The Real Estate Practice Group provides advice and counsel to clients with respect to the acquisition, development, financing, leasing, and sale of real property and on issues associated with those activities. The legal services we provide include negotiating, drafting, and reviewing purchase and sale contracts for buyers and sellers; examining real estate titles; representing buyers and sellers in real estate purchase and sale transactions; and negotiating, drafting, and reviewing financing and loan documents, leases, management agreements, and construction contracts.
Attorneys within the Real Estate Practice Group appear frequently before governmental bodies to represent clients on a variety of issues including those related to subdivision of property, zoning, land use, environmental matters, and taxation. Our knowledge of the regulations affecting these matters together with our years of related experience allows us to advise our clients regarding regulatory compliance.
Recognizing that many issues affect the acquisition, financing, development, ownership, and use of real property, we believe that a team approach is critical to providing our clients the best representation. Attorneys in the Real Estate Practice Group work closely with attorneys in the Business, Environmental, Litigation, and Trusts and Estates Practice Groups of the Firm. Additionally, Community Associations Practice Group attorneys, who provide assistance and services to developers of community associations such as townhouses and condominiums, frequently seek counsel and advice from Real Estate Practice Group attorneys. This team approach also pays dividends for our clients when a transaction involves property in states other than North Carolina, as we have the ability to associate with counsel in the geographical area involved to ensure proper representation.
Changing real estate market conditions in recent years have created an entirely new set of challenges for our clients. The Real Estate Practice Group works with developers and lenders alike in working through those challenges as developers try to weather the storm and keep their projects viable.
The attorneys in the Real Estate Practice Group have a broad range of experience. Two have chaired the Real Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and one has served as a research assistant to Associate Justice (later Chief Justice) Susie Sharpe of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Additionally, several have been lecturers and panelists in continuing education seminars sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association and other professional organizations and at programs sponsored by private and civic groups. Several attorneys in the Real Estate Practice Group have extensive experience with the federal Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, the North Carolina Condominium Act, and the Planned Community Act. As part of their continuing legal education, our attorneys are members of and are active in various real property-oriented organizations, including the Real Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Land Title Association.
Attorneys within the Real Estate Practice Group are accomplished, experienced, knowledgeable, and capable of providing sound legal and practical advice. The following summaries of actual situations illustrate these abilities:
Knowledge: We represented a developer who had acquired a tract of land for a townhouse project. Local subdivision and zoning regulations, however, did not permit townhouse development on the tract. The developer sought our services to amend the subdivision and zoning regulations. We recommended that he use a condominium style of development to avoid the subdivision and zoning issues the townhouse project posed. The developer was able to proceed with the condominium development immediately, saving time and money that otherwise would have been expended in attempting to amend subdivision and zoning regulations.
Experience: An individual requested that we prepare a deed for her purchase of two acres from a larger tract shown on the survey. The individual planned to pay a significant amount to the seller for the two-acre parcel. We raised the following issues with the client: (1) ownership of the property; (2) existence of deeds of trust or other liens against the property; (3) the possibility of subdivision regulations requiring governmental approval of sale; (4) identification of zoning ordinances, restrictive covenants, or environmental issues restricting the use of the property; (5) the availability of access to the parcel from a public road following the conveyance; and (6) the availability of utilities to serve the planned development of the parcel. Only by identifying those issues before the acquisition did our client avoid potentially significant cost to ensure that she would be able to use the parcel for her intended purpose.
Teamwork: A client sought our assistance immediately before a calendar year-end to refinance long-term debt and increase an operating line of credit. The lender's loan commitment required first priority liens on all of the client's property, including real property owned in several North Carolina counties. It was imperative to both parties that the transaction be closed before the end of the calendar year. We assembled a team of attorneys and staff to handle the transaction; simultaneously conducted title examinations and personal property lien searches in the counties involved; ordered and obtained necessary corporate documents from offices of the Secretary of State of several states; prepared loan documents; and reviewed other loan documents prepared by the lender. Employing a team approach, we were able to fulfill the lender's requirements and close the transaction before the deadline.