Real Estate

West Michigan real estate attorneyFew transactions are as consequential as those involving real estate, and few areas of the law cross as many disciplines and implicate as many issues. Whether a purchase or sale of real property proceeds smoothly and whether a buyer or seller reaps the anticipated rewards of their investment often depends on their attorney’s skill, judgment, and counsel.

Kreis Enderle’s seasoned real estate lawyers understand what’s at stake for those buying, selling, or investing in residential or commercial property in Michigan. Through our involvement in countless successful real estate transactions, we understand the meticulous drafting, attention to detail, and complete grasp of applicable law that are indispensable elements of effective real estate representation. Proactive in our approach and comprehensive in our due diligence, we can recognize and address potential problems before they become impediments.

We pride ourselves on efficiently consummating even the most complex real estate transactions without avoidable complications. Our lawyers work closely and collaboratively with all parties involved in a transaction – lenders, developers, brokers, contractors, local governments, and zoning boards – to protect our clients’ interests and facilitate successful, timely, and trouble-free closings.

Of course, not all real estate transactions proceed without incident. When disputes involving real estate arise, Kreis Enderle’s real estate attorneys and litigators also bring an effective combination of experience, ingenuity, and thorough analysis to assist clients in resolving conflicts.

Kreis Enderle’s full suite of commercial and residential real estate representation includes:

  • Purchase and sale agreements.
  • Real estate due diligence, including environmental studies and survey issues.
  • Real estate construction and development.
  • Real estate financing and lending.
  • Zoning and land use.
  • Title insurance and quiet title litigation.
  • Easements.
  • Adverse possession.
  • Mortgage foreclosure.
  • Condemnation and eminent domain proceedings.
  • Real estate litigation.

Real property lawReal Property FAQs:

Do I need an attorney to represent me when buying or selling real estate?

In Michigan, many real estate transactions proceed to closing through real estate brokers without involving attorneys. Instead, brokers typically bring buyers and sellers together and use form contracts with assistance from a local title insurance company to close and insure the transaction. However, purchasing or selling real estate without counsel can leave some matters unaddressed or expose both buyer and seller to potential post-closing issues.

What is title insurance, and why is it so important for a real estate buyer?

When you buy a home or other piece of real estate, title insurance can protect you (and your mortgage lender) against unknown defects encumbering otherwise free and clear ownership of the property. This can include such things as another person or entity claiming an ownership interest, liens, encumbrances, easements, fraud, forgery, improperly recorded documents, and other items specified in the title insurance policy. The lack of a clear title can compromise the property’s marketability or leave a potential buyer unable to obtain financing to purchase the property, which, in turn, may later prevent the owner from selling the property.

During the title insurance underwriting process, title agents search records reflecting mortgages, utility assessments, taxes, mechanics liens, wills, divorce settlements, and other matters affecting title to the property. However, the search and examination process may not reveal all defects, and understanding the title insurance commitment is critical.  Having title insurance does not necessarily mean that an owner owns the real estate “free and clear” including marketable title thereto. Thus, it is critical to read and understand the title insurance commitment and all exceptions to title shown in the title commitment. In Michigan, the seller generally pays for the title insurance policy issued to a buyer at closing.

Who pays the property taxes when a Michigan real estate transaction closes?

Property taxes are generally prorated (shared) between the buyer and seller for the year in which closing occurs, based on how long each party owned the property. This generally applies to real property taxes, any corresponding personal property taxes, and related water, sewer, and utility charges. It is important to obtain final bills for all expenses so they can be split and shown on the closing statement signed by the buyer and seller at closing.  In many commercial transactions a closing escrow account is established to cover, pay and prorate these expenses post-closing, as up-to-date calculations are not always available as of the closing date.

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