Using Your Attorney to Settle Property Line Disputes

Using Your Attorney to Settle Property Line Disputes

When it comes to property law, the potential outcome is all in the details. The specifics of the case will set the table for things to come, and it’s important to have the right information and proof to receive a favorable outcome.

If you have a neighbor giving you trouble regarding the property, you should consider contacting your lawyer just to be prepared. It’s possible they could move forward with legal action at any time, especially if you’ve built anything close to the property lines.

Using your attorney for these situations will leave you better prepared, and in these situations, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important to have a lawyer for property line disputes.

Why Would Your Neighbor Take You to Court for Property Line Disputes?

There are several reasons your neighbor could take you to property court. Sometimes these situations may seem trivial – but normally, they’re well within their rights.

It’s not uncommon for these cases to be a headache more than anything, and often the reason for the court case is generally a waste of time. However, you still need to show up to prove your case.

Neighbors may take these cases to court for the following:

  • If something you’ve built extends even a few inches over the property line
  • If you have trees or other landscaping that extend over the property line
  • If you’ve cut down a tree or a limb on their property, thinking it was yours

You might be asking how your lawyer can help with these situations.

Contact Your Attorney

Your attorney can help by documenting the situation in great detail. They will pair this documentation with property information obtained through the county that has detailed maps outlining the boundaries.

Additionally, your attorney will be well-versed in property law and what you can and can’t get away with, and how much legal ground your neighbor has to stand on.

Evidence and Documentation

Equipped with things like photos, detailed maps, as well as deeds, your lawyer will attend court and make a case for you. Whenever items like this are introduced professionally, it looks good on your part.

This is why it’s always critical to have a quality attorney who is well-prepared for the case. If the judge rules in your favor, you can potentially avoid paying fines and even losing small portions of your property to cover damage to the neighbor’s land. In the end, these court cases may be a headache, but they’re worth showing up to and proving your point if for nothing else, to keep a troublesome neighbor off your back. Contact the professionals at Bell & Shah Law, we can help you navigate the process of your home’s property line and what the steps are to take in the future.

Long Term Leases and Property Transfers

Long Term Leases and Property Transfers

In real estate, long-term property lease situations (30–99 years, with options for lease extensions) are typically referred to as ground leases. Ground leases and subsequent property transfers can be especially tricky for several reasons.

The specifics of a ground lease are as follows: A landowner leases a piece of property (with no improvements or excavations made to the land) to a tenant. The tenant is allowed to construct a building of any form on the land during the lease agreement.

Improvements and Depreciation

Normally, during fresh construction on untouched land certain excavation changes must be made to prepare the land for subsequent building. The problem is that when excavation takes place the improvements will cause an increase in the property value.

What happens in these situations?

During the specific terms of the ground lease, any improvements made to the land will be owned outright by the tenant. The improvements will be depreciated from the rent. The improvements will transfer to the property owner at the end of the rental term.

In rare situations, the landowner will require the tenant to remove the improvements made to the land that satisfy the construction requirements.

During ground lease situations, the landlords and tenants can potentially reap the benefits in the occurrence of the former situation. Depending on how much value was accrued during the lease term, both parties stand to profit a substantial amount from these improvements.

No Longer Tax-Free

In the past, these transactions weren’t grounds for taxation. This was recognized as a type of tax-free loophole that existed between property owners and renters. However, this changed in most states around 2014, depending on the specific geographic location.

If you’re a current landowner who takes place in the beneficial interest of a land transfer that takes place after a lease of 30 years or more (specifically targeting ground leases), you’ll have to pay taxes at a rate of 50 cents for every $500 of property value added to the land during the leasing term.

In many locations, not only are you required to pay a tax on the added value but an additional transfer tax for the mere creation of a ground lease. Additionally, the situation becomes more complicated when a mortgage is involved on the part of the tenant to finance the construction of the building.

If you’re a landowner or tenant involved in a ground lease, it’s important to be aware of the laws regarding these taxes in your location. Each state is unique in the figures and specifics surrounding these situations, and being aware is critical for compliance.

Turn to the experienced lawyers here at Bell Shah Law when you have any type of real estate attorney questions. We will put our years of experience to work for you and ensure you and your real estate are properly represented.

Who Has Legal Claim to a Property Based on Adverse Possession?

Who Has Legal Claim to a Property Based on Adverse Possession?

Whether you are the owner of a Chicago townhouse or a Champaign County farm, your home is likely to be the most valuable item you own, so it is in your best interests to protect it and the land surrounding it. That includes paying close attention to what your neighbors are doing, because if their land use crosses onto your side of the property line they may be able to gain title to parts of your land under the legal doctrine known as adverse possession. In addition, an unknown trespasser could even squat on your land and make a claim to legal ownership under this doctrine.

The Right of Adverse Possession

To ensure that all of your land remains your own and that others are unable to assert their right to portions of it, learning about the Illinois rules on adverse possession is imperative. Adverse possession involves an individual publicly moving into an abandoned property and making improvements to the property, thus being given legal title to it after a certain period of time. Illinois adverse possession laws require that claimants need to occupy a given property for at least 20 years and to provide either “color of title” or payment of property taxes for at least seven of those years.

Let Us Help You Understand Your Rights

Also known as “squatters’ rights,” adverse possession laws are often brought into play by squatters who occupy land or structures that are left vacant or unused. The term “adverse” refers to the fact that those who are claiming the land or structures are doing so against the wishes of the real title holder(s).

Illinois laws are continually changing, and adverse possession laws, which are anything but clear-cut, are no exception. Thus, it is easy to miscalculate and/or produce a costly procedural error when attempting to interpret these laws, making it essential that you contact an experienced Illinois real estate attorney to handle your adverse possession case. Call 773-635-0355 or go to Bellshah.com today to receive our top-tier, personalized counsel on the ins and outs of adverse possession. We look forward to hearing from you.

Considerations for Buying a Second Home

Considerations for Buying a Second Home

Whether you have paid off your first home or just have extra money to spend, buying a second home could be your next big real estate move. Before you commit to owning a second home, whether as a vacation home or income property, there are several things to consider in order to make a responsible decision. Take time to do your research on both potential properties and your own short and long-term financial goals before you begin to browse what is available. 

Can I Afford a Second Home? 

Before you even begin to daydream about a second property, ask yourself if you can truly afford it. Many people decide to purchase their second homes right before or at the beginning of retirement, while others choose to buy a new home while they are still actively working. In any case, knowing you are financially stable enough to afford an additional home is paramount, as if you fall into too much debt, it can be next to impossible to recover financially.

Work with your financial advisor to determine if you can take on an additional mortgage payment, along with homeowner insurance and utilities. If it is going to be a big stretch or have a major impact on your current lifestyle, you might want to save up for a few more years before purchasing that second home.

Know All the Costs

If you do have the money available to responsibly purchase a second property, ensure you know the primary purpose of your purchase. For example, will you be using this property as an income property to rent out to others? If so, make sure you know the ins and outs of renting before you make the purchase. Or, if you are purchasing a vacation home, make sure you plan for any short-stay renters via AirBnB if you are planning on going that route. 

It’s important to be aware that most mortgage rates for second homes can run a bit higher than your first, unless you are paying cash or have a sizeable cash down payment. You should also look into additional costs that can come with purchasing in a different state, including insurance costs associated with hurricanes or flooding. Finally, be prepared to learn more about HOA regulations and requirements if you are looking at a second home within a developed neighborhood. 

If you have found yourself lucky enough to be in the position to consider buying the perfect second home, you want to make sure you do it right. Understanding landlord laws and property taxes for a home across the country can be a daunting task. There is no better time to reach out to Bell & Shah, as their knowledgeable real estate attorneys can help navigate you through the buying process to ensure your best interests are at the center of every decision.

Preparing Your Property for a 2020 Sale

Preparing Your Property for a 2020 Sale

It is common for homeowners to postpone putting their property up for sale during the holiday season. Between the hustle and bustle of the month of December, it is nearly impossible for buyers or sellers to coordinate showings and closings. However, December can be the ideal month to prepare your home to put on the market in the new year. Here are a few ways you can begin this process without adding extra stress this month.

 

Plan Your Timeline

While you can’t be sure how long your home will be on the market, the real estate environment is relatively healthy throughout the Chicagoland area right now. The average time a home sits on the market anywhere from 2 weeks (25% of Chicagoland homes sold in 2 weeks in 2019) to 6 months (50% of homes were sold within this time from in 2019). Before you can put your home on the market in the new year, you should take the time to plan out your desired timeline. For example, if you don’t want to move until the summer of 2020, perhaps you can wait a few months into the new year before putting your home officially on the market.

 

Make a Project List

Your home is probably not in perfect selling condition, and that’s okay! Take the time to walk around the interior and exterior of your home and develop a project list. Prioritize the tasks you need to get done before selling and which ones can wait until you have the extra time or money. Then, start making calls to professionals who can make the changes for you or begin your projects yourself if you are more of a DIYer.

 

Start to Look Around Your Neighborhood

Begin looking at homes that are for sale in your neighborhood as well as those homes that have sold recently. This can help you value your home appropriately as well as determine what home buyers are looking for.

 

Make Your Team

Finally, if you are planning on putting your home up for sale in 2020, begin making your support team now. Find a Realtor you want to work with as well as an experienced real estate attorney. The team here at Bell & Shah has experienced attorneys who are ready to work with you during your sale process. We will advocate for your best interests all the way through the closing process.

 

Call us today to get started!

 

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