WELCOME TO GALE & McALLISTER PLLC
WHY DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR MY REAL ESTATE PURCHASE?
When buying real property, you will need to engage a real estate attorney to represent you in the process. Why? What can they do? How can they help?
- Recommendations for other team members, such as Realtors, Lenders, Contractors and Tax Professionals. You do not do this every day, but we do and know who will be the most responsive and effective based on your particular situation.
- Drafting or Reviewing your Purchase and Sale Contract The contract is one of the most important pieces of the transaction as it sets out the price, deposit, contingencies and deadlines that significantly impact the rest of the process. It is important that you are aware of the deadlines contained in your contract and note that any change to the agreement between you and the sellers must be made in writing. There are many provisions and the “boiler plate” has significant legal implications, we are here to make sure you understand the terms of your contract.
- Title Search and Opinion on Title We will conduct a title search of the appropriate public records to determine the seller has marketable title to the property. In Vermont, the primary search is done in the Town or City the property is located in. We will report the results of our search to you in the form of a title opinion which describes any easements, rights of way, covenants and other matters which impact the property you are purchasing. If there are any questions as to the validity of title, we will work with the seller’s attorney to resolve such issues.
- Title Insurance If you are obtaining a mortgage as part of your purchase, your lender will require you to purchase a title insurance policy which insures the lender only and is in the amount of the mortgage. The second type of title insurance insures your interest in the property through an owners insurance policy. Title insurance is paid for with a one-time premium paid as part of your closing costs and protects the insured against potential title defects which may be discovered during or after your ownership of the property. Please keep in mind that title insurance is not insurance for attorney mistakes, it is protection against mis-indexed documents, forgeries, fraud or other title issues that were not discoverable in the title search. Please visit our website for more information on title insurance. https://gmlawvt.com/resources.php
- Closing The closing is when title to the property is transferred to you and you sign all of the necessary documents for your mortgage if you are using a lender. Our role at closing is to review with you and have you sign the Closing Disclosure Statement, the transfer documents and the necessary mortgage documents. Lenders typically ask our office to conduct your closing on their behalf in addition to providing the title search and closing services to you. We will coordinate the closing date with the parties, make sure the seller documents are accurate and provided and take in all the money relative to the transaction and disburse it to the appropriate parties.
- Contract Termination and Enforcing Your Legal Rights Under the Contract If something goes wrong and you decide not to forward with the purchase of the property, we will assist you in terminating the contract. We want to make sure you give the proper legal notice under the terms of the contract so you can get your deposit back if you are entitled. In addition, issues may arise during the contract period where the Seller is not fulfilling their obligations under the contract and we may need to act to enforce your rights. Problems may be detected at the walk through that require negotiation at the closing such as personal property being left at the residence, broken or damage to the property or removal of property that was included in the sale.
Please complete the purchase retainer form below to engage us to represent you in the purchase of your property.
Purchase Retainer Form
WHY DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR MY SALE TRANSACTION?
When listing your home, it is a great idea to touch base with an attorney who can represent you through the sale process. Why? What can they do? How can they help?
- Recommendations We can provide recommendations for other members of your sale team, such as Realtors, Contractors and Tax Professionals. You may not do this every day, but we do, and we know who will be the most responsive and effective based on your particular situation.
- Reviewing the Purchase and Sale Contract. The contract is the most important part of the transaction and sets out all the terms. In real estate transactions, something is only enforceable if it’s in writing. All aspects of the deal must be covered in this document. Having an attorney’s advice and counsel on any purchase offer is a valuable resource.
- Preparation of the Warranty Deed and all other legal documents for the transfer of the property. The Deed you sign includes a promise that the property is free from any encumbrances except as disclosed by you. It is vital to make sure the Deed and other documents are fully and accurately completed to properly convey the property to your buyer.
- Legal advice and counsel throughout the process. Title problems can arise, and it is important to have a qualified attorney advise you and correct any issues in a timely and cost-effective way. Attorneys focused on real estate are familiar with these types of challenges and are able to keep the closing on track. The sooner the issues are resolved, the sooner your closing can happen and you will get your funds. We can also advise on tax issues, such as 1031 exchanges, out of state withholding taxes, and other items that may be specific to your situation.
- Representation at closing. Making sure you understand and complete the closing documents, being there to handle any last minute issues such as buyer funding delays, walk-through issues or simply moral support. Your attorney is representing only you in your real estate sale.
Please complete the sales retainer form below to engage us to represent you in the sale of your property.
Sales Retainer Form
Some reasons to refinance are:
- — Lower your interest rate to save money
- — Shorten the term of your current mortgage
- — Consolidate high interest debt into a low interest mortgage
- — Take out funds to make necessary home repairs or maintenance
- — Use your home’s equity to finance your dream,; a boat, second home or that once in a lifetime vacation
We are experienced with working with all the lenders in this area, and we can provide you with a referral to the right loan officer to assist you. Even if we did not do your title work when you purchased, we can do an expedited title search for the refinance that will save you money and time.
Please click here to complete a contact form to begin the refinance process with one of our attorneys or you can click here to schedule a free 15-minute phone or Zoom consultation.
Our attorneys can assist you with a variety of business law matters. Some of the matters we routinely handle:
- — Providing advice and creation of business entities, including obtaining necessary tax id number
- — Filing LLC and Corporate Annual Reports, modifications, registering trade names, and record keeping
- — Review of rental leases and commercial contracts for real estate purchases or sale
- — Drafting standardized business contracts for service work or products
- — Working with other professions to make sure your business is secure, such as insurance and accounting professionals
- — Preparation of Member Consents, Authorization and other required legal documents for transactions
As each client’s matter is unique, please click here to complete a contact form and one of our attorneys will reach out to discuss your situation or you can also click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone or zoom consultation.
While many people think of “estate planning” as something only for the wealthy, a person doesn’t have to be rich to have an estate. An estate consists of any property a person owns, including real estate, bank accounts, cars, cash, personal property, and other assets. Anyone who wants their assets to be transferred to their surviving loved ones and to save those loved ones from expense, delay, and frustration associated with managing their affairs when they pass away or become disabled should consider establishing a formal estate plan. This important set of legal documents can make it easier for your family to ensure that your wishes and needs are met if you are unable to speak for yourself. These documents can include the following:
- A Will— a Will is the document in which a person designates where their assets will go when they pass away. A Will also allows a person to name their Executor, the person who oversees the probate process, and a guardian for their minor children.
- Power of Attorney— a Power of Attorney allows a person to name an agent who can manage their financial affairs, such as withdrawing money from bank accounts, paying bills, buying or selling stocks, working with government agencies such as Social Security, and refinancing, selling or purchasing a home in the event they are unable to do so.
- Health Care Advance Directive— this document allows a person to appoint another person to make health care decisions on their behalf in the event they are unable to do so. The document also outlines the person’s wishes regarding those decisions.
- Revocable Living Trust— a Revocable Living Trust can serve many purposes. If a person has minor children, any assets a person leaves to those children will be distributed to them when they reach age 18 with no restrictions. Such a trust can allow a person to delay the outright distribution to a child until the child is likely more financially responsible. A Revocable Living Trust will also allow any assets held in the Trust avoid the probate process and will thus save loved ones from the time and expense of that process. A Revocable Living Trust can also help to minimize or avoid estate taxes. Currently, any estates of over $5 million are subject to the Vermont Estate Tax and any assets over $11.7 million are subject to the Federal Estate Tax.
As each client’s matter is unique, please click here to complete a contact form and one of our attorneys will reach out to discuss your situation.