Real Estate

Legal Representation for Ocala Residents Involved in Property Transactions

Whether you are buying your first home or leasing a unit in a commercial building, it is crucial to obtain advice from an experienced lawyer. At the Dean Law Firm, our real estate attorneys can help people and entities in the Ocala area protect their interests with regard to a property transaction. We can help you seek title insurance, review loan documents, help prepare purchase agreements, review zoning changes, handle real estate litigation, and fight for your rights in an eminent domain dispute. As property owners and business owners ourselves, we understand the importance of your concerns and can advise you of the potential consequences of any transaction.

Buying a Home in Florida

The most important step in buying a home is the drafting and signing of a purchase and sale agreement. It is best to have your own attorney review or help draft this agreement, since once it is signed, most provisions cannot later be changed. Among other things, the document will spell out what kind of title you are taking. Real estate title is the right to full or partial ownership of the land and improvements upon it. As a homebuyer, you likely want "marketable title," which means you can prove your title against the world, and the evidence of your ownership is in the proper public records. Your lawyer will have to investigate to make sure the seller is able to convey marketable title to you.

The process by which this investigation takes place is known as a title examination. This is a review of the public records, including deeds, mortgages, wills, and court decrees, to determine title over a period of time. Without marketable title, your lender may not loan you the money to buy the house.

Many buyers find it reassuring to obtain an owner's policy of title insurance, which will protect them against the potential financial loss of defending their title in court in the event that somebody brings a claim. This is distinct from a lender's title insurance, which protects the holder of the mortgage in the case of a later-discovered title defect.

Some potential problems that can cloud your title include heirs who never claimed their inheritance, forgeries, unknown easements obtained through adverse possession, unknown liens, and boundary or survey disputes. If you have obtained title insurance, you will be protected against covered claims to your property, but the insurance policy does not automatically give you clean legal title to your property.

In order to clear up a title issue related to your home, you might need to file a formal quiet title action under Chapter 65 of the Florida Statutes and prove the requirements set forth in Florida Statute Section 65.021(2). Quiet title is appropriate if the statute of limitations for claims, which is five years, has run, the mortgage was defective at inception, and the real lien holder is not known.

If the judge grants a judgment in your quiet title action, it will remove the cloud on the title, revoke any improper conveyance, and annul conflicting claims, thereby "quieting" your title in the property. Even after you obtain a quiet title judgment with regard to one potential claim, others may bring different claims. For example, a federal tax lien can survive a quiet title action. Similarly, a bank may argue that its mortgage lien survives the quiet title action. An experienced real estate attorney can help make sure that you fully understand the potential claims and bring them all before the judge to ensure that there truly are no further claims.

Seek Guidance in a Real Estate Matter from an Ocala Attorney

For many individuals, the purchase of a home is the most expensive investment of their lives. Similarly, the health of your business will ride in part on the soundness of your commercial property transactions. However, the litigation lawyers at the Dean Law Firm know that Ocala residents and others can find these matters challenging to handle. Call us today at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We also represent clients in Crystal River and other communities throughout Levy, Sumter, Marion, Citrus, and Lake Counties.