As another year starts, it’s once again time to discuss some lessons we’ve learned in dealing with real estate law issues.
Therefore, I present to you, in no particular order, some best practices you can use when dealing with any legal matter.
• Do not sign anything you have not read and understood.
• Do not be afraid to ask questions, and do not feel you must accept the answers at face value.
• If you have any doubt as to what you are told, do more research.
• There are very few things that cannot wait one day while you think about it.
• Whenever a situation seems like it might become a problem, take lots of notes and cell phone photos.
• If you come to a meaningful agreement on a telephone call, send an email to the person you spoke to confirm the details.
• While confrontation can be uncomfortable, the best and least expensive way of resolving a dispute is speaking calmly to the responsible party about the issue.
• If the branches from your neighbor’s tree hang over your property line, you can safely trim them back, at your expense, As long as you do not damage the tree’s health.
• Consult with an estate planning professional to get your will done.
• If you are buying a property with someone you are not married to, it is good to get a joint property ownership agreement prepared.
• If you rent a home, you should read the landlord-tenant statute; it is relatively easy to read and act as an instruction manual.
• When buying a property in a condominium or homeowners association, you need to understand the rules and live by them. If this idea does not work for you, find a different property.
• Don’t underestimate the importance of insurance and the importance of shopping around for the best price.
• Some have said that good fences make good neighbors, but I find it is more accurate to say that good people make good neighbors.
• As hard as it can be to sift through the junk, it is essential to check your mail for important notices regularly.
It has been a rough year. I hope these tips will help your new year be a better one.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.