For Sale By Owner Contracts
We have helped thousands of individuals sell and buy their homes by themselves and we work to simplify the entire process for our clients. At the same time we protect you from potential liability. There are numerous laws in Maryland which regulate the sale of a residence. For example, the contract of sale must be in writing in order to be enforceable. If the written contract does not contain certain disclosures even a written contract may not be enforceable by a seller. If a contract does not contain certain language regarding the payment of transfer and recordation taxes a party could end up paying thousands of dollars more than they expected. We can help you navigate the sales process from the preparation of the contract of sale all the way through the actual settlement. We provide a free initial consultation.
Residential Closings/Escrow Services
Our office has performed over 10,000 real estate settlements. We can assist you with all types of real estate settlements-purchase and sale settlements, refinances, and new construction. We have experience handling cash settlements, as well as settlements involving conventional financing, FHA and VA financing, and reverse mortgages. We can prepare the documents required for seller take back financing. We will review your contract of sale for you if needed, order the title abstract and review the title, coordinate settlement with your lender, real estate agent and other parties, prepare the necessary settlement documents and conduct the closing.
Our firm offers a full range of commercial settlement services, including the purchase and sale contract and loan document preparation and review, title examination, title insurance issuance and the actual closing. We can advise you how to structure your financing so as to limit certain closing costs such as recordation taxes. We have handled closings ranging in value from $100,000.00 to $30,000,000.00, and all types of commercial transactions including conduit financing, SBA 504 loans, HUD financing, construction loans, A&D loans, builder loans, and commercial office building financing. Our attorneys are familiar with commercial loan documents and processing and often prepare the documents for commercial lenders and advice them on commercial closing issues.
Our firm offers deed preparation services. A deed generally transfers one of your most valuable assets – your real estate. So in preparing deeds, we will ensure that clients understand if gift tax issues arise as a result of a deed transfer or if a deed will trigger a default of a mortgage.
Title certifications are required in a variety of transactions. Lenders require them for certain loans. The Department of Public Works and the Metropolitan Commission require them in connection with public works agreements and property dedications. Planning and Zoning and the County Attorney’s office may require them in connection with the certification of transferable development rights. Our office can order the title abstract, review the title and issue the certification in the proper format as required by these various parties.
Commercial leases substantially differ from residential leases in that they are not subject to consumer protection laws, they are not standardized and are often subject to extensive negotiation. Attorneys in our office have over twenty years experience representing both landlords and tenants in drafting and negotiating commercial leases, ranging from single tenant commercial leases to multi-tenant office building leases and shopping center leases. If a tenant, we can make sure the lease is suitable for your business. If you are a landlord, we can prepare leases for specific tenants or prepare a form lease which you will be able to use for multiple tenants.
Many individuals use form leases from local stores or online for their residential leases, thinking these are “good enough.” These forms may work . . . until an issue with the tenant arises and the lease needs to be enforced in court. Our office has experience representing landlords in court, and knows what provisions should be included in your lease. We can prepare a specific lease with provisions that are tailored for a lease with option to buy or prepare a more generic lease that you could use over and over for a property that you intend to lease over a period of years. It is important that you remember, as a landlord, to periodically have your lease updated and reviewed as you should be providing all necessary disclosures to your tenant under the law.
Like Kind Exchanges
Dugan, McKissick, Wood & Longmore, L.L.C. represents clients in all aspects of “Like Kind Exchanges,” also known as “Tax Deferred Exchanges,” made pursuant Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. These exchanges, in the appropriate circumstances, allow individuals selling property that is used for investment and business related purposes to defer capital gains taxes that otherwise would be assessed as a result of the sale of such properties. We assist clients by giving general advice regarding whether a like kind exchange would be appropriate in their individual cases, as well as in drafting the necessary agreements and related documents necessary to effectuate the exchanges.
Our attorneys represent clients is a wide array of environmental law matters. Our services include assisting clients with the legal aspects of obtaining permits and approval for development and for specific activities, as well as representing clients in disputes with local and state agencies for alleged environmental violations. In this role, we work with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Soil Conservation District, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Maryland Critical Area Commission, as well as similar local and county agencies that address these issues.
We represent property owners and other clients in a wide variety of zoning and land use related matters. These range from assisting in clients in understanding how their property is zoned and what this means for their intended use of the property, to representing clients before various county agencies and board, including local Planning Commissions and Boards of Appeals. We assist clients in seeking and obtaining all kinds of zoning approvals, including site plan approval, subdivision approval, general and critical area variances, special exceptions, and conditional uses. We also represent clients in appeals and judicial reviews in instances when the county or state renders decisions that are adverse to our clients’ interests. Our clients include individuals developing their personal property, business owners building a new commercial building, as well as large scale residential subdivision, commercial office and shopping center developers.
Maryland Critical Areas Law
If you own property located within 1000 feet of the head of tide in Maryland then you are subject to Maryland’s Critical Areas Law. This law is designed to improve water quality and protect wildlife habitat in Maryland’s tidal shorelines and is regulated both by local and State laws. The law imposes severe restrictions on building and construction activities through limits on clearing and lot coverage and the location of structures. Activities in the critical areas buffer, which ranges from a minimum of a 100’ to sometimes several hundred feet, are even more restricted and in many cases any disturbance in the buffer, including clearing brush or grading, is prohibited. We can assist you both in ensuring that the use of your property complies with the regulations, or obtain variances from the regulations. Our attorneys regularly work with local zoning departments regarding critical areas issues and can represent you before the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals and other regulatory agencies.
Transferable Development Rights (TDRs)
In certain instances an owner can sell development rights off of his or her property to a third party thereby allowing that person to develop his or her property to a greater density than would normally be allowed. These rights are called “transferable development rights” or “TDRs”. For example, in St. Mary’s County you usually have one TDR for each five acres of undeveloped land you own which is zoned Rural Preservation District. Conversely, in St. Mary’s County you need TDRs to subdivide your RPD property after your first lot, or to increase the allowed amount of commercial development in other zoning districts. Individuals in our office helped to draft the current TDR ordinance in St. Mary’s County and are familiar with the nuances of the regulations. We have handled numerous TDR transactions in St. Mary’s County and Calvert County, and can help prepare the contract for the sale of the TDRs, the instruments necessary to sever and transfer the TDRs as well as the required title searches and certifications.
If the state or local government takes your land for any reason the United States and Maryland Constitution requires the government to give your fair compensation for your property. The process when the government takes your land can be confusing. In fact the process is different for each government entity and depending on whether they are taking land for a road or for some other public purpose. In certain instances, you may even be able to challenge the actual taking of your land. It is important to have competent legal counsel to assist through this process, and our attorneys can assist you to make sure you are being fairly compensated for your property.
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Other Practice Areas
- Business Law
- Criminal Law
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
- Government Contracts
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate
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