The coronavirus pandemic is changing the world right now, and it’s hard to say in which direction. More and more companies are looking for ways to digitize their businesses and have their employees working from homes during the period of self-isolation. However, this option is not always available or easy to introduce; there are industries where it’s not possible to operate remotely at all, or on some stages of the business. One of the sectors is real estate.
It’s not only about individual companies right now; these companies that can’t operate in a standard way (probably not many people think about things like Sea Pines Homes & Houses For Sale these days, and even if they do, they are not likely to go see the house and make a purchase). It’s also about the real estate market after this is all over. Presently, we can’t be sure how long it will last, and then, we will have to deal with repercussions and consequences, in some cases long after the pandemic is called off.
So how real estate businesses can reshape? What is their future? Is it possible to legally put these companies on hold to minimize the costs and wait for better days?
Is this simply a beginning?
It’s hard to predict how it will go in each country. Will the situation evolve similarly in the US as it developed in China? Will it be better? Can it be worse? The possibilities are at least several, but the fact is that the situation has already started to affect real estate businesses. For example, the governor of the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has recently forbidden real estate agents to show homes to potential buyers, and it’s almost sure that he won’t be the only one to order so. And if people can’t see houses, then they probably won’t buy them. Many companies may focus on closing some deals that were agreed upon before or dealing with those that closed recently.
It’s the right thing to do
All business owners and real estate agents know that it’s the only option to stop and take control over the spread of coronavirus. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that many of them may face reality without any stable income. Especially that performing any activities deemed by the law as unnecessary can trigger fines, so you’re not morally obligated to stay home anymore, you’re legally bound to do so.
What now? Is it possible to run a real estate business right now?
The National Association of Realtors has issued a statement in which a group of agents proposed some guidelines to follow during this challenging time. They propose video house tours and other virtual solutions if you don’t want to stop working. There are also some rights given to real estate agents by the law, for example:
- an agent can refuse to drive a client who shows any symptoms of the disease,
- an agent can refuse to drive a client who has recently been to an area of increased risk of coronavirus,
- an agent can require a client to drive to the meeting place by themselves to avoid close physical contact in a car,
- and many more.
However, agents must bear in mind the Fair Housing Act and not to discriminate against clients because of their nationality, ethnicity, etc. A lot of agents equip their houses with sanitizers, they provide clients with gloves and masks and avoid hand-shakes.
Some real estate companies work on digital solutions, like 3D house tours. And while this can be a lot of money to spend at once, it may prove beneficial right now and in the future. Agents highlight the advantage of avoiding the visits of clients who only want to take a look without the real intention of buying.
It may be worth introducing these solutions. Market experts predict that there will undoubtedly be buyers who will want to take advantage of the fact that the interest in real estate has dropped.
Can I put my business on hold?
Well, you can put your business on hold, but if you don’t want to lose all your money and leave your employees with nothing, you need to look for alternatives.
In this case, the answer is not as simple as yes or no. It all depends. If you consider this, you need to contact your insurer first and see if you have any options there. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic is a whole new situation, so you couldn’t have included it in your insurance, but there may be different solutions. Many policies deal with various setbacks, so it’s best to talk to your insurance agent, as you may have a chance for help, especially if you fall sick yourself or someone in your family has some serious health issues related directly or indirectly to the current situation.
Will there be help on the federal level?
The federal government is working on solutions to help business owners and their workers, and these solutions may include financial help or specially prepared loans (with low or no interest rates). But for the time being, The US Small Business Administration has increased the funding from $20 billion to $50 billion to help the owners face the pandemic. They offer low-interest disaster loans that can be used to cover bills and payrolls. You can reach the SBA online or by mail, or make an appointment in one of their offices (if they’re working in your area). The government may also suspend payroll taxes.
A lot of business fundings and aids are operating locally, so it would be best to take a look around, visit your state government’s website or ask around by talking to insurers, bankers, etc.
Apart from that, the Treasury Secretary has announced that smaller businesses will have time until July 15 to pay their income tax, and this is only for now, as the situation is fluid and may change.
But first of all, you should consider if it’s worth putting your company on hold, or maybe it’s better to try managing somehow. If you’re inactive, you will most likely lose many clients and potential customers, as they are not patient as a group, even in times like these. So contact all professionals you know (lawyers, bankers, insurers, tax professionals, etc.) to see what your options are. It may be best to stay in the game, as it’s hard to tell when the situation will get better and what the market will be like after it’s all over.
Do you know what happens to your wealth when you die? If you don’t plan for the inevitable, your family could end up with nothing. That’s why you should consider creating a living trust.
What is a living trust? Great question. Basically, it’s a tool used to plan how to transfer your personal wealth in a clear and easy manner.
This article takes a look at the steps for setting up a living trust. Keep reading to discover insight into how to make the process as simple as possible.
1. Set Clear Reasons for Creating a Trust
A living trust has advantages and disadvantages. That’s why it’s important to clearly understand your motivation for creating one.
After all, it can be a complicated process. There are a ton of details involved, including the need to meet with attorneys, banks, and insurance companies. You’ll also have to redeem, retitle or transfer the ownership of certain assets.
2. Decide Who Should Fill Each Role
The primary roles involved in a living trust include the grantor, beneficiary, and trustee.
The grantor is the individual who owns the assets that are going into the trust. The beneficiary is the individual who will receive the assets, and the trustee is the individual who is assigned responsibility for managing the trust.
3. Identify Your Primary Assets
Next, you’ll need to identify the appropriate assets to be listed in the living trust. These should include specific assets that you’d like to keep in the family for many years and things that could cause conflict when you’re gone.
4. Educate Yourself About the Tax Implications
There are also plenty of tax implications to consider. This includes state and federal taxes that will impact assets placed in the trust. Keep in mind that your beneficiary will likely face an inheritance tax, thus it’s crucial to plan accordingly.
If you need advice for setting up customized IT for your law office, see here for more details.
5. Be Sure to Include an Incapacity Clause
In some cases, the trustor and trustee named in the paperwork will be the same person. In these situations, it becomes necessary to name a successor trustee. This is what’s known as an incapacity clause, which grants directorship to the successor trustee in the event of serious illness or mental incapacity.
6. Be Sure to Take Advantage of FDIC Protection
One of the great things about the FDIC is that it provides the same protection for trusts as it does for bank accounts.
You should definitely plan to discuss this federal benefit with your attorney or accountant in order to better understand the exact details.
7. Consult with an Expert
You’ll need to hire a good law firm with plenty of experience with living trusts. This will help you properly navigate this precarious process with the level of expert knowledge needed to get everything done right.
A Guide for Setting Up a Living Trust
Planning for the future can seem overwhelming sometimes. Fortunately, this simple guide for setting up a living trust can help reduce your anxiety.
Keep scrolling to discover more great legal tips and advice.
Estate planning is a crucial part of planning for our future. Part of estate planning is creating living wills and trusts. Both are essential components throughout the estate planning process.
We need to understand what living wills and trusts are in order to best plan our own estate. This comprehensive guide will explain how estate planning works and why it’s a necessary part of future planning.
Living Wills and Trusts: The Basics
It’s not uncommon to wonder, “What is estate planning and why is it important?” Estate planning protects your assets and your beneficiaries in the event that you are unable to.
There are two very important parts of estate planning: living wills and living trusts.
There is a will versus a living will. Living wills are not the same as a Last Will and Testament. They do not leave property or money to anyone.
We call them living wills because the person they refer to is still alive. However, if the person is unable to communicate their final health care wishes, the living will is used.
They set guidelines for health care if someone is at the end of their life. They express a person’s preference in terms of life support. Living wills speak on a person’s behalf in the event that they are unable to choose their end-of-life care.
A living will may also include directives for tube feedings and whether or not pain medication is administered. They can be used if a person is critically ill or is unresponsive and kept alive artificially.
The Importance of Living Trusts
A living trust is a legal document that names a trustee as the person responsible for overseeing a beneficiary’s assets. They help to shorten the often expensive and lengthy process of going through probate. Living trusts allow for a more seamless transfer of funds for the trustee to access.
If looking for additional protection over assets, then a living trust may be the best choice. When a person is unable to manage their personal finances due to age or illness, a living trust allows a trustee to step in and manage those finances.
Estate planning is essential when thinking about the future, and living wills and trusts are an important part of the process.
Be Prepared for the Future
A living will and trust are an imperative part of the estate planning process. Living wills ensure health care professionals understand a person’s wishes should they be terminally ill or in a vegetative physical state and unable to communicate.
Living trusts will provide an extra layer of protection over assets. They appoint trustees to manage assets and make the transfer of funds an easier process.
Living wills and trusts are both critical parts of the estate planning process. They not only protect the person creating them but any children and beneficiaries they may have.
Explore the rest of this site for more tips to help you plan your estate so you and your loved ones remain protected.
If you are an investor and are looking to tap on the right opportunity for yourself, this article can be quite useful for you. Here we have shortlisted the top three investor visa options in the USA to help you make a thoughtful decision.
L-1 Intracompany Transfer visa
L-1 is a non-immigrant investor visa USA. This means that any foreign enterprise is allowed to transfer managers, executives, or people with the required expertise to a US company, given that the US company is a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the enterprise. The organization has to apply on behalf of the person.
Initially, it is valid for two years, which can be extended for as long as seven years. Along with the employee, the family also receives immigration benefits. The L-1 visa is also a non-intent visa. In addition to this, there is no cap for the issuance of the L-1 visa in the country.
To become a beneficiary, one must fulfill certain criteria. The employee should be a full-time worker in the company for at least a year before applying. The transferred responsibility should be of a managerial, executive, or specialized nature.
EB-5 Investment Visa
The EB-5 visa program runs under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The program first came into functioning in 1990 under the guidance of the United States Congress. It was seen as a means to draw more and more investors to the economy of the country.
Every fiscal year, USCIS receives applications ranging from 1,000 to 2,000. It was in 2011 that a significant rise of 80% in the number of applicants was registered. This growth is attributed to the efficiency and transparency of the USCIS.
To apply through the program, one is required to invest either an amount of $ 500,000 or $ 1 million into a commercial enterprise. When the enterprise is situated in a targeted employment area (TEA), the minimum amount of investment is decreased to $ 500,000. The investment should result in the creation of at least ten full-time jobs for two years.
E-2 Treaty Investor visa
E-2 is again a non-immigrant visa type. Foreigners coming from countries that share a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the US can avail of the benefits of this policy. It allows people to come to develop and direct businesses.
A substantial investment is required to be made in an enterprise. Thus, it implies that the investment should be sufficient for the successful functioning of the enterprise. On average, the investment amount goes no lower than $100,000. The business that you are investing in should be working actively, requiring people to work in.
E2 visa holds several benefits over the E-5 visa program. If you are not interested in investing a throbbing amount of $500,000 or $ 1 million, E2 can come up as a fine choice for you. Also, unlike the E-5 visa program, the applicants are not required to create job opportunities for a minimum of 10 people. Also, there is no visa quota, therefore, having no upper limit for accepting applications.
Landlords have varying requirements when choosing new tenants. However, there are some restrictions. When deciding to accept a tenant, landlords often use things like criminal history, credit rating, and financial status.
It’s legal for a landlord to ask for things like proof of income. However, race, gender, and disability cannot be criteria for accepting a new tenant. It’s also illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to a prospective tenant if they do not provide this information.
Here, we will breakdown everything you need to know about fair housing laws for apartments.
What are the Fair Housing Laws for Apartments?
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects tenants against discrimination. Under the Act, a landlord cannot make their decision based on race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, or ethnicity.
The FHA prohibits landlords from the following:
- Make housing unavailable
- Setting specific rules or privileges for individual tenants
- Refuse to rent
- Deny that housing is available for inspection
- Give a person different housing services
- Advertising that implies that the apartment is for certain people
- Evict a tenant
- Harass a tenant
- Limit privileges or use of facilities
- Assign someone a particular part of dwelling or building
- Delay performance of repairs
Also, landlords must make accommodations for those with disabilities. Proper accommodations include giving lower-level apartment units to people in wheelchairs or installing accessible ramps or doorways.
A caveat to this will be if the landlord has an older building. If accommodations would require a total renovation to the building, it is not necessary to accommodate the tenant.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Fair Housing Act doesn’t apply to apartment buildings with four units or less.
What Happens Is There is a Fair Housing Violation?
If a tenant believes there was a violation of a Fair Housing Act, they will file a complaint with the Department of Housing Development, or HUD.
Someone from HUD will investigate the complaint and access, whether it violates the Fair Housing Act. If there is a violation, a representative from HUD or the tenant’s private lawyer will contact you.
If you don’t have a lawyer already, it’s recommended you get one before the hearing. Consulting with someone with experience defending discrimination claims is a wise suggestion. An Estate Planning Lawyer would be ideal in this situation.
If you are found guilty of violating the Fair Housing Act, the penalties can vary. Some penalties include:
- A $16,000 fine for first-time violators and $37,500 fine if the Fair Housing Act was violated in the past
- A fine up to $100,000 if the Justice Department is involved
- Punitive damages may be awarded to the tenant — if evidence of malicious intent of the landlord
Avoiding an FHA Violation is Simple
As a landlord, it’s crucial to be aware of the fair housing laws for apartments and the penalties for violating them. If you need help staying clear of Fair Housing Act violations, it’s wise to seek advice from a professional.
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Wondering what are some laws regarding real estate? Also referred to as property law, real estate law is the aspect of law that deals with the buying, using and selling of land. The law governs how clients buy properties and what they can use the property for. It is called real estate law because it deals with real properties such as lands and buildings, as opposed to personal properties. This law has several aspects including titles, deeds, zoning, purchase financing, taxes and estate planning.
Laws Regarding Real Estate
The concept of this law includes various legal disciplines. First, real estate may be commercial or residential. It can be acquired and owned by a single person but used by another through rental agreements. Land can be bought and sold to individuals or to professional companies. Because of its high value, there are several laws to ensure the transactions are done properly and keenly recorded. Additionally, Stephen at Why Buy Houses says that through buying homes and real estate planning, land can be passed between different members of a family or owned by more than one person. Lastly, local and state governments have rules governing what lands may be used for.
Real Estate and State Law
Law practitioners who practice real estate law must be familiar with the state law that is applicable to their case. Such laws primarily apply to real estate. Although laws such as the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act is a federal law that applies to real estate universally, most laws regarding real estate comes from state laws. Such laws can vary from state to state; attorneys must therefore know how to identify the law specific to their case.
What is a Deed?
This is a document that gives an individual legal right to a property. Almost all states have laws governing the creation, execution and recording of a deed. A deed must be carefully drafted with a concise explanation of the property and the type of ownership involved in the property. In some cases, a deed comes with a promise that the person acquiring the property has a valid title. Such a deed is known as warranty deed. Other times, the owner is only interested in releasing any interest that a deed might contain. Such deed is called a quitclaim deed. It is important to pick the right deed for any property you acquire. As a real estate attorney, you must know how to advise clients on the right transaction to consider.
Real Estate Taxes
All real estate owners are subject to pay tax. The amount of tax levied by the government can be legally issued to the real estate owner. A real estate attorney can help clients on tax exemption through tax appeal boards and other legal proceedings. Tax on real estate can vary as well, depending on when you purchase and how long until you purchase. If you’re planning on buying a house in a year, reach out to a someone who knows what the tax situation will be then.
Leasing and Tenancy
Not every occupant of a property owns that property. Leasing and tenancy are important in real estate law. The terms of a lease are important to both the owner of the property and the tenant, whether the tenant is commercial or residential. Real estate lawyers assist clients draft and negotiate lease agreements.
The Bottom Line
Above are some laws regarding real estate. Keep in mind that this article gives only an overview of real estate. Real estate has a plethora of definitions and processes that agents are legally required to know and understand.
Sales of existing homes in the US have been trending upwards since 2008 when they hit a low of 4.12 million. In 2018 there were 5.34 existing home sales. That means more work for real estate attorneys.
What exactly does a real estate attorney do? Read on to learn when you would actually need to enlist their services?
A Common Misconception About a Real Estate Attorney
If you think you only need a lawyer if something goes wrong, think again. It’s a misconception that you only engage a lawyer to get you out of trouble.
A real estate attorney is not only for when things go wrong. They help you ensure that you don’t get into trouble before it happens.
Sometimes, navigating through the complex legal world that surrounds real estate needs professional knowledge and skills. It may not be a legal requirement to use an attorney but it’s often wise to engage one anyway. They can help you to avoid pitfalls and future difficulties.
1. Buying Your Home
Before you start the process of buying real estate, engage a real estate attorney. Whether the real estate is for investment purposes or for your home, engaging an attorney means they can help you with the purchase decision. A fundamental issue they can help resolve is to identify that the seller has the right to sell the property.
Some of the terminologies in real estate documents are obscure and complex. A real estate lawyer is trained to understand these documents and advise you if there are implications that you should be concerned about. They can explain legal terms in everyday language and warn you about risks.
2. Selling Your Home
If you are selling your home a real estate attorney can help by protecting your interests. There may be tax implications, fees or other costs that a real estate lawyer can help minimize.
If you are selling real estate you will want to ensure that once you have sold it the matter is over. You will want no further liability in connection with the property. A lawyer providing this service can help minimize the likelihood of lawsuits against you after the sale.
3. Buying or Selling Investment Property
You may be experienced at buying and selling investment real estate but an attorney can still be helpful. A real estate attorney can help check the technicalities of deeds and titles. They can also interpret and evaluate the terms of contracts.
Because they are engaged to act on your behalf they look after your best long-term interests.
4. Managing Real Estate Risk
When you buy an insurance policy you pay the money in the hope that you don’t need to make a claim. If you don’t make a claim against the policy you have at least had the peace of mind that if something had gone wrong you would have had some protection.
A real estate lawyer helps you manage the risk of something going wrong. For a modest fee, you can rest easy and have confidence that you have reduced the risk of something going wrong with your real estate transactions.
5. Difficult Partner
If you are selling a property because of a relationship breakdown, you may find you have difficulty with a partner who is not cooperating. A real estate lawyer can help. They can ensure that everything is done legally and reduce any potential for future disputes.
Whenever you are selling or buying real estate talk to a real estate attorney. They will have your best interest at heart. Engage them early in the process to give them the best chance to help you.
Search our blog for more tips on all things legal.
Becoming a landlord can be exciting, but it also breeds opportunities for problems with tenants.
Anytime someone rents out a property, they are opening themselves up to the possibility of future issues.
How can you tell when you might need some extra legal assistance?
If you want to know whether you need a landlord lawyer, keep reading to see what options may be best for you.
When Would You Need a Lawyer?
The reality is that being a landlord is difficult work, and some tenants may give you trouble from time to time.
If this happens, do you know what to do? How do you react if you have to evict a tenant but they won’t leave? What do you do if a tenant causes damage to your property?
Most people want to have a lawyer on their side because they have more experience and know the specific laws that apply to various situations.
As a landlord, it is wise to hire a lawyer before you start renting to tenants to make sure you know how to draft your leases and avoid lawsuits in the future. Lawyers give you the information you need to be proactive, but they also help you when you need their advice after the fact.
Reasons to Hire a Landlord Lawyer
As stated earlier, landlord lawyers do a lot of work for landlords and can be a great asset. Preventing problems from happening or dealing with problems after they occur is important if you want to avoid legal trouble.
Drafting Your Leases
You need to have a clear lease agreement with any tenant. Having your agreement looked over by a lawyer is a good investment for you because it can help you protect yourself in the future.
Providing your landlord lawyer with the concerns and points that you want to have covered in the lease will help them draft the perfect lease agreement. You can always revise or revisit the lease agreement when new issues come up.
A lot of states try to make evictions easy for the landlords, but it is common for landlords to submit the wrong form. In other instances, you may date the form wrong or have a small error that you didn’t notice.
A landlord attorney is going to assist you in making sure that you have the right paperwork and that you are filling it out exactly as necessary. It will streamline the entire process and make things go much more smoothly for you as the landlord.
If this is your first eviction or the tenant has a lawyer to fight the eviction, the help of a professional in the legal arena is unprecedented.
Are You Being Sued?
Some potential tenants or current tenants may want to sue you. If this happens, it may be for a variety of reasons.
A tenant may say that they believe you are discriminating against them. While you may be righteously following the HUD guidelines for fair housing practices, you still may get tenants that don’t feel you are doing what you should be doing.
Hiring a lawyer is a great way to help resolve the issue before a judge sees the case. You want to avoid this to make sure you don’t get bad press or a bad reputation as a landlord for future tenants.
Another reason you may be sued is if someone claims they got hurt because of your negligence. Personal injury claims are generally very personal, so you need a lawyer to be sure that you are not getting taken advantage of.
Defense of Reputation
When you have a bad reputation as a landlord, you are less likely to get tenants. This is bad for your business.
There are instances where you may get some bad press and the negative public image may need to be rectified. There are landlord advocates that want to help you when this type of situation occurs.
A landlord lawyer is going to be able to give you information about what you should say and how you should say it to make sure your words are not misconstrued. They also may be able to help you figure out how to turn your negative image around.
Appearing in Court
Eventually, you may need to be the plaintiff in a case against another person regarding your rental property. You may want to sue a contractor that didn’t do a job or sue a tenant for breach of contract.
Regardless of the situation, you need to have an experienced landlord lawyer on your side.
At least getting a little bit of coaching from a lawyer will help you know what might be coming up in the courtroom and what you need to do as a landlord. The amount of assistance you will need will vary based on the severity of the situation you are in.
Hiring a Landlord Lawyer
If you’re ready to hire a landlord attorney to help you with your properties, now is the best time to do it.
You can protect yourself from future problems or deal with problems that you are having right now. Being a landlord is not always easy, so having someone to help back you up is a very smart thing to do.
When it is time for you to get a lawyer, there are plenty of opportunities to find great professionals with experience.
Check out our website to see what type of attorney is best for your situation.
In the United States, almost three million people die per year. What happens to their belongings when they die?
Depending on the situation, the estate goes into probate. Probate is a long and sometimes frustrating process for determining who gets what. But everything rests on how your parents set up their will, estate, or trust.
A parent’s passing is heartbreaking for the entire family. Regardless of how your parents set up their estate, there are some things you should do.
Read on to learn what to do when a parent dies.
Obtain a Death Certificate
You might need help with how to handle an estate. It depends on how your parents set up their finances. But the first thing you’ll need is a death certificate.
It’s often necessary to turn off gas, electricity, Internet service and more. But without a death certificate, customer service people won’t discuss any of this with you.
If your loved one dies at home, call 911. Someone needs to come and pronounce your loved one as deceased. Be sure and notify the parent’s family doctor as well.
Arrange for the Funeral
Many people have prepaid burial plans. If your parent had one, call the designated mortuary. They’ll handle everything for you.
If there was no plan, it’s tougher. Don’t do this all by yourself. Ask family and friends to help make funeral arrangements.
Notify Family, Friends, and Employer
Have family and close friends help you notify anyone you can think of that should know about the death.
If your parent was still working, call his employer. There may be a final paycheck or even life insurance or other survivor benefits due.
Speaking of life insurance…
Call the Life Insurance Company
If you know your parent had a life insurance policy, call the life insurance company. They’ll need a copy of the death certificate too.
Are you the sole beneficiary of the life insurance policy? If your parent has a surviving spouse, you might not get the entire policy payout.
Notify the Social Security office of your loved one’s death. They’ll also need a copy of the death certificate.
Cancel any payments your parent was receiving. You don’t want to end up owing money to the Social Security Administration.
Cancel, Cancel, Cancel
The Social Security office notifies Medicare of your parent’s death. But cancel your parent’s Part D Medicare (prescription drugs). Also, cancel any extra Advantage plans.
Cancel life insurance as well and close out credit card accounts. Notify the three big credit bureaus as well.
To avoid identify theft, cancel your loved one’s voter registration and driver’s license.
Know What to Do When a Parent Dies
It’s never easy when a loved one dies. But you should know what to do when a parent dies. Get legal help if necessary.
Get a death certificate right away. Then notify family and friends and get help arranging the funeral if it wasn’t already planned.
Call the life insurance company as well as the Social Security Administration. Then cancel everything that’s no longer necessary.
Remember to take good care of yourself throughout this process. If you need help finding a good lawyer, please check our directory.
Anyone who’s ever rented an apartment has likely dealt with an annoyingly high collection of cleaning and repair fees when they moved out. These fees can be astronomical, and they often make very little sense.
Are you in this position right now? Have you been hit with some hidden apartment fees and other rental issues?
If so, you may need to hire a real estate lawyer. Here are some tips that will help you find the best lawyer to help you with your case.
How Real Estate Lawyers Can Help Renters
There are lots of ways that a real estate lawyer can help you fight the unfair fees your landlord is charging you. Here are some specific ways they can be of service:
One of the greatest benefits of having a real estate lawyer on your side is the fact that they can go over contracts with you.
The contract for your apartment likely contains a lot of legal jargon and confusing phrasing. And, you probably got rushed through it so quickly when you were signing your lease that you didn’t get a good look at what it says.
Your lawyer can review your contract and look for any potential ways that your landlord might be violating it with the fees they’re charging you.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
A real estate lawyer can also negotiate with your landlord on your behalf.
They might not be able to get all the fees that you’ve been charged taken away, but they might be able to negotiate them down so they’re not such a drain on your bank account.
In many cases, if your landlord knows that you have a lawyer on your side, they’ll be willing to work with you to avoid any legal troubles.
Represent You in Court
In the event that you do have to go to court to dispute the fees from your landlord, your real estate lawyer will be able to represent you and help you make a strong case for yourself.
They will gather evidence that backs you up and argue on your behalf to help you get the fees dropped so you can move on with your life.
How to Choose a Real Estate Lawyer
If any of the services listed above seem like they’d be beneficial to you, you ought to consider hiring a real estate lawyer. Of course, in order to experience these benefits and win your case, you need to make sure you’re working with the best.
Listed below are some questions you ought to ask that will help you choose the right real estate lawyer for your needs:
How Long Have You Practiced?
This is one of the first questions you ought to ask. As a general rule, you’re better off working with a lawyer who has a lot of experience in the real estate arena.
It’s true that new lawyers often have lower fees, but their lack of experience won’t work in your favor in the event that you have to go to court.
In What Areas Do You Specialize?
It’s best if you can find a lawyer who also has a lot of experience working with rental issues like yours. A real estate lawyer who only works with homebuyers might not have the knowledge necessary to help you create a strong case for yourself.
Be sure to ask about their specialties and, if they don’t line up with your needs, ask if they can recommend someone who has more experience.
Have You Worked on Cases Like Mine Before?
Take things a step further and ask whether they’ve handled cases like yours in the past.
If they haven’t, you may want to look for a different lawyer. If they have, ask some more questions.
For example, find out how the case turned out. Was the client able to get their fees reduced or dropped? How long did it take for the case to be wrapped up?
What Do You Charge?
Of course, you have to factor money into the equation. Always ask any lawyer you’re considering upfront what their fees are and how they charge.
Do they require a retainer before they’ll start working on your case? How much is that retainer and when do they need it? Do they bill by the hour?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to factor in the cost of a lawyer to your budget and decide whether it’s worth it for you to hire someone to help you with your case.
How Will You Handle My Case?
If you’re interested in working with a particular lawyer and they seem to have the experience you need, ask them how they will handle your case.
What kind of approach will they take to get the issue resolved, and how long do they think it will take? What kind of obstacles do they anticipate facing along the way?
Who Will Work on My Case?
When you’re going to check out a real estate lawyer (or any lawyer, for that matter), it’s a good idea to ask them who will work on your case.
Is it them alone, or do they have paralegals or other lawyers who will also be part of the team?
If there are more people who will work on your case, ask to meet them before you make a final decision.
Go With Your Gut
Finally, remember to go with your gut.
Do you get along well with a specific lawyer? Do they seem knowledgeable and trustworthy?
At the end of the day, you have to feel good about your decision, regardless of what that lawyer looks like on paper.
Fights Those Apartment Fees Today
If you’ve been hit with some irritating apartment fees or have been dealing with other issues with your landlord, a real estate lawyer can be a big help to you. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you find the right lawyer for the job.
If you need additional help finding a real estate lawyer in your area, we can help. Check out our free directory today to learn about qualified, highly rated lawyers working near you.