Real Estate Law

Friday, September 14, 2018

What you Need to Know if you are Selling Your Home to a Relative

Many young families need to upsize right around the time their parents need to downsize.  Or, perhaps you are helping out a relative in financial need by buying their home.  Whatever the circumstance, it’s not uncommon for someone to sell their home to a relative. 

It may be tempting to approach the transaction casually because it’s family.  However, navigating through the home-buying/selling process without an attorney could easily result in unwanted financial penalties that would ruin the potential good that can come from a mutually beneficial transaction.

Read more . . .

Friday, August 11, 2017

Do I Need Owner's Title Insurance?

With the housing market booming again there are many new and repeat home buyers looking to find their dream home.  One of the decisions you will be faced with in the home buying process will be whether or not you need title insurance. The Lender will require you purchase a Loan Policy to protect their interest, but you may be uncertain as to whether or not you need to purchase your own title policy.  For some home buyers they are under the impression that the Loan Policy issued to the Lender will protect them as the new owner as well.  This is a common assumption that many home buyers make as they are unaware of the differences between the two policies.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Renting and found Mold in your Residence?

If you have found mold and believe it is causing health issues for those living in the house, condo or apartment you’re renting and inhabiting, there are steps that can be taken to protect yourself and your loved ones.

First, you can examine your lease to determine what it specifies about maintenance and notify the landlord or management immediately, in writing, about your concerns.  If the mold is due to faulty construction, or due to negligence on behalf of the landlord, you will need to seek a remedy from the landlord. While Georgia doesn’t have a specific law that addresses a landlord’s duties or liability specific to mold, landlords are bound by a statutory duty to maintain and repair the premises as well as the ‘implied warranty of habitability,” meaning that they must provide tenants with a habitable residence.

The ideal situation is one in which landlord and tenant communicate and resolve the issue.

Read more . . .

Monday, October 31, 2016

Why a Real Estate Attorney Should Review Your Lease Before you Sign

The language in legal documents can be intimidating, as terms such as “lessee” and “lessor” replace familiar words like “renter” and “landlord.”  Before you sign a new lease, consider having an experienced real estate attorney review the document and explain the language in layman’s terms.  Taking this step will help you avoid unpleasant surprises (and expenses) associated with items such as late fees and the responsible party for routine maintenance and pest control. 

Make sure the lease fits your lifestyle.  

When reviewing a lease, it’s useful to think about your overall lifestyle.

Read more . . .

Friday, October 14, 2016

Henry County attorneys, judges named to State Bar of Georgia committees

Congrats to three SWWW attorneys for being appointed to serve on special or program committees for the State Bar of Georgia. From the court system to the classrom, we know you will work hard to make a positive impact. 

Janet C. Scott of Smith Welch Webb & White LLC in McDonough will serve on the iCivics Committee, which works toward implementing a comprehensive, standards-aligned online civics curriculum into Georgia’s 8th grade classrooms.

John P.

Read more . . .

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Is Your “Fair Market Value” Not Fair? How to Appeal Your Home Value for Tax Purposes

As a real estate attorney, I am frequently asked questions about how ad valorem taxes relate to home value, and what to do if you believe your home value - and therefore the amount of tax due - is inaccurate.  Referred to as “ad valorem taxes,” these taxes are collected by your local county tax commissioner and the amount due is based on what is deemed the fair market value of your home multiplied by the local tax, or millage, rate.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Risk of Foreclosure and Dual Tracking Mortgage Fraud

Not only is Georgia’s foreclosure rate higher than the national average, but Henry County is among the top five counties in Georgia for foreclosure rates according to   Becoming a victim of the illegal practice dubbed “dual tracking” is an added stress for homeowners who are struggling to find an alternative to foreclosure.


What is “Dual Tracking”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Mortgage Settlement protect homeowners from getting into the foreclosure track while trying to work on an application for loan modification.  Known as “dual tracking,” mortgage servicers cannot legally start foreclosure proceedings while borrowers are actively working on a loan modification or actively seeking an alternative to foreclosure.

Read more . . .

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ten Common Legal Terms for First Time Homebuyers

Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people make in their lifetime.  However, understanding all of the industry terms associated with buying a home can be confusing - especially for first-time homebuyers.  


Here’s a quick reference that first time homebuyers can use to empower themselves with the right vocabulary:

  1. Agent: In real estate, a realtor is usually the first person to come to mind when someone mentions their “Agent.”However, in legal terms, an “agent” may refer to anyone who represents or acts on behalf of another.


  2. Certificate of title: The opinion of the status of title to a property provided by an attorney or title company.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Five Useful Tips for Buying a Rental Property

Done right, a rental property can be a great opportunity to generate income from a real estate investment – with monthly rental income in the short term and again if the property is sold.  However, there is also potential for big financial and legal pitfalls. 

Here are five useful tips for anyone considering investing in a rental property:

Run the numbers – all of the numbers.  It’s easy to compare the monthly mortgage expense and rental income.  But before you purchase a rental property, you need to account for time the home will be vacant between tenants, maintenance and repair, property taxes, insurance and other potential expenses related to the investment.
Read more . . .

Monday, July 6, 2015

Residential Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law in Georgia

Prospective homebuyers have a lot to take into consideration, such as a new daily commute, local schools and the condition of the home. Everyone is different – some do-it-yourselfers are looking for a home improvement project, while others want a turnkey solution. But one thing remains the same: nobody likes to be surprised by a defect in the home that was undisclosed at the time of purchase.

Under Georgia law, home sellers are required to disclose any known defects to potential homebuyers. While sellers want to trade their home at the highest possible value, it’s best to fully disclose any known defects and answer questions truthfully to avoid potential lawsuits.
Read more . . .

Monday, March 23, 2015

Who is a Lawyer?


In our blog, we aim to answer questions in a way that's helpful and easy to understand. We've addressed many topics - from the details of real estate contracts to title insurance - but today I'd like to answer a basic question: Who is a lawyer? 


I don't mean that in an abstract sense. According to state and federal law, there is a very specific definition associated with practicing law, and it is unlawful for any corporation, association, company or person to perform acts defined as "practicing law" if not a licensed attorney. In addition to being unlawful, people or corporations who are not licensed to practice law put their clients at risk.


According to Georgia law, the practice of law includes but is not limited to any of the following:

  • Giving legal advice

  • Preparing legal instruments

  • Rendering opinions on the validity or invalidity of titles to real or personal property .
    Read more . . .

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Smith Welch Webb & White serve clients throughout the south metro Atlanta area including but not limited to McDonough, Stockbridge, DeKalb County, Clayton County, Henry County, Peach County, Jonesboro, Spalding County, Butts County, and Lamar County.

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