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Real Estate FAQ

Here we, KALIS, KLEIMAN & WOLFE, provide written and audio answers to frequently asked real estate questions. For Attorney Neal R. Kalis’ audio reply, click on the play arrow.

(The reader should not consider this information as specific. Anyone viewing this website should obtain specific advise pertaining to his/her particular situation and all cases.)

Real Estate: Real Estate Questions: Q: What is real estate?

Real estate refers to property which can be land or buildings or anything attached to that land. Real Estate is often called real property. For most consumers, real estate consists of their home and the lot surrounding it. Commercial real estate may include retail stores, warehouses, factories, restaurants, and other facilities. In addition to buildings and equipment, resources existing on (or under) the land, including minerals and gas, are part of real estate. Some of these components of real estate can be sold separately.

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Q: What are deeds for?

Deeds document and show the transfer or real estate ownership. A warranty deed, quit claim deed and grant deed are examples of deeds. A deed contains the names of the old and new owners and a legal description of the property and is signed by the person transferring the property.

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Q: What is a disclosure statement?

A disclosure statement is a form some states require a property seller to complete and provide to the buyer, disclosing certain defects and other information about the property. Check your state’s law as the disclosure statement requirements can by state.

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Q: What are some typical restrictions imposed on property owners?

Real estate owners can’t do whatever they want on their property, they must adhere to both state and federal law. Federal laws provide environmental restrictions, while state laws regulate local ordinances (ex. noise), zoning rules, boundary lines and more...Private agreements and other restrictions may also control property use (ex. restrictive covenants).

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Q: What is joint tenancy?

Joint tenancy is an arrangement in which more than one person owns a piece of property equally. Joint tenancy allows the property to transfer to the other tenants when one joint tenant dies.

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Q: What happens to a deed after it is signed and notarized?

Once the County Recorder’s Office (Land Registry Office, Registrar, or Register of Deeds), which is nearest the property, receives the signed deed, it is recorded it will be stamped with the date. This action now provides a public notice of the change in property ownership.

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Q: What happens in a mortgage foreclosure?

As a homeowner, if you fail to pay your mortgage payments, a lender (ex. a bank) could possibly foreclose on your property. Please review your state laws as they vary in terms, in contracts, regulations regarding notices and more. In several states, a homeowner may stay in the home while foreclosure proceedings continue. Some lenders may work with the homeowner to work-out an agreement (ex. interest-only payments or partial payments). If your home mortgage is at risk of foreclosure, consult with an attorney to discuss what options are available to you (ex. short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure.

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Q. What is a Title Search?

Title Search is an examination of the public records to determining what documents have been filed that may affect a piece of property whether it be a lean, a mortgage, or transfer of title.

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Q. What is usually in the Contract of Sale?

Usually in the contract for sale or sometimes called a purchase and sale agreement are the terms agreed to between a buyer and seller as to the purchase and sale of the piece of property.

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Q. What is Earnest Money?

Earnest Money is the same or other words for a deposit that a buyer would put down in order to hold a piece of property in connection with a purchase.

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Q. Can oral promises constitute a contract?

In real estate an oral contract is not enforceable. It must be in writing and have two witnesses to be enforceable.

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Q. When should we involve a lawyer?

In my opinion a lawyer should be brought into the transactions as soon as possible, preferably before contract for sale and purchase is signed, so the attorney can over with his client the terms and conditions to make sure that the client is in agreement with what the written words in the contract say.

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Q . Why should I list my home with a real estate agent?

In my opinion a real estate agent provides an invaluable service to a potential seller by giving the seller that person the great exposure to the market place, being able to assist the seller in making important decisions about pricing and negotiations and helping them to eliminate purchases who really don’t have the ability to buy their home.

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Q. What fee will I pay on the sale of my home?

In transactions involving residential property, generally real estate commissions are running between 5 and 6 percent. In addition to those expenses, if you have an attorney, an attorneys fee which could run anywhere from $750 to several thousand dollars depending on the complexities of the transaction, as well as the amount of the sale involved, and other costs as documentary stamp tax, recording fees, proration of taxes, and settlement of liens and mortgages.

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Q. How can I find out the current real estate taxes on my home?

In Florida, most counties have a property appraiser’s website that you can look up and navigate through the different prompts on the website to find that information or you can call your office and we will assist you.
For more information, contact us. We are never too busy to answer your questions.

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