The simplest definition of real estate is land and the buildings which are situated on it, and real estate law governs all aspects of who may own that land and make use of it for whatever reasons. However, from there real estate law branches out diversely, including a number of different disciplines and legal areas. First off, real estate can be either commercial or residential, and it can be used by persons who are not the owners, if there are rental agreements which stipulate that.
Real estate can be purchased and sold, and there are a great many laws and regulations in place which help to ensure that such transactions are carried out fairly and legally. Land can also be owned by more than a single party, and it can be passed on to heirs via estate planning. Concerning the usage of land areas, state and local governments will generally establish zoning laws whic govern how land may be used in specific areas, e.g. for farming, residences, business, etc.
Related areas of legal practice
Real estate law broadens out considerably after embracing the primary ‘land and buildings’ concept. For instance, there is a whole related field on tax law, which is concerned with the taxes which must be paid on real estate assets. Insurance law governs all those issues related to the purchasing and owning of homeowner’s insurance, necessary to protect the real estate against financial loss.
Personal injury law deals with those situations resulting from accidents and injuries which occur on someone’s property. Landlord and tenant law is another separate field of legal practice which is associated with all the issues that can arise between landlords and tenants, including leases, rent monies, and evictions. Estate planning law is an area which is very important to people who want to retain real estate within the family, and desire to legally pass on the property to their heirs.
The role of attorneys
Strictly speaking, it is not necessary for an attorney to be involved with every single real estate transaction, although it is almost always beneficial to the parties concerned. An attorney will be able to review any real estate contract and ensure that it is fair to his/her client, and there are no legal improprieties contained within the agreement. An attorney may also advise a client on mortgaging options, so that the best possible arrangement can be made with a seller.
One of the most important services which a lawyer may bring to a real estate transaction is a thorough review of any property’s history. This will discover any other parties who may have a claim to the property, so that no subsequent claims are made after a purchase has been transacted. For the average person who isn’t well-versed in real estate law, an attorney can bring great value to the process, and ensure that all the legal nuances governing the transaction have been accounted for.