REAL ESTATE LAW
Our firm has handled hundreds of real estate of transactions. Here are some points for you to consider:
1. The contract: If you have a real estate agent, the agent will provide the contract form, most of which are very thorough and cover frequently occurring issues. If you do not have a real estate agent you should have a lawyer prepare or review the contract before you sign it. The contract fixes the terms of your deal.
Here are some points the contract should address:
Title to the property must be free and clear
Whether the sale is contingent on the buyer obtaining financing
Whether the sale is contingent on the buyer being satisfied with a home inspection
That the seller usually is responsible for providing evidence of no termites (wood destroying insects) and evidence that the well and septic systems are in proper working order, with a potable water supply.
The sale of a building lot or acreage parcels have distinct issues such as availability of utilities, access to the property, and soil suitability for building purposes
2. Closing: You need an attorney to close your transaction. Only an attorney can give you legal advice at closing. The attorney you select as your closing agent will coordinate with your lender, collect the signed deed and other necessary papers from the seller, collect your money and the loan money, prepare a closing statement showing all of the costs of the transactions, and, once all documents are signed then “close” the transaction by recording the deed and paying the sellers their proceeds, as well as writing checks for all payments on the closing statement.
3. Timber: Timber Sales are an important part of our practice. Land owners ordinarily should hire a timber consultant to assess their timber and its value. Timber can be sold by sealed bid sale, auction sale or direct negotiation with a timber company. The sales price is the major issue. Ordinarily it is paid in advance before the timber is cut. The land owner also needs to consider the length of time the timber buyer has to cut and remove the timber, requirements to maintain roads and restore roads used for logging to original condition and possible damage to fences, crops and farm animals. The timber buyer should be required to follow best management practices of the Virginia Department of Forestry in harvesting the timber and should also provide proof of insurance. The owner also needs to consider reforestation and getting the next crop of timber growing as quickly as possible. An experienced attorney can help you with your timber sale.