Real Estate Law in Virginia
Alexandria's real estate industry is governed by a huge body of laws. This is because almost any real estate transaction invokes laws concerning civil rights, consumer protection, land use, and contracts.
The huge volume of laws governing real estate in Alexandria might seem overwhelming to the uninitiated. Indeed, they can get very complicated, especially when issues about title defects or construction disputes are involved.
Accordingly, it's a good idea to learn some of the basics of Alexandria's real estate laws.
Knowing the law can serve you in a number of ways: it can put you in a better negotiating position, it can help you spot unlawful terms in lease agreements, and ensure that you know your rights if a conflict arises, among other things.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Alexandria
Financing: Most people are unable to make major real estate purchases in Alexandria with cash, because few people have that kind of money on hand. Therefore, to buy real estate, most entities use a mortgage. This is a loan used to buy a piece of property. When the loan is issued, and the property purchased, the lender holds a security interest in the property until the loan is paid off, with interest.
Zoning: Zoning laws dictate what types of buildings can go on given pieces of property. These laws are usually designed to ensure that residential areas are as clean and as quiet as possible, thereby preserving property values. They accomplish this by ensuring that other uses that might be inappropriate in a residential area, such as heavy industry, are in different parts of town. This also ensures that industries will be able to go about their business without constant complaints from their neighbors.
Duty to Disclose: sellers of real estate, especially houses and other residential property, are legally bound to tell the buyer about any defects in the property that the seller knows about, and that the buyer couldn't easily discover on his own (mold or termite problems are prevalent examples). If the seller fails to make such disclosures, he or she could be liable for any harm the defect causes to the buyer, as well as the cost of repairing it. If the seller intentionally conceals or lies about the defect, he or she might also face punitive damages.
Implied Warranties: Every lease of a residential unit in Alexandria carries with it an implicit promise by the owner that the unit will meet some basic minimum standards for human habitability. There are many factors that go into determining if a unit is "habitable," but there are a few essentials, and they include running water, heat, electricity, and adequate shelter from the elements.
Can a Alexandria Real Estate Lawyer Help?
The issues briefly discussed above, as well as many others, can be very intricate. Accordingly, if you are engaged in any real estate transaction, it's never a bad idea to first consult with an experienced Alexandria real estate attorney.