What is Real Estate Law?

Although real estate law may not be a very publicly visible form of law, it’s nonetheless indispensable to real estate transactions. And one way or another, property buyers and sellers eventually become familiar with it.

The field of real estate law is a broad one and overlaps in some places with contract law. Still, there are certain general functions that real estate law encompasses. These include:

  • Dealing with land and the things that are permanently attached to it, such as buildings and other structures.
  • Addressing the benefits and rights associated with land – these may include the right to live on it or to drill in the ground.
  • Moderating the sale and transfer of real estate
  • Regulating property rental, zoning and home loans.

The practice of real estate law is extremely complex; this complexity stems in part from the fact that the real estate laws on the books may differ extensively based on the specific city and state where a property is located.

Major Laws that Relate to Real Estate

  • The Federal Fair Housing Act is a law that protects individuals from being discriminated against based on their race, religion, gender or the nation from which they came. Real estate companies can be held liable for violating the Federal Fair Housing Act in the event that they deny a tenant housing based on these considerations.
  • The Uniform Commercial Code is an area of federal law that touches on real estate. It mandates that all real estate transactions be conducted in writing.
  • While some federal laws do impact real estate, most real estate practices are governed by state laws. For example, there are laws in each state that govern the licensing of real estate brokers. Sellers use brokers to facilitate the sale of real estate.

Real Estate Transactions and Real Estate Law

In a sale of real estate, the prospective buyer will have to investigate the title to make sure that it is marketable. A real estate lawyer may be used for this investigation. If the title is found to be marketable, then a deed that describes the real estate must be completed.

Mortgages and Real Estate Law

Buyers of real estate may use a mortgage to finance the purchase. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the lender may foreclose on the real estate. A real estate lawyer plays a role in this process. The proceeds of a forced sale will be used to repay the lender.

The intricacies of local and federal regulations make real estate law a fixture of the legal framework of the United States. The development and sale of property also require the legal assistance of a lawyer who is an expert at these types of transactions. It seems that real estate law won’t be going anyplace any time soon.

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