A real estate lawyer in Santa Monica, California is typically familiar with the federal laws — and more commonly, state laws and municipal laws relevant to their region of practice — related to property and the transfer or maintenance of property.
Disputes arising between tenants and landlords, mortgage or title disputes or situations where a foreclosure or seizure of property is being contested may involve both parties seeking the services of an experienced real estate lawyer to represent their side of the case. Injuries incurred by a visitor to one's home or property may also fall under the broader umbrella of real estate law, as there are statutes laid out in most jurisdictions for these types of cases.
There are two types of property: real property and personal property. "Real property," often referred to as just property is land and the fixtures on the land.
Specifically, real property is land and ordinarily anything on the land including buildings and crops. Land usually includes not only the face of the earth but also everything of a permanent nature over or under it, including minerals, oil and gases.
Personal property, on the other hand, is anything other than land that you might own, including stocks, money, notes, intellectual property and intangible property.
If you are facing a court case involving matters pertaining to real estate, it would be highly advised that you immediately seek the services of a skilled attorney familiar with this area of law. Real estate law can be difficult to understand and often involve extensive time and work toward fact-finding and tracking down of documentation that can be difficult to accomplish on your own.
An experienced real estate lawyer can help to lessen this burden, employing their experience and expertise to make sure you have the best outcome.
When a piece of property is sold, real estate brokers or agents are often hired by the seller to obtain a buyer for a property. Real estate brokers, agents and salespeople are licensed and regulated by local state laws.
A real estate agreement between a buyer and seller of real estate is governed by general principles of contract law and individual state laws. The sale or transfer of real property is almost always required to be in writing. It is often required in real estate contracts that the title to the property sold be "marketable." An attorney or a title insurance company is frequently employed to investigate a title's legal marketability.
In order to pass the title, a deed with a proper description of the land must be executed and delivered. Some states require that the deed be officially recorded to establish ownership of the property and/or provide notice of its transfer to subsequent purchasers.
Consider the following:
- Are you comfortable telling the lawyer personal information? Does the lawyer seem interested in solving your problem?
- How long has the lawyer been in practice? Has the lawyer worked on other cases similar to yours?
- How are the lawyer's fees structured - hourly or flat fee? Can the lawyer estimate the cost of your case?
- Is the lawyer's office conveniently located near you?
Many people who need to find a lawyer in California have never hired a lawyer before. Talking to a lawyer may be a new experience and you might want some help getting started. Here are some questions you may want to ask a lawyer before deciding who to hire.
What is your main practice area?
How many years of experience do you have in California with cases like mine?
How often do you take cases to trial or settle them out of court?
Can I take my case through mediation or arbitration?
Do you offer a free consultation?
What are your fees and costs?
Will you be the attorney primarily handling my case?
How will I be kept up-to-date about my case?
In order to practice law in California, attorneys have to both pass the California bar exam and be admitted by the State Bar of California. Most attorneys in California graduate from an accredited law school but some lawyers are admitted through on-the-job experience for a minimum of 4 years and through passing an additional legal exam. After a lawyer is admitted to law practice in California, they can practice in almost any area of law.
Lawyers in California are held to strict ethical guidelines known as the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys may have duties and limitations in:
Duty of client advocacy
Conflicts of interest
Duty of candor
Limitations in soliciting clients
Restrictions on handling a client's money
Many people avoid calling a lawyer because they are worried it will be too expensive. In many cases, a lawyer can end up saving the client money. This includes getting an increased award, recovering additional damages, avoiding financial problems in the future, and avoiding future disputes and litigation. Some legal areas even allow the lawyer to recover legal fees from the party at fault.