The In and Outs of Real Estate Law

Everyone licensed to sell real estate in the United States is required to take a real estate law course before sitting for the state real estate examination. This exam must be passed before a license to operate is granted by the state.

Every state in the US requires a real estate agent or broker to be licensed before being allowed to negotiate contracts between a buyer and a seller. Although conditions and terms differ between states, educational and licensing requirements are similar.

Some states make exceptions for attorneys, allowing them to be party to real estate transactions whether or not their legal expertise is in real estate law. The extensive training every attorney gets during his or her educational period and in the work done once admitted to the state bar association ensures competence in working fairly and ethically with real estate law and its contracts.

Some states require all real estate closings to be handled by a real estate law attorney. In other states, an attorney’s presence isn’t required although either the buyer or the seller at some point may have sought legal advice during the sale negotiations.

Real estate law covers the current situations that may affect property but it isn’t limited only to the present. Today’s laws are based on those established when a state or territory was founded. As laws evolved over time to accommodate the needs of the current situation, these changes influence today’s real estate law.

Understanding real estate law requires the agent, broker, or lawyer to know of any property disputes that may “cloud” the title to a given property. If ownership is disputed, no clear title can be granted and all contracts from the time of the dispute can be considered questionable.

Real estate law also covers issues such as right-of-way easements, mineral and water rights, and restrictions on the intended use of the property.

While the owner of a given property enjoys some freedoms of use of the land, he or she is bound by the municipal issues, including taxes, associated with the property, too. These municipal issues are defined in deeds and titles that are often quite confusing to the average property owner.

These issues, including the restrictions on the owner’s use of the property, are clearly understood by the agents, brokers, or attorneys who have studied the real estate law pertaining to a specific property.