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Title-Blog

What Happens During a Title Search?

Whether you want to buy or sell a home or commercial property, a clear title ensures no one else can claim ownership and that you have the legal right to own the property. Title searches are a necessary part of any real estate transaction. They must be performed by a licensed title search company or real estate lawyer in Orlando (or wherever the property is located). Below, we shed light on what goes into a title search when closing a real estate transaction in Florida.

What is a Title Search?

A title search reviews a property’s history to uncover any liens, disputes, or issues with the seller’s ability to sell the property you intend to buy. It examines who has the right to the property and lists any known claims, loans, or debts that may inhibit someone from selling it. Title searches ensure the buyer won’t be responsible for paying any party to settle a debt tied to the property once purchased.

How Title Searches Protect Buyers and Sellers

Title searches benefit both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. The primary purpose of a title search is to ensure the buyer can legally purchase the home and that no one (other than the seller) can claim ownership of all or part of the property. If there is a lien or other claim on the home, it can’t be sold until the claim is settled. For sellers, title searches may uncover unknown issues with the ability to sell a property, such as an outdated lien an old contractor put on your home but never submitted the paperwork to remove it. A title search allows you to quickly help resolve those issues so you can sell your home.

Types of Claims Title Searches Uncover

There are several types of claims a real estate lawyer in Orlando can uncover when performing a title search. Here are the few common types of claims found during a property title search:

Easements

An easement is when an entity (usually a government or private company performing a public service) has the right to use someone else’s land for a specific reason, such as electricity, roadwork, pipelines, or maintenance. For example, a local city government may be authorized to access a part of your property to maintain electrical poles or waterlines.

Liens

A lien refers to the right to retain possession of someone else’s property until a debt is paid in full. Liens are legal tools contractors, construction companies, and home service providers use to ensure they get paid for their completed services. Liens permit contractors and service providers to make a legal claim against your property if they aren’t paid for their work.

Open Probate

A title search will show whether the property is part of an open or contested probate proceeding.

Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes arise when there is a disagreement between property owners regarding the location of their property lines. While property lines should be surveyed and recorded on the property owner’s deed, discrepancies between surveys may lead to two people believing they own the same land. A title search will show whether the property boundary has been disputed in the past or if there is open litigation regarding the property.

How Title Searches are Conducted

A title search company or real estate lawyer performs title searches. The property’s public records, such as property ownership history, deeds, mortgages, liens, foreclosures, and tax assessments, will be accessed and examined during a title search. After collecting all the necessary public records, your Orlando real estate lawyer will compile a comprehensive report. This report will contain a detailed history of the property’s ownership and highlight any claims currently placed on the property. If there are no red flags, you can proceed with the purchase. If the report indicates claims against the property, they must be settled before the home can be purchased, or you’ll need to walk away from the deal.

Understanding Title Search Reports

Here’s a breakdown of what’s included in a title search report:

Apparent Title and Property Owner

This part of the report provides information about the current property owner based on public records. Don’t gloss over this part; you’ll want to ensure the information on the title report matches the seller’s name and contact information.

Property Description

The legal description details a comprehensive description of the property, including its specific location.

Muniments of Title

This part of the report shows the property’s ownership history and timeline. It will also denote anyone with interest in the property, such as a mortgage lender or bank. Any litigation regarding the property in the past will also be included here.

Mortgage and Tax Information

This section will list financial information regarding the property, including mortgages or loans associated with it. It will discuss when the mortgage origination date, the original loan amount, repayment terms, and whether it’s current or in default. It will also state the property’s current tax status and the estimated real estate taxes for the current year. 

Liens, Encumbrances, and Title Restrictions

This is the critical element of any title search report. It’s vital to ensure no liens or encumbrances on it. While liens are debts the current property owner must pay off before selling the property to you, encumbrances are interests other parties have in the property. Identifying and addressing any liens or encumbrances is crucial before finalizing a real estate transaction.

Handling Title Disputes

If the title search comes back with claims against the property, it’s vital to contact an experienced real estate attorney in Orlando to help resolve these issues. Title disputes can often be resolved by settling the lien (either by contesting it or paying it off) or by making a quiet title action. A quiet title action is a lawsuit that a property owner can file against a company that has made a lien against a property unfairly. The quiet title action could result in the removal of the claims against the property.

Boutty Law Firm: Orlando Real Estate Lawyer

Title disputes are complex issues that require the assistance of an experienced Orlando real estate lawyer. At the Boutty Law Firm, our experienced real estate lawyer can help you resolve any concerns regarding a property’s title. If a title search has revealed an open claim or lien on your home, please contact our office at 407-622-1395. Our lawyers will work with you to find the best option to resolve the issue so that you can confidently sell or buy the property.

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Agreement

Key Clauses to Include in a Buy-Sell Agreement

A buy-sell agreement is a business contract that defines the terms of ownership if a business partner leaves the company, is incapacitated or dies. These agreements are also referred to as buyout agreements, business wills, or business prenups. Many businesses benefit from buy-sell agreements, including partnerships, closed corporations, and LLCs. Any company with multiple partners or owners should consider signing a buy-sell agreement. Here are the key clauses you want to include in your business buy-sell agreement. 

Name the Parties Involved  

One of the first clauses every buy-sell agreement should include is naming each partner and their current stake in the business. You will also need to have each partner sign the contract to make it legally binding.  

Triggering Events  

A buy-sell agreement should include the types of events that make the agreement go into effect. The most common types of triggering events are when a partner:  

  • Dies 
  • Becomes disabled or incapacitated  
  • Retires 
  • Leaves the business  
  • Files for bankruptcy
  • Is terminated

Selling Structure 

The selling structure defines what the remaining partners will do with the business shares if one owner leaves. There are several types of selling structures that you could utilize, as described below:  

Cross-purchase  

In a cross-purchase, the remaining owners purchase the departing owner’s stake in the business.  

Entity purchase 

Also referred to as a redemption agreement, an entity purchase is when the business entity buys the partner’s shares, not an individual owner. 

Wait-and-see 

A wait-and-see selling structure allows the remaining business owners to decide whether to utilize a cross or entity purchase once a triggering event has occurred. The business owners may also choose to use a combination of these structures.  

Estate Planning 

One of the primary reasons to have a buy-sell agreement is to define what happens to a partner’s stake in the business after they pass away. Unless otherwise specified in the agreement, the partner’s share in the company could go to a surviving spouse or other beneficiaries listed in their will. The shares could also be sold to an outside entity as part of the estate if there is no buy-sell agreement. To prevent this, you should include what will happen to the partner’s share of the business upon their passing. It’s important to be clear and specific in this clause to avoid vagueness that cannot be enforced.  

Business Valuation 

A buy-sell agreement should include an evaluation of the business as it currently stands and state how the business’ future value will be calculated once a triggering event occurs. Various methods can be utilized to determine the value, including hiring a business appraiser or using a predetermined formula to calculate the value. 

Purchase Funding 

Once a triggering event occurs, there is no guarantee that the remaining partners will have enough funds to purchase the departed partner’s shares. To ensure proper funding for the remaining owners to buy the business shares, you’ll want to specify purchase methods in the buy-sell agreement. For example, some business owners may choose to take out life insurance policies on the other owners, so if the partner passes away, they can use the policy’s proceeds to purchase the shares. You should also specify whether the remaining owners can use a payment plan, place a deposit, or use other methods to buy the shares.  

Boutty Law Firm —Handling the Legal Aspects of Your Business 

A buy-sell agreement is critical to your business succession plan to ensure continuity if a partner leaves or passes away. Entrust the help of an experienced business attorney, like the ones at the Boutty Law Firm, to help you draft a legally-binding buy-sell agreement to protect your business for future generations. Our team is prepared to handle all your business issues, no matter the complexity. Contact us today at 407-710-0461 for a free consultation. 

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Homeownership,Concept

Understanding Common Property Disputes in Florida

A property dispute is a type of real estate dispute that can occur during any part of the homeownership process. Property disputes can arise whether you are buying a home or have lived in the same place for several decades. A property dispute is a disagreement over how a piece of property is used, such as a home, business, waterway, or vacant land. Below, we break down the most common property disputes in Florida and how to resolve them. 

Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes occur when there is a disagreement over a homeowner’s property line location. Property lines should be surveyed and documented on a property owner’s deed, but discrepancies between surveys may show two people own the same land. It may not initially be a problem until constructing a shed or fence on the disputed portion of land, adding or removing trees from a property, or using the area unsatisfactorily (such as for old car part storage). 

There are two possible outcomes in a boundary dispute if the case goes to court. First, an ejectment may be ordered, determining the offending structure or possessions are trespassing on your land and must be removed. Or, a declaratory judgment may be issued, which is when a judge legally determines the property owner.

Easement Disputes 

An easement is when one person owns a piece of property, but someone else is authorized to use it for a specific purpose. For example, many utility companies and government agencies may have easements to access your property to maintain electrical poles or water lines. There are several types of easements: 

●      Easement appurtenants—do not expire within a specific timeframe and are intact despite who owns the land. 

●      Easements in gross—are tied to a person or an organization, not a particular property. Utility companies often possess easements in gross to access and maintain power, cable, and internet lines. 

●      Prescriptive easements—may be requested when there is continuous use of land over a significant period (20 years or more in Florida). 

 

Titles 

Title disputes arise when selling a home Title disagreements occur when someone opposes ownership over a particular portion of a property. If there was an error in the property survey or title search, litigation might be necessary to rectify the problem. If you are in the process of a home sale, working with an experienced real estate attorney to perform a title search can help correct any defects. 

How to Settle a Property Dispute 

Property disputes tend to come with high emotions, as they may pit neighbor against neighbor. When settling a property dispute, the most friendly outcome is for you and your neighbor to resolve the dispute independently. However, this is not always possible. If you and your neighbor cannot agree, you may need legal assistance to file an injunction and settle the dispute. When filing your claim, you will want to present documents and gather information such as surveys, titles, and boundary maps. For assistance, contact a real estate attorney at the Boutty Law Firm to help file your claim. 

Settle Property Disputes Amicably with the Boutty Law Firm

Property disputes can be very complicated and emotional, especially when dealing with neighbors. If you are facing a property dispute in Central Florida, seek the counsel of an experienced real estate attorney like the team at the Boutty Law Firm. Call our office at 407-710-0461 for an initial consultation.

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Real estate law

Should I Work With a Real Estate Attorney?

In today’s current real estate climate, buyers are abundant, but inventory is low. As a result, many buyers negotiate various elements of their purchase offer to make it more attractive to the seller, like waiving inspections and appraisals. Working with a real estate attorney during these transactions will ensure your contract is in good legal standing, lessening the chance the deal will fall through during the closing process. Here are the types of transactions where it is beneficial to hire a real estate attorney. 

Commercial real estate transactions

Commercial real estate transactions require a different set of logistics compared to residential transactions. If you are a land developer or business owner looking to build a new retail space, you must ensure your building adheres to local zoning laws. This can be a complicated process, which is why an experienced real estate attorney can help make sure your development plans meet all requirements before construction begins. 

Closing assistance

During the closing process, a real estate attorney can serve many roles. They look over closing contracts and documents and make sure both parties are aware and understand its terms. Real estate attorneys gather the necessary paperwork, such as the seller’s disclosure statement, commercial leases, and sales finalization papers, to ensure they are legal and ready to enforce. During the closing, real estate attorneys are present to secure a smooth and orderly transition from buyer to seller.

Appraisal appeals and negotiation 

An appraisal is an integral part of securing a mortgage for a home loan. Lenders want to know that the property you are looking to purchase is worth the price the buyers are selling it for, and having an appraiser assess the property is the most common way to do this. Unfortunately, in this hot real estate market, a home may not appraise for the offer price. When this happens, buyers may have to come up with the cash to make up the difference in the appraised value and the offer price to secure a mortgage. Instead, some homebuyers appeal the appraisal—which is where a real estate attorney can assist. A real estate attorney will help negotiate the appraisal appeal on your behalf, citing factors such as the comparable properties (“comps”) that were used and additional home improvements that may increase the home’s value. 

Title and lien searches 

Another critical part of the real estate transaction process is the title and lien search, which helps determine whether the seller has the legal ownership and right to sell the property. A Real estate attorney will develop a detailed report, including a history of ownership, a list of current mortgages, and any liens on the property. This allows the potential homeowners to purchase the home free and clear.

The Boutty Law Firm: Orlando real estate attorneys 

Our experienced real estate attorneys at The Boutty Law Firm can assist in all aspects of real estate law and transactions, whether commercial or residential. If you are a real estate agent or a potential homeowner, let us partner with you to ensure a smooth real estate transaction. Visit our office in Maitland, or call 407-622-1395 to schedule a consultation.

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zoninglaws

How Do Community Zoning Laws Affect Your Business Expansion?

Zoning laws exist to help communities expand and grow effectively. Community zoning laws help create thriving economies with space for different types of businesses and residential properties. Zoning is usually part of a town’s “master plan,” a comprehensive strategy of how the city would like to grow in the future. Zoning is an important legal matter because it determines where you may build a commercial structure, open a new business, or construct a home or subdivision. Therefore, it is essential to understand how a local municipality’s zoning laws will affect your plans to build a new home or business. 

What are zoning laws? 

Zoning laws are legal ordinances that divide the land in a city or town into distinct sections, called districts. Zoning regulations specify what kinds of structures can be put in specific community areas, restricting the type of buildings allowed within the particular district. They also regulate the building size and location, such as how tall the building can be, lot size, density of the surrounding area, and square footage. 

Why are zoning laws necessary? 

Restricting the types of businesses and structures within a district allows for different enterprises to flourish. Zoning laws can influence the overall community structure and tone. For instance, by separating commercial zones from residential ones, homeowners can live in an area with limited traffic and less noise than if a commercial building was allowed in the same place. Zoning laws can also help restore and maintain the historic integrity of a particular area, as seen in the historic downtowns of many of the cities located in Central Florida. 

Local zoning districts 

Zoning districts may vary between individual cities, but generally, they fall into categories and subcategories of commercial and residential properties. For example, in Orange County, there are five zoning districts: 

Commercial 

This zoning district may include office spaces, wholesale commercial structures, retail shopping complexes, and stores. 

Industrial 

Industrial zones are for factories, manufacturing plants, and storage facilities. In Orange County, there are three subcategories of industrial zones: light, medium, and heavy. 

Residential 

Just like industrial districts, there are several subcategories within this zoning district as well. Residential communities may include specified rural areas, mobile home parks, University residential districts, urban villages, and residential subdivisions.  

Agricultural 

Agricultural zones include farmland. In Orange County, there is even a special denotation for citrus farming.

Rezoning

 If you are looking to open a business in an area that is not currently zoned for it, you can apply to amend the current zoning code. To apply to amend the zoning district, you will need to contact the county’s Planning Division. Suppose there is a disagreement about what type of district your business belongs to. In that case, there may need to be a public hearing where people can voice their opinions on the new construction. 

Central Florida zoning and land use attorneys 

The Boutty Law Firm offers experienced real estate attorneys who guide you through various real estate-related issues such as applying for the correct permits, negotiating, and litigating real estate issues. Contact our Maitland office at 407-622-1395 to get started. 

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