Practice Areas

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real estate transactions are often complex, involving substantial sums of money, difficult legal issues, and many moving parts. Our firm is prepared to represent clients in both commercial and residential real estate transactions by assisting in negotiations, drafting the necessary documents, resolving ownership issues, and guiding clients through whatever issues may arise during the transaction. 

Below, for your own information, we have included the general closing process for real estate transactions. However, this information does not include everything you may need to know regarding your sale or purchase of real estate, and each transaction is different. Please contact our office for specific advice regarding your transaction. 

Closing Process

After the Offer to Buy Real Estate and Acceptance or Purchase Agreement is accepted, the Seller will need to have the abstract of title for the real estate continued by an abstract company. The abstract includes a list of all documents (e.g. Deeds, Mortgages, etc.) that are part of the public record at the County Recorder’s Office, the Courts, and other governmental offices that affect title to the property. Continuation of the abstract can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks and is usually paid for by the Seller.

After the abstract has been continued, it should be delivered to the Buyer’s attorney for a title opinion. If the Buyer is obtaining financing, the Buyer’s lender may retain an attorney to examine the abstract and render the title opinion. Most Buyers rely on the lender’s attorney’s title opinion and do not retain an independent attorney to examine the abstract. The title opinion for the Buyer will usually be at the Buyer’s expense. The title opinion will indicate, based on the abstract, whether the Seller has marketable title to the property. Sometimes the attorney examining the abstract will note objections in the opinion that raise questions about the Seller’s title. Most notable objections would be mortgages, outstanding property taxes, and the like.

If you are a purchaser of real estate, you should consider whether to purchase protection offered by an Owner’s Title Guaranty Certificate and the optional endorsements to such Certificates. These Certificates are issued by the Title Guaranty Division of the Iowa Finance Authority. A Title Guaranty Certificate provides certain protection to a Buyer that exceeds the protection available through a title opinion, such as matters which cannot be abstracted or investigated because it is impossible or not feasible to do so.
The Seller is responsible for preparing the Deed, Groundwater Hazard Statement (GWHS), Declaration of Value (DOV), and closing statement. The Deed conveys the property to the Buyer. The GWHS indicates whether there are any hazardous wastes, solid waste disposal sites, underground storage tanks, abandoned wells, or private burial sites on the property. The DOV reports the purchase price paid by the Buyers. The GWHS and DOV must accompany the Deed when the Deed is recorded by the Buyer. If the Buyer’s lender is providing financing, normally the lender will prepare a closing statement reflecting the purchase price, applicable credits (such as accrued taxes, transfer taxes, earnest money, etc.), and the amounts due the Seller at closing.
After closing, the Buyer or the Buyer’s lender will need to record the Deed, Declaration of Value, and Groundwater Hazard Statement. These documents are usually recorded at the Buyer’s cost. The abstract should be kept by the Buyer or the lender.

Family Law

Managing family matters can be a difficult and emotional process, and our firm is equipped to offer effective legal assistance to achieve the best possible results. We have walked beside clients through many family-related matters including:

If you need legal assistance in one of these areas, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Our firm is ready to provide you with the individualized attention that you and your family may need.