West Virginia Real Estate Lawyers
In West 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 numerous 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.
West Virginia real estate law can be very intricate, 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 West 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 West Virginia
Financing: In West Virginia, it's challenging or impossible for the vast majority of individuals and small businesses to buy any substantial amount of real estate by paying for it in cash, up front. So how do so many people across the country own houses? Mortgages. A mortgage is a loan which is secured by the property that the loan was used to buy. This property is usually a house, and the loan is paid back by the homeowner on a monthly basis, over a period of years.
Disclosure: When property is being sold, the seller is obligated to disclose to the buyer any defects in the property which the seller knows about, and that the buyer wouldn't be able to discover with an usual inspection. If you are selling a house, and don't know if you need to disclose a particular defect, you should likely err on the side of disclosure. This might make it a bit more difficult to sell the house, or force a lower price, but that cost is practically nothing compared to the cost of defending a lawsuit for not disclosing the defect.
Warranty of Habitability: This applies in residential leases. Landlords are under a legal duty, whether it's specifically stated in the lease agreement or not, to ensure that the rented property is fit for human habitation. The requirements for habitability often include electricity, heating, running water, a working phone line, and protection from the elements. Of course, that list is not exhaustive.
Zoning: Zoning regulations typically divide cities into sections, or "zones," and state what types of buildings can be built in the different sections. Zones will be categorized by the type of use permitted, such as residential, industrial, commercial, etc. If you own a piece of property and want to make improvements to it, you should check the local zoning ordinance to guarantee that any improvements you plan on making comply with all of West Virginia's zoning regulations.
Do I Need a West 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 West Virginia.
West Virginia is situated in the Appalachian region of the U.S., which is famous for its grand mountain ranges. However, because of its geographic position, the state is often listed under many different regions, including the Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. regions. The state's economy is driven mainly by natural resources such as coal and oil.
West Virginia is one of the 11 states that operate only one court of appeals. Most states have an intermediate appellate court, with the state Supreme Court also hearing appeals. Instead, appeals in West Virginia are heard exclusively at the highest level, the Supreme Court of Appeals. This makes the Supreme Court one of the busiest appeals courts in the U.S. Other courts in West Virginia include the Circuit Courts, Magistrate Courts, and Municipal Courts.
An important West Virginia case is West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943). This case held that students are protected from being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the American flag in school. The ruling was largely based on the Free Speech Clause of the 1st Amendment. The Barnette decision continues to be a landmark decision in the area of Constitutional rights.
Lawyers in West Virginia assist their clients mostly through the Circuit Court system. West Virginia lawyers provide representation during key lawsuits, and can provide advice on obtaining the most favorable legal remedy. A West Virginia attorney can also perform tasks like reviewing legal documents and providing intervention during conflicts.