We at the Law Offices of Nolan and Nolan, P.C. advise our clients on an array of legal issues pertaining to real estate. Whether our clients' issues are as simple as drafting a Declaration of Homestead or litigating complex title issues, we are here to help.
We have decades of experience representing buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate; we have helped countless landlords and tenants resolve difficult situations; and, we have won jury trials in Superior Court over property title disputes.
When buying or selling a home, it is important that your interests are protected. This is doubly true if the other side has an attorney. Likewise, get help if there are contingencies such as the buyer having to sell their present home before being required to buy or the seller having to find another "suitable" home before having to sell.
Buying or selling a home is a HUGE financial transaction. Buyers have a lot of their hard earned money being held as a deposit. Their failure to follow proper procedures could result in the forfeiture of their deposit. Conversely, sellers are attempting to sell their biggest asset. Adding protective language to a purchase and sale agreement keeps the buyer committed to the purchase; otherwise, a buyer could walk away from a real estate deal without consequence and the seller has taken the home off the market during a peak selling season.
Remember that almost all real estate transactions start out friendly. Everyone is happy. The buyer may be buying their dream home. The seller is happy that they're getting a fair price for their home. It is only when there is a problem that things take a turn for the worse. If a buyer's financing is thrown into question at the last minute by an unreasonable mortgage company, everyone's position changes immediately. If a lender does not provide a mortgage commitment letter by the stated date in the P&S, a buyer can forfeit their entire deposit, or even worse, be responsible for ALL losses a seller incurs. We have seen this many times. This is when having a qualified attorney representing your interests from the start is invaluable.
Keep in mind that real estate brokers work for themselves. They only get paid if the deal goes through. Real estate brokers are not always looking out for your best interests. Get an attorney who is only looking out for your best interests. Most situations that turn real estate matters into a nightmare can be avoided with proper language being inserted into a purchase and sale agreement. We at Nolan and Nolan routinely draft language to prepare for unexpected situations that may arise when buying or selling real estate. The cost of protection is small, but the piece of mind and benefit received is priceless.
Landlord-tenant law is a significant part of our practice at Nolan and Nolan. We have extensive experience in representing both landlords and tenants in Summary Process (Eviction) matters. Like most areas of the law, it is vital to protect your interests from the outset. A carefully drafted Lease or Tenancy at Will Agreement can nip potential problems in the bud. The "One Size Fits All" leases found online or in retail stores are not specifically tailored to Massachusetts law and are filled with ambiguous language and unenforceable provisions.
A landlord should contact a qualified attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law immediately upon notice of a problem with a tenant. We cannot count how many times a landlord has contacted us after a significant period when a tenant is not making regular rental payments. It is not uncommon for a tenant to start falling further and further behind by either making no payments or partial payments, only to end up being a year or more in arrears on their rent. This could be avoided by calling us immediately.
Once a tenant gets more than a couple of months past due, they have no incentive to leave. It is actually cheaper for the tenant to stay for as long as possible without paying, as they will only need enough money for first, last and possibly a security deposit for their next place to live. Many clients contact us only after a tenant has fallen a year or more behind in their rent. Whether it is a nonpayment of rent case, or a difficult tenant, we can protect your interests.
Massachusetts is a very "pro-tenant" state. At times, it can seem like tenants have more rights than landlords. It is imperative that a landlord follow proper procedures when dealing with tenants. For example, the Massachusetts Security Deposit Law (G.L. ch. 186, §15B) dictates the precise procedures that a landlord must follow in order to comply with the statute. When taking a security deposit from a tenant, a landlord's failure to strictly comply with the Security Deposit Law can result in significant liability including the imposition of multiple damages and attorneys fees awarded to the tenant. Taking the proper steps from the start is the best way of protecting your interests. If you find yourself in such a situation, call us for help.
We advise every homeowner in Massachusetts to place a Declaration of Homestead on their primary residence. Massachusetts has enacted the Homestead Act, G.L. ch. 188. Doing so protects the first $500,000 in equity in a primary residence from most creditors if the Homestead is properly executed and recorded at the Registry of Deeds in which the real estate sits. The Homestead can be placed on any residence used, or intended to be used, as a person's primary residence. It can be used in a property placed in a trust. It can also be used for mobile homes and manufactured homes. It can protect a person's equity even after a divorce.
If you are either disabled or over 62 years of age (or both), two homeowners such as a husband and wife can each invoke their $500,000 in protection for a total of $1,000,000 in equity protection under the Homestead Act. It should be noted the Homestead Law does not apply to certain matters including taxes, mortgages and child support obligations, among other things.
We at Nolan and Nolan are also experienced in dealing with other types of real estate matters including boundary disputes, easements, right of way matters and title disputes in District Court, Land Court and Superior Court throughout Massachusetts. If you find yourself in need of legal representation relative to any type of real estate matter, contact Nolan and Nolan immediately.
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