Richard Smith

Richard Smith

Bernstein Shur

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Real Estate Tip: ALTA 34-06 – The Endorsement That Saves The Day

Buyers and developers who are focused on negotiating terms of transactions, projecting future income and meeting deadlines, can often ignore real estate title issues until a defect in a title threatens to derail a closing....more

10/8/2014 - ALTA Endorsements Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip – Resolving Ambiguities Between Landlords and Tenants

Courts have many ways of deciding whether a lease means what the landlord says it means or what the tenant says it means. Here are three typical techniques and examples to help resolve ambiguities: Decide against the...more

9/19/2014 - Landlords Leases Tenants

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – Commercial Insurance Issues

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, insurance options for commercial real estate can be daunting. Knowing what to ask your insurance broker can save the day. This sampler of issues will help you and your broker manage risk...more

8/13/2014 - Commercial Real Estate Market Landlords Real Estate Market Tenants

Real Estate Tip - Keep It in The Family?

Using a will to give a commercial building to a loved one, a business partner or even a charitable organization is not ideal planning. Adverse tax consequences, the public probate process and operational difficulties aside,...more

8/1/2014 - Beneficiaries Charitable Donations Charitable Organizations Commercial Property Owners Estate Tax Limited Liability Companies Non-Profits Probate Real Estate Transfers

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – Lender Liability in Real Estate Closings; Know Your Closer Well

The general phrase “lender liability” usually refers to cases where a lender does not live up to its own loan agreement, or where a loan officer promises more than the loan documents provide, or where the lender sells...more

7/22/2014 - CFPB Closing Documents Collateral FDIC Federal Reserve Lender Liability Loan Agreements Regulation Z RESPA TILA Title Companies

Real Estate Tip - The Emperor Has No Exhibits

All of us in the real estate world, regardless of experience or sophistication, have been guilty of ignoring Exhibit A. Like the emperor who believed his invisible cloth clothing could be seen by intelligent people, our...more

6/19/2014 - Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip: The Case of the Shrinking Easement

Unlike most states, Massachusetts land transactions may be “registered” in a procedure conducted at the “Land Court.” The Land Court’s own engineering department reviews survey plans before registration is final. In this...more

6/6/2014 - Easements Real Estate Development Surveys

Real Estate Tip – Lender Liability in Real Estate Closings; Know Your Closer Well

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) now enforces the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act and related laws dealing with real estate closings. ...more

5/22/2014 - ALTA CFPB Lender Liability Mortgage Escrow Account RESPA

Real Estate Tip – When a Title Insurer’s Coverage Isn’t

Frequently, policyholders sue their title insurance companies in order to determine whether a claim is covered and to force the company to pay any loss. Obtaining a court order confirming that a claimed loss is covered may...more

5/12/2014 - Old Republic Title Property Access Scope of Coverage Title Companies Title Insurance

Real Estate Tip – Commercial Purchase & Sale Agreements: The Basics Meet Today’s Market

A recent American Bar Association article brought to light issues regarding purchase and sale agreements in the context of a fast-moving, modern market place. Distilled from their discussions are the following reminders for...more

4/28/2014 - ABA Commercial Real Estate Contracts Purchase Agreement

Real Estate Tip: Hire Your Own Surveyor to Avoid a Close Call

A recent New Hampshire real estate closing was stalled at the 11th hour when the parties realized that a survey plan did not show the location of a no-build area created by private restriction in the chain of title. Since...more

4/10/2014 - Chain of Title Easements Real Estate Investments Real Estate Professionals Surveys Title Insurance

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider: “But I Didn’t Sign Anything” – How Electronic Communication Can Lead to Unexpected Contracts

In a recent Maine case, McClare v. Rocha, the state’s highest court taught us how dangerous email exchanges can be. This case brought to light an issue: whether an exchange of emails between lawyers can create a contract for...more

4/1/2014 - Contract Formation Electronic Communications Email Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip – Condominiums: Development & Declarant Rights

Condominium development is often done in phases, some of which can be done on land referred to expansion land or land reserved for future development. Developers create condominiums by “declaring” them and the right to...more

3/14/2014 - Condominiums Housing Developers Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip – “But I Didn’t Sign Anything”

In a recent Maine case, McClare v. Rocha, 2014 ME 4, the state’s highest court taught us how dangerous email exchanges can be. The issue is whether an exchange of emails between lawyers can create a contract for the sale of...more

2/24/2014 - Contract Formation Email Signatures

Real Estate Tip - Green Building Market Expected to Grow to $83B by 2016

In the last two years a significant number of studies and reports have shown that the trend toward green construction is unmistakable. On the commercial side, more than 60% of firms worldwide report that they are planning new...more

2/10/2014 - Green Buildings LEED Rules Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip – Part 2: Planning Board Demands: When Are They Unconstitutional?

Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District 133 S.Ct. 2586 (2013) - In our last real estate tip, we saw how the U.S. Supreme Court under the Nollan and Dolan cases test conditions of approval under the 5th...more

1/27/2014 - Building Permits Dolan v City of Tigard Easements Eminent Domain Florida Land Developers Municipalities Nollan v California Coastal Commission SCOTUS Takings Urban Planning & Development

Real Estate Tip – Planning Board Demands: When Are They Unconstitutional?

Landowners and developers often complain that their property rights have been “taken” from them as the result of conditions of approval imposed by a planning board. After all, the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment enshrines...more

1/9/2014 - Dolan v City of Tigard Land Developers Nollan v California Coastal Commission Property Owners Real Estate Market SCOTUS

Real Estate Tip – Development Density: Three Key Contributors to Public Infrastructure

Good development requires good public infrastructure. In selecting sites for U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, developers earn points for nearby public transit, walking...more

12/4/2013 - Infrastructure Real Estate Development Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip - Standard Forms May Lead to Not-So-Standard Responsibilities

Standard affidavits and standard indemnities are potential traps for any borrower, even sophisticated commercial developers. Consider the experience of developers in West Virginia. At the closing for a $20 million apartment...more

11/5/2013 - Liens Mechanics Lien Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip: Price Protection for the Stalking Horse Bidder

Real estate buyers may hesitate when a seller is in bankruptcy; extra care is often required. One of many possible bankruptcy-related transaction structures arise when a buyer strikes a deal directly with the bankrupt owner...more

10/21/2013 - Consumer Bankruptcy Real Estate Market

Real Estate Tip – Mortgage Loan Inspections: More Important Than You Think

As a buyer or tenant, if your budget does not allow for a full boundary or American Land Title Association/American Congress on Surveying & Mapping survey plan, be certain to engage a surveyor to conduct a mortgage loan...more

10/4/2013 - Mortgage Loan Inspections Mortgages

Real Estate Tip – Uniform Statutory Trust Entity Act: Citizenship vs. State

Trusts can be a good choice for real estate ownership. Delaware, Connecticut and states that have adopted the Uniform Statutory Trust Entity Act allow “statutory trusts” and some “business trusts” to own real estate in their...more

9/13/2013 - Real Estate Market Trusts

Real Estate Tip – The Built Environment and Profitability

The term “built environment” is used by advocates who see a connection between architecture and the health, vibrancy and sustainability of our communities. Groups seeking to restore historic and architecturally interesting...more

8/26/2013 - Architecture LEED Certified Sustainability

Real Estate Tip – How to Resolve Easement Disputes

Declarations of easements covenants and restrictions and reciprocal easement agreements are common tools used by neighboring businesses to define the use and maintenance of shared spaces – from parking lots and roofline...more

8/9/2013 - Appraisal Arbitration Easements Expert Testimony Mediation Out-of-Pocket Expenses Property Improvements Repairs

Real Estate Tip – Ground Leasing Part 3: Default May Lead to Tenant Losing Building

In parts 1 and 2 of our ground lease series, we discussed the basics of ground leases, including by-agreement and sales-based rent adjustments. Today, we look at another lease issue that becomes more critical in the ground...more

7/22/2013 - Default Foreclosure Ground Leases Landlords Mortgages Rent Tenants

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