Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

What a Short Sale Seller Needs to Know

For homeowners who are unable to keep up with their mortgage payments, there are only a few options available. If you are in this position, you may have been told that a “short sale” could work for you. Before diving in, make sure that you fully understand what a short sale entails and what it means for you in the short term and for the long-term.

A short sale offers you the opportunity to avoid foreclosure by selling your home for less that the amount that you owe on your mortgage.  In order to pursue a short sale, you need to get approval from your mortgage company, as selling your home in this way means that you will take all of the proceeds of the sale and use it to pay off as much of the amount that you owe them as the sale provides. Not every mortgage company is willing to accept these terms, and they may require you to put in additional money of your own to make up for the shortfall.

Though a short sale may seem like a poor solution to your financial situation, it does provide some benefits. A short sale is a viable alternative for those who are unable to arrange for a modification of their mortgage terms and who are not eligible to refinance at a more attractive interest rate. Whether your situation is simply that you have fallen so far behind on your mortgage payments that it will be impossible to catch up, or that you are facing some kind of personal situation that is not likely to fix itself anytime soon, finding yourself unable to make the payments you owe and unable to sell your house for enough money to cover your mortgage leaves you with few options, and a short sale is one that you need to consider.

If you are considering a short sale, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The process involves a significant amount of paperwork and documentation, as well as having to send your lender a letter confirming that you are going through financial hardships that will mean you can’t keep paying your mortgage. If the bank approves, you’ll get the advantage of being able to escape your situation without taking a hit on your credit score, plus in a short sale, the buyer assumes all of the fees. The disadvantages include the fact that you will be walking away from a significant investment with no cash in hand and that you are completely at the mercy of your lender for greenlighting the transaction.

For more information on pursuing a short sale, contact our experienced attorneys to set up a time to discuss your situation.

Can a Real Estate Law Attorney Help With HOA Problems

Homeowners Associations

Homeowner Associations, or HOAs, are increasingly popular in newly built communities. Though most people associate them with townhouse or condominium communities, they can also exist in developments. Though the intention of an HOA is to benefit the community by establishing rules and regulations, many people find the rules imposed on them objectionable or overly burdensome. If this happens to you, you may want to contact a real estate law attorney to see if they can help.

The rules that govern an individual HOA do not arise out of thin air. In most cases, they are established by the original property developer, with the residents that take on board positions later assuming responsibility for creating new rules or striking down old ones. The board is responsible for collecting and managing dues and enforcement of rules, all under state laws. Though HOAs generally strive to keep a community running smoothly and in good condition, some people chafe over rules regarding uniformity of properties or noise restrictions, or may want to challenge bylaws that limit the number or size of pets that they own, or whether they are permitted to hang a flag on their house or paint their shutters a different color. These community rules are contained in a document called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions that is given to all new buyers in a development and reading those documents prior to moving in is likely to help you understand what you are allowed or not allowed to do.

There are many circumstances where a real estate lawyer may be needed to deal with a Homeowners Association. Some of these include:

  • Changes to existing rules
  • Problems with open area or common area maintenance
  • Arguments with neighbors
  • Landscaping arguments
  • Issues involving decks, fences, trees or additions
  • Noise ordinance issues including loud music and parties or barking dogs
  • Failure to pay dues
  • Failure to maintain property
  • Parking issues
  • Pet issues

The most peaceful way to approach an HOA issue is to attend meetings and see whether you can resolve problems peacefully: you might even want to run for the board so that you can have more of a say in the rules. But if a dispute grows and you feel that legal action needs to be taken (or you need somebody to defend you), then a real estate law attorney can help. Contact our office today to set up an appointment and discuss what is happening in your community.


How to Avoid Legal Complications in Commercial Real Estate

In many cases, people get involved in commercial real estate for the first time without considering a lawyer. They assume anything they need can be Googled and that there is not immediate and practical use for a lawyer. However, a real estate lawyer can be the best protection from a slew of legal complications that easily arise when dealing with commercial real estate. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Liability for independent contractors
  • Homeowner Association disputes
  • Poorly constructed legal forms
  • Dishonest legal forms, or deceptive small print
  • Failure to disclose statements and related discrepancies
  • Illegal financial solicitation

There is no way to have no legal risk when getting into real estate, but understanding the regular issues and knowing the deceptive language that often takes place is a huge leg up. Even with a lawyer on your side, it is important to be prudent when getting into this type of business.

Cost Benefits

It is always better to avoid litigation, as it is expensive even when you are successful and takes time away from business. If you find yourself in a situation where litigation is on the horizon, it is important to look at the potential costs and consider which is the best route. A common example is renting a property. If a tenant breaks a lease and owes you money, it will often cost as much as they owe if not more to pursue the money. In that case, the cost benefits are much higher to let the back rent go.

Proper Due Diligence

Again, avoiding issues is always the best course of action. If you are a landlord, it is important to screen your tenants and ensure they have a cosigner or other guarantor when they do not meet your standards. Similarly, as a tenant, it is important to do proper research on a potential landlord as to avoid scams or someone who lets the property go to the wayside.

Arbitration Over Litigation

When possible, arbitration is a quicker and easier way to find a middle ground for everyone involved. Even further, most judges have little experience in the complicated world of commercial real estate law. This can lead to less time legally tied up and more time focused on your business.

If you are having real estate law issues, contact us today to get a seasoned legal team on your side.

First Time Buying Real Estate? What You Need to Know in Philadelphia

Whether you are looking at Center City or the more suburban feel of Northern or Southern Philadelphia, the city can be a great spot for first-time buyers. With lower costs than many other cities but an increasing market, buying a home in Philadelphia can be a great investment. Here are some of the top reasons to consider buying a home in Philadelphia.

Cheaper to Buy Than to Rent

With an average of $175,000 to buy a home, a 4.5 percent interest rate will yield a $900 mortgage payment each month. Comparatively, the median rent in the city sits around $1,300 and seems to increase as the years pass.

A Lot of Options

Currently, there is a long list of available properties for purchase in Philadelphia. With so many homes for sale, the options can seem limitless, regardless of which area of the city you aim to live in. This also makes it less competition among buyers, making the market more in their favor.

Focus on Rebuilding Downtown Areas

Philadelphia has entered a bit of a renaissance phase that has been making the city more valuable. Private developers have been expanding most neighborhoods and using empty lots and old buildings to create higher value. Buying now ensures your investment will have a huge turnover but you will get the lower value price.

Safe from Natural Disasters

Many cities in the country face natural disasters such as flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, making it hard to own and maintain a home. However, Philadelphia only sees mild natural disasters such as a winter blizzard or occasional hurricane in the summertime. This makes buying insurance much cheaper in the area.

Crime Rate is Dropping

Compared to Los Angeles and New York City, the crime rate is steadily dropping in Philadelphia. Between 2012 and 2013, NYC saw a 2.5 percent drop and LA saw a 3.7 percent drop. Philadelphia, however, saw a 7 percent drop in crime during those same years.  Of course, crime rate depends on which area you live in, making it important to check out the neighborhood before making a purchase.

If you are considering buying a new home, it pays to have an attorney on your side. At Reinherz Law, we understand how to best navigate the process of buying a home and have years of experience to bring to the table. Contact us today to find out how we can help you buy your first home in Philadelphia.

What Your Real Estate Lawyer Wishes You Knew

Lawyers are ethically required to have your best interests in mind, but there are some things they wish their clients knew before entering the arena of real estate law. Clients that have a better understanding of what their real estate lawyer does on a regular day are often more satisfied with the work that is done, and have a better view on what is expected of them as a client.

While it is nearly impossible for clients to have the full scope of the day-to-day grind as a real estate lawyer, there are a few things to understand about your real estate lawyer’s daily duties to ensure you get the most out of your legal investment.

Don’t Wait for a Phone Call

If something comes up, call your real estate attorney as soon as possible. When a client comes to a law firm after already having already decided to sign paperwork, there is very little that can be done. When the client takes the reigns and comes to the lawyer with questions and concerns, everyone is better informed and can work toward finding the best outcome.

Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Not all lawyers practice the same law. While going by word of mouth recommendations is common, finding a lawyer that handles the specific area of law you are looking for is good practice.

A Typical Day

There is no real typical day for a real estate attorney, since each day varies on the stage of the process and type of real estate involved. One day, an attorney could focus on performing due diligence such as reviewing titles, surveys, third-party reports, and other important documents. The following day, the same attorney could spend the whole time drafting and reviewing legal documents. This can range from loan documents to leases.

Attorneys do More than Realtors

In most cases, an attorney acts more in the interest of ensuring everything is legal. Additionally, they can help with unusual terms for a purchase agreement and provide better legal advice than a real estate agent, as they have better law expertise.

If you are considering a more complicated purchase agreement, talk to one of our South Jersey real estate lawyers at Reinherz & Reinherz today. Our team handles specific law issues that real estate agents may not be privy to, and can ensure all documents are legally binding and fair.

Short Sale Process in New Jersey

short sale process in new jersey

New Jersey is one of the most desirable places to live in the country, but finding a home that falls within your budget can be a real challenge. Many potential home buyers have turned to short sales as an option that holds attractions for both the buyer and the seller. The seller of a short sale property has generally fallen far behind on their mortgage payments and is facing the risk of bankruptcy or foreclosure. A short sale offers them the opportunity to avoid those consequences, and offers the buyer a chance to purchase a home for well below what its market value should be. But the process can be complicated and arduous. If you are considering a short sale process in New Jersey from either side of the table, it is a good idea to have an experienced attorney representing your interests and guiding you through the steps.

The essential thing about a short sale that you need to understand is that the owner of the home has proven unable to pay the bank what they owe them, and they are trying to negotiate a deal in which the bank will accept less than what they are owed in order to satisfy the debt and/or stop a foreclosure from happening. This means that unlike a normal sale, there needs to be agreement from the home’s owner and from the bank – and even when it looks like this is going to happen, it can suddenly fall through.

The short sale process starts with a homeowner/seller that is facing a hardship such as bankruptcy, job loss or reduced income, a medical emergency or a divorce. They will propose a short sale to their lender by preparing a financial package according to the lender’s guidelines. This package will usually include a statement of hardship, a letter of authorization allowing the seller’s agent to speak to the bank, a financial statement, a preliminary closing letter, 2 years of tax returns, bank statements and W-2s, 30 days of payroll stubs, and an analysis of comparable home sales.

The seller then needs to wait for a response from the bank, and this can take a very long time. A buyer who truly wants the short sale home may need to be extremely patient. Once the bank has acknowledged receipt of the package, they will assign it to a negotiator and order a broker price opinion, or BPO, on the property. The file is then reviewed and the bank may require the signature of certain forms. Once this is accomplished and if all goes well, the bank will issue a short sale approval letter. Only then can the transaction be complete.

As you can see, whether you are a seller hoping to be able to avoid foreclosure or a buyer hoping to purchase a home at a bargain price, the New Jersey short sale process can be very frustrating. The best way to prepare for it is to work with an experienced attorney from Reinherz Law who can make sure that all of your paperwork is in order and provide you with a clear expectation and guidance.

What to Consider When Looking for a South Jersey Real Estate Attorney

Though most people who need a real estate attorney are looking for help with the purchase or sale of residential or commercial property, real estate attorneys do far more than that. Their practice extends to land use, development, leasing contracts, financing, and litigation. If you are looking for a real estate attorney in South Jersey, there are a number of things that you should take into consideration, including their experience and knowledge in the particular area that you need help with.

South Jersey Real Estate Lawyer David Reinherz

If you are looking for a real estate attorney to help you purchase or sell a home, it is important that you choose a professional who has extensive experience. This is particularly true when the purchase is complicated by short sale or foreclosure. Real estate agents are not qualified or allowed to provide you with legal advice, so it is vital that you have somebody who you can rely upon to act as your advocate and guide. In order to determine whether a real estate lawyer has the knowledge and qualifications that you are looking for, it is a good idea to meet with them and ask them the following questions:

  • How much experience do you have in practicing real estate law? You want to make sure that beyond having graduated from an accredited law school, they have practiced for several years and are familiar with real estate law in your state.
  • How many transactions like yours has the attorney handled? Though many lawyers have handled straightforward transactions, if your case is complicated you want to make sure that the lawyer isn’t ‘learning as they go” on your case.
  • What additional benefits can working with you provide me in my real estate transaction?
  • What is your billing process? It is important that you clarify exactly how your real estate attorney will bill you before you begin to work with them. Some work on a flat fee basis, while others work on an hourly basis.
  • Will you be the person who is working on my case, or will someone else be doing the work? If you are choosing a professional based upon the sense of comfort you feel with them, then you want to make sure that you’re not going to be handed off to somebody else at a later point.

David Reinherz of Reinherz Law is an experienced, knowledgeable Philadelphia/South Jersey real estate attorney who not only has years of experience practicing real estate law; he also has his real estate license, and investment experience as well. He is extremely knowledgeable about the real estate market and all phases of the sales and acquisition process. David has earned a reputation for providing his clients with comprehensive and attentive legal representation. He takes his time to answer all questions, making sure that his clients are comfortable with what is going on and that he is addressing all of their concerns and priorities.

To set up an appointment with David to discuss your real estate law needs, contact Reinherz Law today. Call 856-302-3989.


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