Virginia Real Estate Lawyers
In Virginia, real estate law is a very broad area of law governing anything that has to do with the ownership of land and buildings.
Real estate law can apply to many various facets of a personal and professional life. It can apply to anything from the purchase of a vacant lot, to renting prime downtown office space.
Virginia real estate law can be very complicated, because it's really a collection of a lot of different areas of law. These areas of law include property rights, contracts, land use, and many others.
Having a good general knowledge of Virginia real estate law can make a lot of transactions, such as purchasing a house or renting an apartment, much easier.
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Common Real Estate Issues in Virginia
Financing: Most people in Virginia probably can't afford to buy a house or a piece of land up front. Thus, most individuals and business use some form of financing to purchase real estate, normally a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy a piece of real estate, with the purchased real estate simultaneously securing the loan.
Disclosure: When a house or other structure is for sale, the seller has to tell prospective buyers about all physical defects of which the seller is aware, and which the buyer couldn't be reasonably expected to discover. However, if you are selling a house, you should probably just disclose every defect you're aware of. This will save you a great deal of potential liability. Even if your disclosure of a particular defect wasn't required (because the buyer could have easily discovered it), the buyer might still sue, and the cost of defending this lawsuit, even if you win, will be very high.
Warranty of Habitability: All residential property which is being rented must be fit for human habitation. This is normally not a difficult standard for a reasonably well-maintained unit to meet (or one would think), but violations of this rule still happen. When renting an apartment, the landlord is implicitly promising that the unit will be habitable, whether or not such a promise is actually written in the lease, or even if the lease disclaims it. There are many requirements for a dwelling to be habitable, and most of them are fairly obvious- they include heating, running water, electricity, and basic protection from the elements. There are many other requirements, however.
Zoning Laws: Zoning laws dictate what kinds of buildings can be placed on lots in certain parts of a town or city. Their purpose is to confirm, for example, that sewage treatment plants don't get built next to homes, or that noisy, polluting factory doesn't get built next to a daycare center. To this end, they "zone" sections of the locality for various uses, such as residential, industrial, commercial, etc. If you are buying a piece of vacant land, it's essential that whatever use you intend to make of it is compatible with Virginia's zoning laws.
Do I Need a Virginia Real Estate Lawyer?
These issues can be very intricate, and the above discussion can't replace the advice of an expert on the subject. Thus, if you have any real estate issues, it's never a bad idea to make an appointment with a real estate attorney in Virginia.
Virginia became a U.S. state in 1788 and was the 10th state to join the Union. The state of Virginia is formally known as "The Commonwealth of Virginia", and its official nickname is the "Old Dominion". Occasionally, people refer to Virginia as "the Mother of Presidents", as 8 U.S. presidents were born in the state.
As one of the original U.S. colonies, Virginia's legal system is also one of the oldest in the country. For example, Virginia's legislature, the Virginia General Assembly, is the oldest legislature operating in the Western hemisphere. The oldest police force in the U.S., the Virginia Capitol Police, is also located in Virginia. Virginia has a well-developed system of case laws, as well as a body of statutes known as the Code of Virginia.
Legal claims in Virginia are processed in the state judicial system, consisting of the state Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and the General District and Circuit Courts. Many landmark cases have arisen out of Virginia, such as Loving v. Virginia (1967), an important anti-segregation case. Another frequently cited Virginia case is Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which involved the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Lawyers in Virginia represent clients in all types of legal claims. Although most of these are processed at the trial court level, Virginia lawyers also file appeals through the state's appeal system. A Virginia attorney can assist you by answering legal questions and providing much-needed representation in court.