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Businesses may face ADA claims if websites have these elements

As a business owner, you understand the importance of reaching potential clients and customers. As a result, you likely have a website for your company that can provide information for those interested in your business, provide opportunities for making purchases online and for various other purposes. You may have spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that your website looks good and is relatively easy to navigate.

However, were you thinking about the standard website user or did you include users with disabilities when you considered the ease of navigation? Often, many companies do not consider how certain aspects of their websites may not be accessible to individuals with disabilities or certain health conditions. While this may not seem like a big deal, it could open your company up to lawsuits.

When it's better to buy instead of rent

Individuals in California and throughout the country generally have the ability to either rent or own a property. In some instances, it can be in a person's best interest to rent instead of buy. However, let's take a closer look at some of the reasons why a person may want to buy instead of rent. For instance, those who are looking to become a permanent member of a community may be best served by purchasing a home.

This is because a homeowner will generally need to stay in a house for at least four years to pay off closing and other upfront costs. Therefore, it may not make sense to buy a house unless the buyer is willing to stay there for at least five years or more. Typical closing costs include a down payment, real estate taxes and anything owed to a real estate agent.

Website ADA - California Court holds "No Place No Case"

California State Court Follows "No Place No Case" Doctrine.  In Thurston v. Midvale Corp., 39 Cal. App. 5th 634, 640-41 (Sep 3, 2019) , the Court closely followed 9th circut Federal Case, Robles vs Domino's Pizza.  On the one hand, the Court allowed an ADA website case to go forward, but it also stated that the main reason for doing so, just as in the Robles case, was because there was a likely nexus between the website and the defendant's physical store, stongly suggesting that without the nexus to a physical location where customers can obtain goods or services, there would be no ADA case.  This is what the Karlin Law Firm has called the "No Place - No Case" doctrine, or for short the Karlin Wesite Doctrine.  Good news for websites which have customers in California.

Building spec homes as a real estate investment

The real estate market is booming in many places in California, and it may be tempting to build a spec house for people who want to make money from an investment. Where housing supplies are limited and many people are interested in newly built properties, there may be buyers lined up to repurchase a spec home almost as soon as it is completed. Still, there are reasons why some investors may want to consider different options when choosing the most profitable path in real estate investment.

Buying a spec house is similar in some ways to house flipping. Rather than remodeling or refurbishing an existing house to make it more marketable, investors have an entirely new home built for the purposes of quick resale. When planning the budget for a spec house, there are fewer potentially problematic surprises than with a flipped property. This also means that profit margins may be higher as people interested in buying new homes may want immediate delivery without needing to hire contractors and wait for construction. Costs may be lower at the beginning as well because investors start with a land purchase rather than buying an already valuable home.

Why home buyers need cash reserves

Those who are looking to buy a home in California or any other state must be financially stable enough to do so. Generally speaking, banks will require borrowers to have an equivalent of up to three months' worth of income in a savings account. Furthermore, buyers may need to have thousands of dollars available to pay closing costs and make an earnest deposit. Banks generally require borrowers to have a cash reserve to ensure that they have money available to make future payments.

In some cases, lenders will provide leeway as to what they consider a large enough cash reserve. Those who have money tied up in relatively liquid assets may be approved for a loan even if they have don't have a lot of money in a savings or checking account. The type of loan that a person is seeking may also play a role in how large his or her cash or asset reserve must be.

ADA lawsuits are now taking aim at gift cards

You may have taken every possible step to provide accessibility to your customers with disabilities, as required in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This may include replacing steps with ramps, widening doorways, adding grab bars in the bathrooms and anything else that would make your place of business as comfortable as possible for all your potential customers. You may also have hired a professional to evaluate your website and help you upgrade it to meet and maintain ADA compliance.

Just when you think you can relax and enjoy the business of the holiday shopping season, new allegations of non-compliance arise against you. This time, the target of the accusations is your business's gift cards.

Tips for selling homes during the winter months

Selling a home during the holiday season may be a challenge for homeowners in California and throughout the country. Part of the challenge of selling a home in November or December is that real estate agents, loan officers and others may have limited hours. This means that there is a higher likelihood that an inspection or an appointment with a loan officer takes more time to schedule or gets postponed.

Homeowners are encouraged to make their homes look and feel as inviting as the holiday season itself. For instance, it may be a good idea to bake cookies or put poinsettias out on the front step. However, it is important to decorate in a manner that doesn't create a lot of clutter. It is also important to ensure that the interior is painted and that minor repairs have been made.

Pros and cons of buying a relatively expensive home

People in California who are in the market to purchase real estate might fall in love with a home that puts the others in the neighborhood to shame. The highest-priced home on the block, though, is sometimes the worst with regard to future value and potential gains. There are pros and cons to buying the most expensive house in the area; homebuyers would do well to consider both before making a purchase decision.

One advantage of buying one of the more expensive houses in a neighborhood is that it is less likely to require significant improvements. The buyer will probably not have to deal with in-home construction projects soon after moving in. Another advantage is that the resale value of the place is likely to be higher. Finally, there is less pressure to try to keep up with the neighbors when a person buys the highest-priced home on the block. If the house is already one of the nicest, the neighbors' properties are less likely to be a source of envy.

Commercial real estate insurance rates on the rise

Commercial real estate owners in California may be concerned about the growth they could face in property insurance rates. In 2019, there were 14 severe weather incidents across the country, including tornadoes, flooding and heavy winds that caused billions of dollars in damages to homes and commercial properties. According to an insurance broker, commercial property investors are paying higher premiums than they were a few years previously due to escalating costs attributed to natural disasters. Over the past eight quarters, property insurance rates have escalated for commercial real estate owners.

In past years, property insurance rates declined over 16 straight quarters, or four full years. Three major hurricanes, Irma, Harvey and Maria, caused commercial real estate insurance rates to begin to increase. In 2019 alone, office, industrial, hospitality and multifamily properties have seen their insurance premiums rise by 16% as an average. California property owners may be facing even greater increases than others because the state, along with Florida and Texas, faced more substantial losses linked to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Property owners in these areas have seen a 22% increase, but those in areas that have directly experienced weather damage have been paying rates of up to 50% higher.

Reasons some are putting off a home purchase

Only 21% of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a house according to a poll conducted by Fannie Mae. This is down from 28% from September, and the new data follows a summer in which the overall housing market was strong. Buyers in California and throughout the country feel that homes are becoming less affordable. Prices have been on the rise in recent months as mortgage interest rates have fallen and a larger number of buyers entered the market.

However, as demand increases, mortgage rates are starting to go up as well, and that often leads to higher mortgage payments even if home prices stayed flat. According to one economist, stagnant wages are also making it difficult for individuals to afford homes in many cities. Prices are expected to rise in 93% of metropolitan markets according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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