Real Estate FAQ

What is “adverse possession?”

It refers to the notion in law by which openly and notoriously possessing, occupying or using some real estate to which you have some colorable claim of right or title, for a period of 15 years, with the true owner’s knowledge and without objection, might prevent the true owner from denying you use or ownership of it.

Do I need a lawyer to review my real estate purchase?

Of course, nothing requires it. But consider this: most real estate agents, even if you contacted them, actually work for the seller (unless you hire that agent as a Buyer’s Broker). Real estate, especially your home, is the single-largest investment most people will make during their lifetime. Do you really think that you should go through with that deal, with no one having looked it over, for you?

What happens to the earnest money if a real estate transaction does not close?

“Earnest money” is the deposit made by a buyer who is seriously interested in a piece of property. If the deal closes, the money is applied to the purchase. If it does not . . . Everyone must look to the purchase contract to determine what happens to that money. If the contract doesn’t specify the circumstances of your case, you may have a dispute between the parties, that will need to be worked out.

What does “tenants by the entireties” mean?

“Tenants by the entireties” is a type of ownership available only to a married ciuple, under Michigan law. If you and your spouse own property as tenants by the entireties, you both, together, own the whole. A creditor of only one of you cannot get at any portion of that property.

How is a land contract different from a mortgage?

There are many differences, but the first is that as a land contract buyer, you do not get legal title (ownership) of the property, until the contract is fully paid. You have only an equitable claim to title, that can be cut off (forfeited) for virtually any breach of the contract.

What can I do if someone cuts down my trees?

The unauthorized removal of timber or trees has a special remedy, for the landowner, under Michigan law.