PRACTICE AREAS
Corporate / Business Law
Criminal Defense
Estate Planning / Probate
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Personal Injury
Real Estate
Social Security Disability
Workers' Compensation
Wrongful Death
 
ATTORNEYS
Scott D. Brown
John P. Lander
Kim R. Snitker
Travis M. Armbrust
Kaitlyn J. Ausborn
 
Brown, Kinsey,
Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C.

214 North Adams,
Mason City, Iowa 50401
Phone: (641) 423-6223
Fax: (641) 423-9995
REAL ESTATE - Frequently Asked Questions
I. Brokers V. Home Inspection
II. Contracts and Transfers VI. Closing
III. Mortgages and Foreclosure VII. Glossary
IV. Deeds    
"Contact an Iowa real estate lawyer representing clients in Northwood, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation."
 
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Glossary of Real Estate Topics

Real estate law covers a great number of topics, and includes a number of specialized terms and jargon. An experienced real estate attorney can help explain these concepts to you.

Appraisal: An appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value. Appraisals are conducted by an uninvolved third party, and compare the sale price of a property to the values of similar properties in the same area within the past year, preferably within the last six months. Most mortgage lenders require an appraisal before offering a loan.

 

Assessment: A charge levied by the local government for infrastructure that benefits adjacent properties. This includes road work, sidewalks, or sewer/gas lines. Adjacent property owners pay proportional shares of the improvement’s cost.

Broker: A real estate broker works for one of the parties in a real estate purchase. They are licensed persons or organizations.

Closing: The final part of a real estate transaction, where both parties review the terms of sale and the actual sales documents. The seller transfers ownership at the closing, while the buyer generally pays closing costs and, when applicable, finalizes the mortgage.

Condominium: From the Latin for “co-ownership”, a condominium is a building split into individual apartments owned by the residents. The condominium association’s common areas are shared by the owners. The association pays taxes and deals with property maintenance and improvement. Condominium owners generally pay association fees as well as mortgage payments. Property insurance on condominiums or townhouses may or may not be included in homeowner association fees. If they are included in the homeowner’s fees, they do not cover personally owned property, such as furniture or electronics. A review of policies covered by homeowner associations before purchase is wise, as well as a review on the upkeep of the community property.

Contract for Deed: A contract for deed leaves legal ownership of a property with the seller until the buyer makes full payment of the purchase amount. The buyer is given use of the property.

Deed: A document that transfers ownership of real estate. As discussed above, a warranty deed includes a guarantee by the seller that his or her title to the land and improvements is uncontested. A quitclaim deed only transfers rights to the property that an owner has, and contains no guarantee that the seller has a clear abstract, or relieves them from debt in which the property is claimed as collateral.

Foreclosure: This is a process by which a mortgage lender takes legal ownership of a property when a buyer fails to make mortgage payments. In most states, foreclosure proceedings involve court appearances and are regulated to prevent abuse.

Joint Tenancy: A form of ownership in which spouses or other parties own undivided interests in a property and upon the death of one party, ownership passes to the other joint tenant.

Mortgage Loan: Any loan where the collateral is the property being purchased with the loan money. Like foreclosure, mortgage regulations differ from state to state. Mortgage loans may have fixed or adjustable interest rates, and may have balloon payments that have a total balance due after a certain number of years. FHA and VA loans may be transferable, others may not.

RESPA: The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. RESPA protects buyers by requiring mortgage lenders to disclose all policies and relationships to a mortgage borrower. It also requires lenders to provide fair estimates of all service charges and transaction costs.

Survey: A mapping of boundaries, easements, and improvements on a property. Lenders often require surveys before a transaction, especially for commercial or new residential developments, in order to resolve any irregularities. Most states have time limits on the age of surveys.

Title Insurance and Opinion: Title insurance protects buyers against damages resulting from any undiscovered defects in a property’s abstract. An abstract opinion is a legal document drafted by a real estate attorney which lays out the condition of an abstract. Both options can help to reassure a buyer before purchase of a property.

 

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If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa real estate attorney, representing clients in Northwood, Iowa at the Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C.. Give us a call at (641) 423-6223 or email us at bfkl@bfkllaw.com
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Mason City, Iowa Attorney practicing in Iowa primarily in Workers' Compensation & Personal Injury. Lawyers at the Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C. are dedicated to serve their clients in Iowa, including the cities of Mason City, Algona, Allison, Boone, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Clarion, Dakota City, Des Moines, Eldora, Forest City, Fort Dodge, Garner, Grundy Center, Hampton, Marshalltown, Mount Pleasant, Nevada, New Hampton, Northwood, Osage, Toledo, Vinton, Waterloo, Waverly, Webster City and West Union, and the communities that make up Cerro Gordo, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Butler, Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Howard, Humboldt, Kossuth, Linn, Marshall, Mitchell, Polk,  Story, Tama, Webster, Winnebago, Worth, Wright counties.
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