Here are some common areas that I've dealt with in real estate. Please scroll through, and if you don't see something helpful regarding real estate, contact me or check out my Real Estate Development Page.

I've sued every player in a real estate deal: real estate agents, title companies, brokers, escrow officers, etc.

I was licensed as an attorney in Illinois in 1999 (currently, I'm inactive in Illinois because I live in Utah) and immediately began handling real estate transactions and evictions.  In 2004, I became licensed in Utah, and a large part of my practice has been real estate.  Over the years, I've sued every player in a real estate transaction.

Condemnation, eminent domain, or interference with quiet enjoyment

I've represented several property owners in condemnation or "takings" cases. An excellent resource for any property owner facing condemnation is the Property Rights Ombudsman website.

Utilities and government agencies like UDOT probably have the authority to take your property. 

If UDOT, Rocky Mountain Power, another utility or governmental agency, etc., are condemning your property, it's doubtful that you'll be able to stop them.   Emotions can run high, and you might want to fight the taking on the basis that "they have no right."  If someone advises you that you have a basis to fight the taking itself, you should get a second opinion.  You can talk to me for free about it. 

"Just compensation" or how much money will be paid for the taking is the question.

You're entitled to "just compensation."  So, the taking must be valued.  Determining the value of a property is done by appraisers.

I have reviewed tens of thousands of appraisals for my real estate career.  I had argued the value of real property before administrative agencies and courts thousands of times since I was licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1999 (inactive) and Utah in 2004 (active).

Let's talk for free before you hire that appraiser

Before you put any money down to find out how much your property is worth, let's talk.  Not all appraisers are created equal. 

Are you considering "investing" in real estate?

I've had numerous folks visit me who have invested in shady real estate deals.  If you're considering investing in real estate, keep these points in mind:

  • Whether it's your best buddy or the most spiritual person at your church, if it's not in writing, signed by the parties, and identifies the property, it's not a valid conveyance. Utah Code 25-5-1
  • Once you've identified the property, go to the county recorder's office and research the property.  
  • Interests in real property must be recorded at the county recorder's office.  Just because you signed a deed and other paperwork doesn't mean you're protected. I've had cases where the deed was never recorded, and the client's money was lost. Utah Code 57-4a-4. 

Failure to disclose the defect.

Another area that I have experience in is folks purchasing property only to find that a defect wasn't disclosed as required.  It could be mold, collapsible soils, latent construction defect, blocked pipe, broken pipe, the list goes on and on.

A young couple hired me after finding mold throughout their home.  We sued everyone involved and eventually discovered an older appraisal for the property that had pictures of the mold.  It was a real estate agent that had flipped the property.  Fortunately, we were able to settle the case.

Failing retaining wall and water drainage

Utah has lots of hillside and mountainside development.  I've seen two significant issues in Utah that I didn't see in Chicago: intruding water and failing retaining walls.

Water from adjoining property owners can pool and flood a lower property.  Likewise, a retaining wall can fail, and often water drainage and retaining wall failure appear together.

It's critical that you not agree to resolve these types of disputes until you consult with an attorney.  It's also essential to get estimates of the cost to fix the problem(s).

The non-married couple that brought a home gets a "divorce."

Wow! I've had more than a few cases involving two committed lovers who purchased a home or other real estate together, and then they broke up. You can bring a partition action to force a sale of the property.  Utah Code 78B-6-1201

Forcing a real estate deal to go through or killing it

I've often represented property sellers who've had buyers try and back out at the last minute.  Sometimes in these cases, the brokerage holding the earnest money will release it without authority. I've successfully sued buyers and sellers in real estate transactions for a variety of reasons.