Not long ago, I was looking over a listing agreement for selling a piece of commercial property. The darn thing was 25 pages in small print front and back. Imagine that I thought to sell a piece of property, or even enter a listing agreement you have to sign away 25 pages worth of rights. In any case, it doesn’t make sense to sign anything that you don’t read, and so I had my afternoon cut out for me. Worse, by the time I got done making notes and changes, I was into it for three days.
It is ridiculous I thought, but then I realized how many lawsuits there are with regards to real estate transactions, and how much new case law there has been since the economic implosion of the real estate market. It’s quite unfortunate when you think about it. But that’s the way it works, and that’s the way the cookie crumbles, and there are more storm clouds on the horizon when it comes to laws, lawyers, and real property.
Real Estate lawyers have been a necessity in the industry for as long as private property rights have been with us. Today, with all the new case law, backlogged court cases, and new bureaucratic legislation it has certainly stifled an already problematic sector of our economy since the 2008 crash. Currently, there are 100s of thousands of foreclosure cases tied up in court, and as you know most of the courts are cutting staff and costs too. Many are no longer open on Fridays and there are fewer judges, courtrooms available, and it’s just turned into a giant fiasco.
If banks and mortgage companies cannot foreclose and move those properties things continue to deteriorate from there. There was an interesting article on just this very topic, which in essence makes my point for me, but there are some things I’d like to add, and some considerations which I’d ask you to think about and ask yourself. The article in the Wall Street Journal was published on May 5, 2011 by Nick Timiraos and titled; “Foreclosures Trapped by a Lack of Lawyers” – and he brings up another issue, and discusses the whole “Robo-Signing” debate as well.
Some of these court cases could go on for years, and render the sale many of these properties pending for a long time, and that means no buyer can purchase the property, no bank can foreclose on the property, and meanwhile everything is at a standstill. This isn’t good for anyone, and it’s one of the reasons that I believe real property law is going to have a tough time digging itself out after being buried under tons of debris, legal paperwork, and court cases in 2011. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this.