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How to resolve property line disputes

It is possible that homeowners in California and elsewhere will one day find that a neighbor has placed a fence on their property. While this generally happens by accident, it is important to take care of the issue in a timely manner to avoid a scenario called adverse possession. In such a scenario, a court awards the land to the neighbor because he or she used it for many years or decades without issue.

Homeowners can confirm that an object is encroaching on their land by looking at maps provided by local authorities. If the map confirms that an object is on a person's property, he or she may then initiate a conversation with the neighbor who owns the encroaching object. It may be possible to come to a resolution without the need to go to court or get an attorney involved.

What to know about reneging on a home purchase

Signing a purchase agreement is one of the first steps toward buying a home. However, it doesn't mean that a deal to buy house in California can't fall through. There are several contingencies that are typically included in an agreement such as the buyer being able to find financing or inspect the home. Buyers may also make the sale contingent on being able to sell their home first or include other conditions that they deem necessary.

Typically, buyers can back out of a purchase agreement if one or more of those conditions aren't met. In some cases, a buyer may have a limited amount of time to inform the seller that action needs to be taken. For instance, a buyer could have 14 days after an inspection to request that repairs be made to the home. The seller may agree to extend a contingency deadline if necessary.

Are your public restrooms ADA compliant?

When operating an existing business, or when remodeling existing space or designing new space, you need to make certain that your restrooms are ADA compliant, otherwise you will be certain to face an ADA lawsuit.

One area that deserves attention to ADA regulations is restroom design. For a person with a disability, navigating a non-compliant restroom can be embarrassing, upsetting and sometimes extremely difficult. It is important that you are careful not to overlook the common design mistakes that could cause your customers frustration and place you at extreme risk for ADA lawsuits that could have a major negative impact on your business. What used to be 10 or 20 Plaintiffs looking for businesses to sue has now increased 100 fold, so every business will likely be looked at in the months ahead.

Buying a home before a divorce is finalized

It may be possible to buy a home in California before a divorce proceeding comes to an end. That largely depends on the terms of the divorce agreement and if a lender is willing to approve a mortgage application. It may be best to wait until after the final divorce agreement has been negotiated and signed. This is because the terms of the deal may change, which could alter how much a person could afford to spend on a home.

Prior to buying a new home, a person may need to be removed from the mortgage on the marital property. Until that happens, the monthly mortgage payment will be included in an applicant's debt-to-income ratio. Those who are required to pay child support will likely need to mention that during the home loan application process. In many cases, a signed copy of the final divorce agreement will need to be reviewed by a lender before a mortgage application is approved.

Considering 30-year and 15-year mortgages

When people in California buy a home, they generally must take out a mortgage loan from a bank in order to do so. Very few people have the cash available to buy their homes outright, so choosing the right mortgage can be a particularly important part of the real estate transaction. There are a number of different options that may be available. For example, first-time homebuyers may have access to some government programs designed to support homeownership, including VA, FHA or USDA loans. Of course, each of these programs has its own eligibility requirements, so a conventional bank loan may be best for some purchasers.

Many banks present both a traditional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and a 15-year, short-term loan option. People may be torn about which mortgage to consider when purchasing their own home. While a 30-year mortgage is the overwhelmingly preferred option, some people want a short-term mortgage to access the lower interest rates available for this type of loan. Considering that houses cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and up, even small differences in the interest rate can mean significant savings. In addition, people can accumulate equity in their homes more quickly with their larger monthly payments and shorter loan terms.

Buying a second home

Purchasing a second home, whether it is in another area of the United States or outside of the country, can be appealing for many California residents. However, there are many long-term responsibilities that come with owning a second home. Buyers should consider some important factors before getting another home.

Buyers should be aware that as the owner of a second home, they will have to assume full financial responsibility for two homes. If their primary residence has a plumbing issue and the second home has an HVAC system that requires repair at the same time, they will be faced with two expensive bills. Also, there will be taxes, home insurance, utility bills, homeowner's association fees, lawn maintenance fees and more that will have to be paid for both homes.

Buying a home

Purchasing a home can be a challenge. However, California residents can take certain steps to help make the home buying process less of a hassle.

Researching homes online can be the first step. Instead of using a real estate agent, prospective homebuyers can peruse online sites that detail all the specification of a home, including the type of heating that is used, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking and annual taxes. The online sites also provide photographs of the interior and exterior of the homes.

Warehouse space in short supply in California

Businesses in California are finding it difficult to find industrial space according to a report released in recent weeks by a leading commercial real estate firm. A Colliers International study of commercial property trends in the Golden State reveals that Los Angeles has the lowest warehouse vacancy rate in the country. Only 1.6% of the city's 1 billion square feet of warehouse space is currently available, and companies looking for storage facilities in Orange County face an almost equally tight market.

According to the study, the shortage of warehouse space is being caused by the surging popularity of online shopping. Warehouses that stood empty for years are now being eagerly snapped up by internet retailers looking to set up storage and distribution centers. The shortage is particularly challenging for companies in California's booming marijuana industry as state law places restrictions on where they can set up business.

Are there areas where your business is not ADA compliant?

As a business owner, you know there are countless things you must think about, from running your company, to payroll to employee management. It can sometimes seem overwhelming and it's easy to overlook some things, such as handicap accessibility and ADA compliance. However, failure to consider the ongoing legal compliance with the ADA, can result in costly endless litigation.  This can have a significant financial impact and, as with any litigation, it is always a time-consuming distraction from your business.

The Americans with Disabilities Act attempts to protect the rights and interests of individuals with disabilities. This law means that certain aspects of your businesses will likely need to be ADA compliant. ADA compliance is very technical. You are not compliant simply because you have attempted some do-it-yourself modifications, or because your disabled customers seem to have no problems at your business. It's essential to take the time to review the standards with an expert to determine what aspects of your business, if any, do not meet ADA requirements, and if there are any exceptions that might apply, including the “not readily achievable” defense.

How to effectively stage a home

Those looking to sell their homes in California or any other state are encouraged to think like a buyer would when staging their properties for sale. Doing so can help create an emotional attachment between the buyer and the home. That attachment may result in offers that are up to 20% higher than those made for homes that aren't staged or staged well. The first step in the staging process is to clean and get rid of clutter.

This generally means cleaning fingerprints off of stainless steel appliances and hiding cat litter. It can also mean washing the windows and taking other steps to make the home as appealing as possible. Ideally, the home will be seen as a blank space that the buyer can transform in his or her own mind. It is also a good idea to add as much light as possible to the home.

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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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