Real Estate Lawyers

Florida Real Estate Attorney

Real Estate Law is a broad topic that includes many types of issues. Our attorneys handle almost every type of real estate transaction and dispute. Our real estate attorney in Gainesville, FL can represent you in court, arbitration and mediation with respect to real estate disputes. We can also handle real estate closings, both commercial and residential, and provide you with the expertise needed during due diligence periods. Our attorneys also prepare homeowner’s association documents, condominium association documents, association by-laws, as well as structure the corporate entities necessary to govern the associations.

Real Estate Services Include, But Are Not Limited To:

  • Contract drafting and review
  • Residential and commercial closings
  • Escrow services
  • Condominium and HOA documents
  • Real Estate dispute mediation
  • Real Estate litigation
  • Non-disclosure disputes
  • Landlord-tenant disputes
  • Boundary Disputes
  • Agent / Broker commission disputes

Transactional Matters

Purchasing or selling property is one of the most important transactions for an individual or firm, and it is essential that you have a skilled lawyer who is able to protect your investment and financial interests. Our real estate attorneys are very knowledgeable in all affairs relating to preparing residential and commercial real estate contracts and leases. Our attorneys are also experienced with clients that convert rental properties into condominiums and are able to effectively counsel our clients through this process. Many landlords are unaware of the weaknesses in their leases until it is too late. Our experts are both able to review existing documents so you can make preventative changes to the agreement or protect your legal rights and property in the event of a dispute.


Sometimes a tenant will breach part of their leasing agreement, and in such a case the landlord should contact a lawyer that can protect their financial interests and property. The longer it takes to resolve a situation, the risk losing more time, property value, and money greatly increases. Usually, it is ideal to negotiate directly with the tenant but when such negations fail it is important to have an experienced lawyer at hand when filing an eviction to minimize losses. Our real estate lawyers are also specialized in ownership disputes and are able to review deeds, titles, and probates to prevent discrepancies or assist our clients in taking the necessary steps to correct such matters and minimize losses.

Buying, selling, and leasing properties requires a remarkable level of legal detail. We are focused on providing high-quality services to our clients tailored to their individual needs. The legal needs of homeowners and condominium associations require the attention of an experienced lawyer in the field, and we have worked extensively with various real estate management firms. To ensure that your real estate transaction protects your interests and rights as a business or individual, get in touch with our Gainesville attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A.

Information About Florida Real Estate Law

The attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts P.A. provide answers to common concerns about real estate law in the state of Florida.

Is it necessary for the Seller and Buyer to sign a contract drafted by real estate agents?

In any sale or purchase of real estate property, a well-crafted contract is necessary. Before signing an agreement, be sure to meet with a Gainesville real estate attorney first and have the document reviewed. You want to be sure that the contract reflects multiple-party interests and accounts for all legal concerns.

In a real estate transaction, are all parties required to pay their own Realtor?

Yes. In most real estate transactions, the parties have their own Realtors. As such, they are responsible for individual payments.

In cases in which the parties are represented by real estate agents and have the option of using a title company, is a real estate attorney for a closing really necessary?

Yes. A real estate lawyer in Gainesville, FL is always recommended, even if there are real estate agents and title companies. Most title insurance policies are designed to protect lenders and property owners from claims and disputes. Further, although real estate agents may represent buyers and sellers, their main goal is to close a transaction. In order to ensure that necessary legalities are set in place and to protect yourself, a lawyer is beneficial.

When should a Buyer apply for a mortgage when looking for a house?

If you are considering purchasing a home, you should apply for a mortgage as soon as possible. In fact, you should aim to be pre-approved before you even begin to look at the property. This enables you to know the amount of resources that you are working with and the amount of loans that you may need. Warner, Sechrest & Butts can assist in obtaining financing.

Is a Seller required to make all the repairs listed under the Buyer’s Inspection Report?

No. The Seller is responsible for correcting the major damages, such as mold and infestations. State laws and most real estate contracts identify the levels of defects within a home that requires immediate repair. Before closing the transaction, the Buyer has the right to review the inspection report.

How can a Buyer discover if the Seller really has title to the property being sold?

Copies of title documents are usually accessible via public records.

If the parties are unable to close by the closing date specified within the contract, what are the effects?

Most contracts contain provisions that govern how such issue should be addressed. It is possible for the buying/selling rights to be voided.

If some of the parties are out of town on the closing date, is a closing still possible?

Yes. As a Seller, you can have your signed and notarized paperwork pre-prepared. As a Buyer, you will have to work with can work with Warner, Sechrest & Butts to determine if a Power of Attorney is acceptable. Warner, Sechrest & Butts can assist in the inclusion of appropriate provisions in the contract.

What are some ways that the Seller can ensure protection and that the Buyer is acting in good faith?

The best way is to hire an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that the proceedings and documents adhere to federal and state guidelines, and comport to the common understandings of the parties.

What should I expect at closing?

At a closing, a Buyer, Seller, real estate agent, title insurance representative, and attorneys engage in a meeting to handle the final matters of a real estate transaction. The process involves hefty paperwork for the parties involved to sign and fees to be paid. At the conclusion of a closing that goes well, a Buyer should expect keys to the newly purchased home.

Who is responsible for payments at a closing? What type of payments are made?

Both sellers and buyers will be faced with fees at closing. While negotiation and shared expenses of fees is definitely possible, Buyers are usually responsible for appraisal fees, prepaid insurance, prepaid interest, title insurance, notary fees, origination fees, credit report fees, and general processing fees. Sellers may be required to afford real estate commission fees.

How is a real estate broker different from an agent?

An agent typically represents a larger company or works under the supervision of a licensed broker. A real estate broker works independently.

Is it wise to purchase a home in foreclosure?

Purchasing a home in foreclosure can be either wise or foolish, depending on the conditions and price of the home. It is best to purchase the home during the pre-foreclosure stage or during the early stages of the foreclosure process. The price of a home may be more cost-effective in foreclosure, but the cost of repair and assumed debt may make the investment a poor decision. Consider speaking to experienced real estate attorneys before acting.

What is a purchase offer?

A purchase offer refers to a written document that a Buyer prepares with an attorney. It specifies the amount that the Buyer is willing to place toward a property, as well as contingencies for purchasing the property.

Why is title insurance necessary?

Title insurance protects owners and lenders from most lawsuits, claims, disputes, and loss of property concerning ownership of or title to the property.

Why is a deed necessary?

When transferring real estate, signed paperwork is necessary to prevent future conflicts. A deed outlines the general details of an estate and makes note of current and past owners. These records validate the real estate transfer.

Are commercial real estate transactions more challenging to complete than residential transactions?

Yes. There are more issues to address and regulations to adhere to during commercial real estate transactions that make the process more complex than residential transactions.

What environmental issues are considered problematic?

Common environmental concerns for real estate may include the presence of toxic mold, poor water quality, groundwater and soil contamination. xxx These conditions diminish the value of a given property and raise issues of safety. Always be sure to inquire about a real property’s environmental issues.

How should commercial property be valued?

The Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM) is the best approach for valuing property. This method accounts for the gross rental income of a given property. It may also be helpful to consider other factors, such as the age and location of a given property.

Is there a difference between construction real estate and construction law?

Yes. Construction law is a broad field that monitors the ways in which structures and projects are built. It deals with contracts, disputes, licensing, regulations and inspections. Meanwhile, construction real estate deals with the buying and selling of completed projects.

Can I sue tenants who do not pay rent?

Yes. It is usually common for landlords to sue tenants who fail to pay outstanding balances upon expiration of a lease and/or departure from the property.

If your tenants consistently fail to pay rent, you have the right to pursue a case in court. This is done to either order the tenants to pay rent or demand an eviction.

Is it possible for the debts and terms of a commercial mortgage to be assumed by a buyer?

Yes. In order for a commercial mortgage to be assumed, there must be an assumption provision in the original loan document. This clause should specify the type of qualifications that a borrower must meet to be eligible for assuming the commercial mortgage.

I am a tenant in a shopping center. If my landlord loses the building in foreclosure, will I lose my place or suffer any risks?

When a building is foreclosed, most leases are voided by default. Banks will attempt to sell the property as soon as possible, which may result in an eviction. You may lose rights to your shopping center and be required to move into a new bundling within a short timeframe.

While this is certainly unfortunate, you may be able to file suit against your landlord for either failing to disclose to you that the property was entering foreclosure or for failing to adhere to the terms and conditions of the lease.

Once the foreclosure process begins, is it still possible to buy a property?

Yes. There are several stages in the foreclosure process in which a Buyer may step in to purchase the property. Keep in mind, however, that although purchasing a house that is going through foreclosure is less expensive than the original market value of the property, you may be responsible for additional fees. Costs to repair the home and assumed debt are factors that you should consider before making a decision. Visit our real estate law firm if you are interested in purchasing property that is on the foreclosure market.

Do I pay for utilities under a commercial lease?

It depends on the type of commercial lease agreement that you enter into. If you sign a gross or full-service commercial lease, you will not have to afford utility fees. However, if you enter into a net lease, you may be required to pay additional fees for utility. Before signing any commercial lease, be sure to look for relevant maintenance clauses and inquire about how all of the fees and costs associated with a commercial property will be arranged and distributed.

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