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What to Do When you Have Real Estate Disputes

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.
Most real estate disputes are

Most real estate disputes are litigious in nature, very specialized, and unfortunately, require legal advice and the assistance of a real estate lawyer. It is important to recognize the different types of real estate disputes that may arise and what your options are for an appropriate remedy.

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

When do you need a real estate attorney? A real estate attorney is especially recommended when the legal issue is complex. Some less common issues may include:

  • Oil and gas rights
  • Riparian rights (i.e., access to water)
  • Beachfront property
  • Easements
  • Adverse Possession
  • Historical property
  • Preserved property (i.e., farm preservation)
  • Zoning and/or land use disputes

Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney?

If you need legal help with a real estate transaction, set up a FREE consultation today.

However, some of the more common issues may involve property line disputes, and real estate transactions involving buying and selling property with the closing process.

Property Line Disputes

A property line dispute or neighbor fence dispute may involve you and your neighbor having different assumptions about the extent of your property. What causes boundary disputes? A property line dispute or estate dispute can also be for more technical reasons; perhaps your neighbor’s deed actually shows possession of the same bit of land over which your deed ostensibly gives you possession. In that example, you will need legal assistance who is familiar with property disputes.

If you are unable to resolve your property line disputes with your neighbors, you will need an experienced property attorney to advocate for you. Property line disputes may not be as easy as surveying the property. In fact, you may be asking, “In a property line dispute who pays for the survey?”. The answer depends on how good your property dispute lawyer is.

If negotiation fails, you may be left with having to file suit. There are generally two types of lawsuits (or “causes of action”) related to boundary conflicts.

First, you can sue for a continuing trespass or ejectment. In a continuing trespass or ejectment action, you are asking a judge to find that your neighbor is trespassing on your land, and further ordering that the neighbor remove him- or herself and any possessions. This type of lawsuit can win you money damages in some cases, especially if you can show that the value of your home has been diminished by your neighbor’s extensive, continuous occupation over part of your land.

Second, you can sue for a declaratory judgment. A declaratory judgment is a way to put your dispute in front of a judge, and have the judge make a legal determination as to whether or not you own the subject land. A declaratory judgment is, perhaps, a less aggressive form of litigation, since it does not ordinarily include an award of money damages (unlike trespass). It simply entails a neutral jurist making a determination based on the applicable deeds and laws.

Rather than go to court, your real estate property attorney may suggest alternative dispute resolutions such as real estate mediation or real estate arbitration as an alternative to Court. However, if you do proceed to trial, your real estate attorney should be experienced with similar boundary disputes. Accordingly, you will need not just an ordinary property dispute attorney, but will want to deal with property boundary dispute lawyers that have the experience and know-how to arrive at a settlement of the boundary dispute.

Real Estate Transactions

One of the most common usage of real estate attorneys is for real estate transactions, whether it is buying or selling property.

When it comes to selling your own home in New York state, you can’t just expect to put a for sale in the front yard and expect everything will be okay. You will require legal aid from one that is familiar with estate plans and real estate law.

First, your real estate lawyer will prepare the contract of sale. Most sellers’ attorneys start with a standardized form and then add a rider with additional terms to be negotiated with the buyers.

Once the attorneys have finalized the contract, sellers and buyers will sign it, and the buyers will send the seller’s attorney a downpayment, which the buyer may lose if they walk away from the deal without a reason contemplated by the contract. Typically, in New York State, the downpayment is for 10% of the purchase price, and the seller attorney will deposit this amount into their escrow account.

Your real estate lawyer must be familiar with New York real estate law.

Represent the Buyer

If you are going to buy a home, you will need an experienced real estate lawyer who is familiar with real estate transactions to represent the buyer. Not only will a real estate lawyer work with the home inspector to ensure the property meets the buyers’ expectations, but the attorney can help negotiate with the seller if any issues arise.

In addition, high-end real estate may be subject to several liens, encumbrances, or judgments. A proper title search by an experienced real estate lawyer is the best way to ensure that these issues do not pass to the buyer on settlement day.

If you are interested in purchasing a home, before you submit an offer, you’ll definitely want to consult a real estate lawyer so they can consult you on it. Failure to do so may result in your offer being rejected because it wasn’t communicated properly, or worse yet, being accepted and since your offer wasn’t drafted properly, you’re negatively impacted.

Upon acceptance of buyer’s offer, it is customary for the seller’s attorney to prepare the Contract of Sale. The job of the Buyer’s attorney then is to review the contract in detail, make the necessary changes and make sure that it’s safe to sign for the buyer.

Having legal representation when purchasing a home is not only necessary, but in New York, it’s highly recommended. Real estate law firms not only provide legal advice, but may also assist in the loan documentation process, but also assist in the next process, the closing.

Closing Process

Whether you purchase or are the seller, the closing is the most important aspect and you will need an experienced real estate closing attorney to assist you. After the contract is signed, your real estate closing attorney will need to do several things to prepare for a closing. First, the attorney will review the title report ordered by the buyers’ attorney to see if there are any issues that must be resolved before a closing. These may include liens or violations against the property. Second, your attorney will prepare all of the closing documents, including the deed and transfer tax returns. Third, your attorney will calculate the amounts owed at closing.

If you had a mortgage, your attorney will request a pay-off letter to determine the amount owed to your lender. Your attorney will also calculate the closing costs that you owe and proceeds owed to you by the buyers.

Finally, your real estate closing attorney will represent you at the closing, advising you on the documents that you are signing and making sure that all payments are accurately made. Since so much is involved in selling and purchasing real estate property, it is highly recommended that you don’t just hire a local real estate attorney, but hire an experienced real estate attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in NY real estate law, the New York property condition disclosure act, real estate transactions, the closing process, and who have had years of experience representing both buyers and sellers.

Law Office of Yuriy Moshes

At Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, P.C., we are experienced and knowledgeable and are one of the top real estate law firms in NYC because we keep up-to-date with the NY real estate law, NY real estate commission law, and NY real estate law. We represent all types of real estate property disputes for both buyers and sellers in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, Long Island (Suffolk County and Nassau County), Upstate New York as well as Northern New Jersey. If you’re selling or purchasing your home or require a property dispute lawyer, you should contact the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, P.C.

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