Delaware housing upturn may increase need for legal counsel

The Sussex County housing market is experiencing healthy, steady growth.

The Delaware housing market has come back from the devastating impact of the collapse of the housing boom and associated recession, according to a January 2016 article in The News Journal. In response, many people, including retirees, are choosing to buy or build to take advantage of the taxpayer-friendly state tax structure.

In Sussex County, house sales volume bottomed out in 2008. From a median home sale price of $300,000 in 2005, median prices dropped to $245,470 in the county in 2011. In the current recovery, Sussex County median house prices in 2015 grew to a healthier $277,500, reports the Delaware Association of Realtors.

Many come to Sussex County to enjoy the beautiful, vibrant and charming communities along the Delaware coastline. Not surprisingly, expensive beach homes are part of the current growth in real estate sales and development.

It is important for anyone involved in residential or commercial real estate sales or development, from individuals to large developers, to engage legal counsel early on to help negotiate an extremely complicated and detailed area of law and to understand how to protect all legal rights.

Real estate ownership, title, transfer, development and use involve the drafting, review and filing of many legal documents. A mistake or omission in such a document can create legal headaches down the line, including the possibility of title and ownership problems. It is therefore crucially important to involve a lawyer in this process.

Residential real estate

People buying or selling residential property like homes, townhomes or condominiums retain attorneys for representation in a wide array of matters, including:

  • Closings and other transactions
  • Document drafting, review and filing
  • Title defects
  • Boundary disputes
  • Easements
  • Dispute resolution through negotiation or litigation
  • Eminent domain and condemnation
  • Variances and permits
  • And more

In addition, residential landlords and renters may need legal counsel related to leases, security deposits, repairs, rent withholding, rent delinquency, collections, dispute resolution, eviction and other litigation, and more.

Real estate development

Residential developers and builders in Sussex County also face a wide variety of legal matters, many of which involve interaction with local and state government bodies, boards and officials. An attorney can prepare applications and presentations to zoning boards, boards of adjustment, planning commissions and individual officials regarding matters ranging from creating subdivisions, obtaining conditional use and other kinds of permits and requesting variances to installing roads, sewers and utilities.

Any real estate matter will involve negotiation and either the drafting or review of resulting legal documents to facilitate transactions and establish property transfer and title, followed by appropriate filing with government offices. Finding a lawyer with extensive real estate experience is crucial for these services as well as advice and guidance to protect a client's interests.

Finally, legal counsel can facilitate negotiation in case of a real estate dispute in the hope of reaching a settlement or, if necessary and appropriate, file a lawsuit on behalf of the client.

In this time of steady economic growth, the real estate attorneys at Tunnell & Raysor, P.A., with four offices throughout Sussex County represent buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate, builders and developers, and residential and commercial landlords, property owners, managers and tenants.