Articles Posted in REAL ESTATE

Our Atlanta, Georgia, loan negotiation lawyers strongly advise you hire experienced Georgia mortgage attorney if you are engaging in a short sale or a deed in lieu foreclosure to mitigate the losses incurred by foreclosure on your home. Remember, the banks have attorneys working hard for them to ensure that the bank losses as little money as possible.

A short sale occurs when the sales proceeds are less that the balance owed on the mortgage. The bank or mortgage lender agrees to accept the short sale and incur a smaller loss rather than waiting for a foreclosure. Sometimes the bank will forgive the remaining loan balance, but this needs to be negotiated and properly documented. Otherwise, the bank may initiate litigation against the homeowner to recover the remaining unpaid loan balance plus costs and attorney’s fees.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure provides another alternative to foreclosure. With a deed in lieu of foreclosure, you give your home to the lender in exchange for the lender agreeing to accept the loan without a foreclosure sale. The lender also should promises not to initiate foreclosure proceedings. In many cases, it is possible to have the lender agree in writing to forgive any deficiency that remains after the house is sold. Forgiveness of any deficiency needs to be negotiated and properly documented much as it would in a short sale.

Short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure are considered better for homeowners than a foreclosure. The main reason is that they have less of an adverse affect on a person’s credit report and can dispense with forgiveness of debt. However, they have many pitfalls. As such, it is very important to be represented by counsel when negotiating a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure.

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As Atlanta, Georgia, real estate fraud lawyers, we have seen a rise in the “house flipping” trend over the last several years. House flipping is the process of buying a home, renovating the home, and then selling it for a substantial profit within the course of a very short time. Often, an investor is able to make money from flipping a house by fixing less costly cosmetic issues – such as carpeting, painting, and appliances – and then selling the house at a significantly higher price.

If you are an investor interested in house flipping, you should contact a knowledgeable real estate attorney who can help with all aspects of your real estate transaction. Recently, several house flipping schemes aimed at potential real estate investors have come to light, exposing housing management investment companies and banks working together to defraud potential investors.

In one scheme, a Georgia Bank came under fire after the revelation that one of its co-founders and a chief executive was heavily involved in making fraudulent loans. Through the Bank, chief executive made short-term loans to inner-city investors interested in flipping house in low-income neighborhoods. Because the investors often did not have easy access to loans from traditional banks, the company charged hefty fees and exorbitant interest rates.

Another scheme in involved a European man who enticed flippers – for a substantial fee – with cheap properties and access to expert renovators. He then sent his investors to the Georgia Bank to obtain loans to buy his properties. Allegedly, kickbacks were paid to the loan officers at Georgia Bank who approved the funding. The European man is now in federal custody on charges of fraud. The European Man and the unnamed loan officer made money, but many of the properties were never renovated and the investors lost their money.

These flipping schemes have created additional problems in some of Atlanta’s most needy neighborhoods – with newly flipped homes sitting vacant and attracting criminals and squatters. Although many flipping schemes have come to light over the last several months, The Wall St. Journal reports that home flipping is making a comeback with investors buying up foreclosed properties. These flippers need “cold cash, lots of local-market knowledge and strong nerves.”

The best advice for real estate investors interested in getting involved in the flipping market is to do your homework, be wary of schemes, and be willing to take some risks. Contact a dedicated Georgia real estate fraud attorney who can help you determine if the property you are interested in is suitable for flipping. However, if you believe, you have been a victim of house flipping fraud; please contact The Libby Law Firm immediately to discuss your case.
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As Atlanta construction litigation attorneys and Atlanta Business attorneys alike, I know that one of the most important tools for contractors and subcontractors looking to protect their rights and ensure payment on a building or construction project is a lien. I also recognize that nothing is more frustrating to a new homeowner or property owner than an improperly filed lien, or an unexpected lien filed by a subcontractor after the property owner believes everyone has been paid.

The Georgia Legislature has recently made subtle but significant changes to the lien laws in Georgia. These changes state when and how a lien must be filed, how it can be removed, and how the lien may be enforced.

Several years ago, the law was changed to state that only attorneys may file liens. However, even Georgia real estate and construction attorneys may not be familiar with these changes and the various statutory requirements and “hoops” one must “jump through” to have a valid lien on file in the property records. Consequently, it is very important to consult Atlanta Construction Lawyers very familiar with lien laws in general, and the new changes in particular, if you are a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier looking to protect your rights, or if you are a property owner looking to challenge a lien.

In this ever-changing real estate and construction market, it is increasingly important to protect your hard work and your real property investment. This is why you must choose Atlanta real estate, construction, and business attorneys who understand the complexity of these revised lien laws and who can advise you on how to protect your business, your hard work, as well as your investment.

The Libby Law Firm has been at the forefront of the revised lien laws and the new Georgia construction arbitration statutes as they relate to contractors, builders, and homeowners alike. Our Firm of Atlanta construction attorneys specialize in liens, the “Right to Repair Act,” the new Georgia construction arbitration statutes, procedures and laws.
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As an Atlanta, Georgia home dispute lawyer, I am extremely aware of the importance of having that perfect house built for you. Moreover, recently, I find that even some of the best builders, contractors and subcontractors are cutting corners in the building of your home. This results in eventual material damages that may not be evident in the beginning or initials phases of the construction of your home or while you are living in your home after it is allegedly “finished”; however, they will show themselves over time and create a financial and lifestyle nightmare for you, the homebuyer.

Below is a list of the most common claims and cases our Firm currently has against builders, contractors and sub-contractors:

• Use of Substandard Building Materials
• Negligence in Construction
• Breach of Contract
• Home Building Fraud
• Fraudulent Home Disclosure
• Failure to Disclose Material Home Defects
• Misrepresentation in Home Selling, Building and Construction
• Hiding Defects in Home Purchase and Sale Agreements and Seller’s Disclosure Statements
• Non-Compliance with Industry Standards for Home Construction
• Failure to Maintain or Adhere to Industry Standards in Home Construction
• Incomplete or Poorly Completed Work in Building and Construction of Residence

If you feel that your builder, contractor or sub-contractor is cutting corners in the construction of your home, or you want to protect yourself from this possibility. The Libby Law Firm represents homebuyers, purchasers and investors in construction arbitration, real estate disputes and property litigation. Our Firm also reviews, negotiates, and drafts real estate construction, home building and business contracts.
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In my practice as a commercial real estate lease lawyer, I have found the majority business owners will have to deal with the reality of entering into a Georgia commercial lease agreement at some point in during the course doing business. Commercial leases can be lengthy, complicated, convoluted, and practically impossible for even the most sophisticated businessperson to understand. They may utilize industry standard terms such as “triple net lease”, “Subordination”, “Estoppel Certificates”, “Tenant Improvement Allowance”, all of which have legal significance and significant legal implications. There are also always practical issues such as parking, signage and business hours, indemnification and insurance issues, which seem to look harmless in the lease, but may have widespread significant and destructive consequences to the business tenant and even the landlord if not thought through and considered during the due diligence period. The due diligence period is the period in which the parties to a contract, agreement or other business matter are negotiate, research, investigate and consider all issues which can be thought of before any business transaction should take place. During this due diligence period, all commercial leases should be carefully reviewed and scrutinized by an experienced Georgia lease attorney from a Georgia real estate contract law firm. This should be done prior to signing and by both the property owner, prospective tenant and any other party to the contract or agreement.

Remember that once you or your authorized representative signs a commercial lease, you will be bound by its terms. It is common for commercial leases to bind parties for many years on end or even decades or more. There are oftentimes options for additional terms in the lease or agreement that can be exercised and should be carefully thought through. That being the case, a commercial lease can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars or more, and as such, may be a substantial asset or a liability to any business depending on your position.

There are many working parts in a commercial lease. Often times, many of these parts are negotiable and it is customary and wise to have an experienced Georgia real estate contract attorney to protect your business and personal interests. As such, each of these elements should be understood and considered when negotiating and/or entering into a lease and prior to signing. If you have concerns or fail to address them, you are likely setting yourself up for prospective trouble in the future. As you would expect, commercial landlords usually have ready and offer the initial Georgia real estate agreement to the prospective tenant. They have already paid their experienced GA real estate contracts attorney to draft these agreements in their best interests and with all terms most favorable to their interests. Both landlords and prospective tenants need someone in their corner to protect their best interests when proposing and entering into these specialized real estate contract agreements in Georgia.
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Everyone knows that times are tough for homeowners right now, especially here in the Atlanta, Georgia area where there are unprecedented amounts of foreclosures. As a real estate lawyer in Atlanta, I have certainly seen a dramatic change in my own practice. Until fairly recently, I was able to help many clients become homeowners by reviewing and writing contracts and agreements for their new homes. Unfortunately, a large part of my real estate practice has now shifted to helping homeowners with financial problems avoid foreclosure by negotiating with the banks and lenders that hold their mortgages. In fact, we are seeing remarkable and unprecedented times as banks and lenders are in trouble, confused about where their institution will end up next and with no viable help from the government.

I believe that part of the problem is that some homeowners don’t realize that there is a foreclosure process — and that it offers several opportunities to work things out with a lender. Banks don’t like to foreclose because they often lose money on foreclosures, and because maintaining and selling homes is not really part of their business. They are open to working with you to keep your payments current, especially if your financial problems are temporary. There several ways banks and lenders are engaging in this loan workout process as the banks and lenders know that getting something is better than nothing. They oftentimes will forestall payment requirements, work out different interest rate percentages, mortgage loan types and terms.

If you are behind on your mortgage payments in GA, you will get only get certified letters and maybe phone calls. If your having trouble paying your mortgage or have already missed payments, it is well worth the money to hire an experienced attorney to stall or re-negotiate your loan terms and the before the bank or lender begins the foreclosure process. At any point during that time, an experienced real estate loan workout attorney can call your bank or lender, explain your situation and ask about your options. You may be able to get a temporary break from payments, refinance or supplement partial payments with a loan. Even after foreclosure proceedings have started, in this unprecedented market and time, are likely still be able to have an experienced attorney negotiate with your former bank or lender to re-instate your mortgage or stay the official proceedings of removing you from your home.
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