understand the dynamics of the problem and make every effort to explore any possibility of settlement. If necessary, we'll pursue your case in court and zealously protect your property rights.
If you would like to discuss your situation with us, Jason Lewellyn is the person to call.