A former site selection and development professional for McDonalds Restaurants and Albertsons Supermarkets,  Mike Emmert, has authored a new book, The Site Seer.

In that book Mike Emmert shares his knowledge and experiences as a real estate professional.  Finney Law Firm founder Chris Finney has been privileged to work with Emmert on development projects in Ohio and was impressed with his skills.  As a result, they formed a fast and lasting friendship.

Chris Finney is featured in Emmert’s new book with a quote of endorsement and encouragement.

We heartily recommend the book for the reading of any real estate professional, or aspiring investor, or student of real estate.

Read it about it and buy it through this link. ¬†Read Mr. Finney’s comments here.

The essence of a real estate contract is an exchange of (i) cash from the buyer for (ii) some conveyance of title, and some quality of title from the seller.  Certainly, there are many other provisions of a contract that are important and we review each of these, but the exchange of money for title to real estate is the core transaction taking place.

When I review a purchase contract, the first place my eyes go, is asking ‚Äúwhat is the standard of title, the quality of title that the seller has to convey to the buyer.‚Ä̬† The standards in the ‚Äúindustry‚ÄĚ are markedly divergent on this issue (there is no legal requirement of the minimum quality of title to be conveyed; it is a matter of contact). ¬†The most common standards are:

o¬†¬†¬†Good, clear and marketable title, subject to ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ exceptions.¬†¬†This quality of title basically does not exist for most properties located in an urban area because of subdivision covenants, utility easements, and other standard encumbrances.

o   Good, clear and marketable title subject to such exceptions as will not interfere with the use and enjoyment of the property for its intended use (e.g., residential  retail, manufacturing, etc.).  This is the most common form of residential title provision and this is the provision presently in the standard Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors contract.  As a practical matter this provides the buyer the right to object to title matters through the closing.

o ¬† The Buyer checks the quality of title and within a number of days approves the quality or rejects the quality, terminating the contract.¬† If he does not reject title exceptions within ‚Äúx‚ÄĚ number of days, he is bound to accept them.¬†¬†This is the type of title exception most common in commercial real estate contracts.

These provisions are fundamentally different standards that, depending on the circumstances, could materially affect the buyer’s rights under the contact.  (There are other standards as well; each contract may be different.)

I once appeared before a Judge who posited to me that Ohio’s Marketable Title Act, ¬†R.C. ¬ß5301.47, et seq., dictates as between a buyer and a seller the quality of title that must be conveyed at the closing. ¬†This is¬†unquestionably¬†a misapplication of the¬†statute. ¬†Ohio’s Marketable Title Act¬†defines marketable title as an objective standard. ¬†This may be helpful for interpreting contract provisions relative to the quality of¬†title to be conveyed (i.e., if the parties promise one another that marketable title is what will be delivered, or perhaps the standard in the absence of a contractual provision), but the contract itself will define what the parties have promised one another and are therefore obligated, respectively, to deliver and accept.

Each buyer and seller should carefully consider the consequences of the title covenants in a contract, because those covenants will dictate how they must proceed thereafter and their relative rights and responsibilities under the contract.  This typically is the centerpiece of the relationship under a real estate contract.

Thisx¬†week,¬†Christopher Finney will present ‚ÄúReducing your property taxes‚ÄĚ in two forums:

1) The consistently ground-breaking Empower-U lecture series will host Christopher Finney at Connections Christian Church, 7421 East Galbraith Road, on Tuesday, February 24, from 7 to 8:30 PM.  You can register and read about all of their course offerings for the Spring here.

2) Cincinnati Realtor Ellie Kowalchik and Summit Funding’s Aaron Denton team up for an informative evening on Thursday, February 26, from 6:30 to 8 PM at the Oasis Conference Center, Loveland, Ohio.  You may RSVP by emailing Ellie at info@move2loveland.com by February 18th.

All are invited to each of these courses.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Ten days ago experienced real estate attorney Rick Turner and his capable staff of Patti Gillespie and Evan Meredith joined our operations by launching Ivy Pointe Title, LLC, performing residential and commercial title and closing services.

Today, we are proud to announce their arrival with their new web site,  www.IvyPointeTitle.Com, and Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts.

Further, we have implemented on-line ordering and will be serving our clients with a sophisticated client portal.  These are our first important commitments to evolving technology in the title industry.

 

Chris and Dusty 2
Chris Finney and County Auditor Dusty Rhodes

Each year for the past six years, we have been pleased to co-teach with County Auditor Dusty Rhodes a continuing education class to the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors entitled “How to Reduce Your Property Taxes.”

The 3-hour class is designed to teach Realtors in detail how their Ohio tax bill is calculated and presented, and the process for challenging the Auditor’s valuation before Ohio’s 88 Boards of Revison.

This year the class, at the Board offices, was held on Wednesday, January 21.

Finney Law Firm’s attorneys¬† are experienced practitioners before the Boards of Revision throughout Ohio and the property valuation administrators of Kentucky to challenge the valuation of real property — thus resulting in a reduction of real estate taxes.

March 31 is the statutory deadline each year in Ohio to file a challenge to the valuation of real property.  If you miss that deadline, you must wait until the next tax year, and tax refunds for over-valued property only cover the current tax year.  Thus, a missed deadline is a missed potential refund of taxes.

If you desire for Finney Law Firm to analyze the valuation of your real property for a possible reduction, please contact Christopher P. Finney at 513-943-6655 for a free preliminary assessment.

The most popular question this week at our seminar on Ohio Condominium law was:

What’s the difference between a condominium and a landominium under Ohio law?

Well, we hate to give such a lawyerly answer, but the question requires it.

We are taught to think of rights in real estate as a bundle of straws with an infinite number of straws in it.  One straw might be the right to possession for a year, another straw might be the mineral rights under the property, another straw might be the right to occupy in common certain areas of the property, such as a shared easement.  The owner of property has the right to parcel out these rights contractually as he sees fit.

Ohio law does not define a landominium, and a developer signing a declaration “dividing up” these property rights can thus largely on his own determine the contractual rights¬†and obligations under the landominium documents, such as what are¬†common areas, what areas the association maintains, voting rights of owners, etc. ¬†Acccordingly, a landominium is largely whatever a developer says it is. ¬†And it will be different project -to-project.

In some degree of contrast, Ohio law does define a condominium. ¬†And a declaration dividing up those property rights in a condominium has some minimum contents under the Ohio condominium statute. ¬†For example, all condominium property is divided between “unit” and “common areas,” and “common areas” are divided between “general common areas” and “limited common areas,” i.e., limited in use to fewer than all unit owners.

But, again, the creation of a condominium is largely a creature of contract, not statute.  So, within the minimum constraints of the condominium statute, the developer largely decides what the declaration will contain and how to allocate the rights among the unit owners.

So, in short, to be a “condominium” under Ohio law the declaration must contain the minimum requirements of the statute, and a “landominium” is whatever the developer says it is.

This week, Christopher Finney will be teaching two courses to Cincinnati-area Realtors:

1) ¬†On Wednesday, Mr. Finney will teach “Core Law” to the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors from 9 to noon. ¬†The course will cover, among other things, the new form contract of the Cincinnati Board of Realtors, new residential loan and closing forms required starting this summer,¬†laws allowing for electronic signatures and new rules for registering clandestine drug labs.

2) On Thursday, Mr. Finney will teach a course on Ohio Condominium Law for the Comey & Shepherd, Realtors from 1 to 4 PM.

If your company or group wants a presentation on a matter of Ohio real estate law, Mr. Finney is glad to cooperate.

 

The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors implemented a new residential contract form for use starting January 1, 2015.  The changes are substantial, compared to Board contracts in effect prior to now:

  • The contract gives an option for a “short proration” of real estate taxes. ¬†Instead of prorating for the entire period of unpaid taxes, the proration is only for the current period (a difference of about six months). ¬†This is largely a new concept to the Cincinnati marketplace;
  • The contract calls for payment from the seller to the buyer of the CAUV recoupment amount. ¬†This change alone could result in a substantial credit on closings of agricultural property;
  • Shifting of expenses from¬†buyer to seller, including an option for the¬†seller to pay $300 of¬†an owners’ policy of title insurance; and
  • The obligation¬†for the seller to provide extensive information on covenants and assessments.

So, it’s “buyer beware” and “seller beware” with respect to the new contract form.

Next week,¬†Christopher Finney will present “Reducing your property taxes” in two forums:

1) The consistently ground-breaking Empower-U lecture series will host Christopher Finney at Connections Christian Church, 7421 East Galbraith Road, on Tuesday, February 24, from 7 to 8:30 PM.  You can register and read about all of their course offerings for the Spring here.

2) Cincinnati Realtor Ellie Kowalchik and Summit Funding’s Aaron Denton team up for an informative evening on Thursday, February 26, from 6:30 to 8 PM at the Oasis Conference Center, Loveland, Ohio. ¬†You may RSVP by emailing Ellie at info@move2loveland.com by February 18th.

All are invited to each of these courses.  We look forward to seeing you there!