OHIO REAL ESTATE LAW

Whether you are buying, selling or leasing real estate or dealing with other issues relating to real estate that you own, we, at Fusco, Mackey, Mathews & Gill, have the experience and knowledge to provide you with advice and representation you need.

BUYING REAL ESTATE

One of the questions clients purchasing real estate often ask is whether they need an attorney if they are working with a realtor. The simple answer is that in most cases it is wise to have legal counsel whose sole job is to protect your interests. Keep in mind that while most realtors who represent the buyer’s side of the deal are very dedicated to protecting their clients’ interests, they do not receive a commission unless the sale happens.

If you are going to have an attorney represent you, it is best to get the attorney involved at the beginning of the process before you sign a purchase contract. Your attorney can review the offer written by your realtor before it gets delivered to the seller’s agent and sometimes add language to better protect you and meet your objectives. Your attorney will be available to assist you in evaluating and responding to any counteroffers prepared by the seller and then represent you at the closing. We typically meet with the buyer-clients prior to closing to review all the documents you’ll be signing. This allows us the opportunity to explain and for you to understand what you will be signing without the pressure of having the seller, realtors, and closing officer waiting for you to sign. It also permits us to correct any errors in advance so the actual closing can be more brief and efficient.

NEW CONSTRUCTION

The need for a buyer to seriously consider having legal counsel is most critical when one is planning to contract with a builder to build a house or purchase a builders spec home (one that has not been previously sold). Again, the best time to involve your attorney is at the contracting stage. Although most builders’ contracts are drafted to solely protect the builder’s interests, many builders will negotiate on some contract terms.

Among rights you should bargain for, if possible, are the right to: have a professional of your choosing periodically inspect the construction, to approve of substituted materials, withhold a portion of the purchase price for major work not completed before closing, or delays closing until work is substantially completed, and terminate the contract if the work is not completed on the ultimate “drop dead” date. These rights and others are not written into most construction contracts. In fact, some contracts even have a provision that if you move into the house, you waive your right to assert any claims against the builder for defective work.

Your attorney will also review the builder’s warranty and advice you as to what rights you have and don’t have under the warranty. You should know that whether or not a builder offers a written warranty, Ohio law imposes a duty on all builders to construct the home in a “workmanlike manner”, i.e. it must meet the standards of the industry.

CONDOMINIUMS

If you are purchasing a condominium property, it is advisable to have an attorney review and explain to you the condominium documents. There will be a lengthy Declaration and set of By-Laws. There are always restrictions on your use of your unit, often including restrictions or limitations on renting the unit you are buying; where you and guests can park cars; use of satellite dishes; and making any changes to your unit.

EXISTING (PRE-OWNED) HOMES

Even if you are purchasing an existing, pre-owned property, your attorney will not only help you at the contracting stage, but can advise and assist you through the home inspection process. There are specific deadlines for completing inspections, submitting a request to the seller to remedy significant defects and to terminate the contract it if the seller refuses to do so.

SELLING REAL ESTATE

While the need for legal advice is often less apparent when you are selling real estate, issues do arise that create a need for representation.

If you are selling the property “by owner”, then your attorney can greatly assist you in the contracting stage and advise you as you receive offers from prospective buyers. On occasion, a buyer will attempt to walk away from the deal or refuse to close. In these situations, it is critical to have the advice of your attorney.

LEASES

Over the past 24 years, we at Fusco, Mackey, Mathews & Gill have reviewed and negotiated hundreds of leases, and have drafted many as well for both landlords and tenants.

COMMERCIAL (NON-RESIDENTIAL)

We have assisted clients whether the landlord or tenant in drafting or reviewing and negotiating terms of the leases of all types, including leases for offices, retail and warehouse space.

RENTAL PROPERTIES

If you or your business own rental properties, we can assist you in drafting leases and with evictions, if necessary.

REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

We have experience with a wide range of real estate litigation matters including title issues, partition, eminent domain, and zoning.