realtor handing keys to a couple inside their new house

Do You Need a Lawyer to Buy Real Estate?

Do you really need a lawyer to buy real estate? Or is it more of a nice-to-have? This isn’t a black and white answer, but first let’s start with the high level view. 

Do You Need an Attorney to Buy Real Estate?

The short answer is that it depends. Some states require you to have an attorney to file the paperwork. Many states don’t require an attorney. To find out if your state needs one, simply ask your real estate agent. You can also look on Google, but sometimes it’s better to get your information from the direct source.

So if an attorney isn’t always required, why do so many people use them when they buy a home? In our opinion, everyone should hire an attorney when they buy or sell a house. There are two main reasons why we say that. 

Why Should You Hire an Attorney to Buy a Home?

The first reason why you should hire an attorney to help buy a house is to manage the paperwork. There is a lot of paperwork involved in buying a home. You want to make sure someone who knows what they’re doing is there to help you handle everything. 

Something else to keep in mind is that legal issues can come up. While your agent may be good at negotiating things, they may not be law experts.

Attorneys are also very detail-oriented. They have sharp eyes and will be able to find flaws or mistakes in the various papers involved in the transaction. A real estate agent may be trained to catch certain flaws, but a lawyer may be able to better catch flaws or mistakes within the various papers. A home is likely the largest purchase you will make in your life and you can’t be too careful.

How Do You Choose an Attorney to Work With?

Once you’ve decided you’re going to use an attorney, there are several ways to find the best one to work with. 

Look at Online Reviews – What do various reviews online say about real estate attorneys in your area? Do people give them great marks, saying they’ll work with the office again? Or do they give negative reviews saying the attorney was slow, unresponsive, hard to work with, or anything else that would make you hesitate?

Ask Your Agent- Your agent is likely closing on houses on a regular basis. They’re used to sitting in these types of meetings with attorneys and know who the good ones are. They should be able to recommend one or two good ones to you. 

Ask Friends and Family – People you know may be able to give some recommendations. The main benefit of asking them is they see it from a client perspective, just like you will. 

At the end of the day, not everyone needs a real estate attorney, but we highly recommend you invest in one, because buying a home is an expensive, complex process and having an extra set of eyes is always a good thing. If you still need an attorney to help you, please send us an email at Info@voneschlaw.com or give us a call at 714.456.9118. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Courtesy of Cuselleration

A house cut in half

What is Property and Business Division?

In a divorce, what is property and business division? At a high level, it’s just like it sounds. It refers to how much of a couple’s property is divided between the two parties, as well as how a business is divided. This can be tricky though, as there are a number of factors that go into the division. 

Property Division – The Basics

During a divorce, most of the assets owned by the couple are considered to be jointly owned. These can be both physical assets and monetary assets. For example:

  • Homes (houses, condos, townhouses)
  • Furniture
  • Cars
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Precious metals such as gold or silver
  • Collections and antiques
  • Jewelry

Because these items make up the bulk of wealth for most families, they play a significant role in the property division part of the divorce. That said, there are a few exceptions that arise from time to time. 

Property and Business Division – The Exceptions

Even though most of the assets owned by a family are considered during a divorce, some tend to be left out and remain in the hands of a particular owner. Here are the most common exceptions.

  • Property owned prior to the marriage. Note that if the spouse is added to the title, this is more likely to be considered an asset that can be divided during the divorce. 
  • Pain and suffering money received from a personal injury judgement, assuming it wasn’t put into a joint account or all spent. 
  • An inheritance received by one spouse, assuming it isn’t incorporated into the rest of the family’s assets such as using cash to buy mutual funds in a joint account.
  • A gift received by one spouse from a third party. For example if your in-laws buy a car for your spouse and it’s only in their name. 

Notice a theme? The general theme is that if assets get brought into the family and are considered owned by both parties, it won’t be an exception anymore. 

Business division is also something that can get messy.

Business Division in a Divorce

Several things go into the business division in a divorce. 

First – Is it operated by just one spouse who started the business before the couple was married? If so, there is a better chance the business will not need to be divided. Even though the income from the business may be considered during the alimony and financial support piece of the divorce, the business and its assets may not need to be split between the couple.

What if the business was started during the marriage, and both spouses participate? Maybe they both work for the business or maybe both owners tend to use the business funds as their own personal money to pay for things like meals, clothes, cars or vacations. In those cases, the court is more likely to have the business divided up. 

Every property and business division case is different. For more personalized advice and guidance, please give us a call at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com

Courtesy of Cuselleration