Real Estate Law

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What is Real Estate Law?

Real estate law is the area of law that governs buying, using and selling land. It’s the law that governs how people acquire property and what they can do with the property that they own. Real estate law is also called real property law.

Real estate law is called real estate because it’s about real property. Real property is land as opposed to personal property which is objects. Fixtures that are permanently on the land like buildings or other large structures are also a part of real property. There are many different aspects of real estate law like deeds, titles, purchase financing, zoning, taxes and estate planning.

Real estate law is state law

Lawyers who practice real estate law must know the state law that applies to their case. State laws are the primary laws that apply to real estate. There are some federal laws that universally apply to real estate law throughout the United States like the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. However, most real estate law comes from state laws. Real estate law can vary considerably from one state to the next. Attorneys in the field must know how to identify the law that applies and be careful of any nuances that are unique to state or local law.

What is a deed in real estate law?

A deed in real estate law is a document that gives someone a legal right to real property. A deed is the official document that grants an ownership interest in land. Most states have laws that govern how to create, execute and record a deed. A deed must be drafted carefully with a clear description of the property and the type of ownership that the parties are transferring.

Sometimes, a deed comes with a promise that the owner has a valid title to the property. A deed with that kind of guarantee is called a warranty deed. Other times, a property owner just wants to release any interest that they may have in a deed if they even have any ownership interest at all. That kind of deed is a quitclaim deed.

The kind of deed that you receive is crucial to the type of purchase that you make when you acquire property. A real estate attorney must know how to research title to a property and advise their client on the type of transaction they’re considering. If a buyer learns after the fact that the seller doesn’t actually have the title that they sold, the result can be litigation and other claims of damages.