Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P.


Serving Story County and Central Iowa since 1906

323 6th St.
Ames, IA 50010-0664
USA
 

Phone: (515) 232-4732
 

REAL ESTATE :: Back to Practice Areas

I. Brokers
II. Contracts and Transfers
III. Mortgages and Foreclosure
IV. Deeds
V. Home Inspection
VI. Closing
VII. Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions

See also:


Glossary of Real Estate Topics

Real estate law covers a great number of topics, and includes a number of specialized terms and jargon. An experienced attorney can help explain these concepts to you.

Appraisal: An appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value. Appraisals are conducted by an uninvolved third party, and compare the sale price of a property to the values of similar properties in the same area within the past year, preferably within the last six months. Most mortgage lenders require an appraisal before offering a loan.

Assessment: A charge levied by the local government for infrastructure that benefits adjacent properties. This includes road work, sidewalks, or sewer/gas lines. Adjacent property owners pay proportional shares of the improvement’s cost.

Broker: A real estate broker works for one of the parties in a real estate purchase. They are licensed persons or organizations.

Closing: The final part of a real estate transaction, where both parties review the terms of sale and the actual sales documents. The seller transfers ownership at the closing, while the buyer generally pays closing costs and, when applicable, finalizes the mortgage.

Condominium: From the Latin for “co-ownership”, a condominium is a building split into individual apartments owned by the residents. The condominium association’s common areas are shared by the owners. The association pays taxes and deals with property maintenance and improvement. Condominium owners generally pay association fees as well as mortgage payments. Property insurance on condominiums or townhouses may or may not be included in homeowner association fees. If they are included in the homeowner’s fees, they do not cover personally owned property, such as furniture or electronics. A review of policies covered by homeowner associations before purchase is wise, as well as a review on the upkeep of the community property.

Contract for Deed: A contract for deed leaves legal ownership of a property with the seller until the buyer makes full payment of the purchase amount. The buyer is given use of the property.

Deed: A document that transfers ownership of real estate. As discussed above, a warranty deed includes a guarantee by the seller that his or her title to the land and improvements is uncontested. A quitclaim deed only transfers rights to the property that an owner has, and contains no guarantee that the seller has a clear title, or relieves them from debt in which the property is claimed as collateral.

Foreclosure: This is a process by which a mortgage lender takes legal ownership of a property when a buyer fails to make mortgage payments. In most states, foreclosure proceedings involve court appearances and are regulated to prevent abuse.

Joint Tenancy: A form of ownership in which spouses or other parties own equal shares in a property.

Mortgage Loan: Any loan where the collateral is the property being purchased with the loan money. Like foreclosure, mortgage regulations differ from state to state. Mortgage loans may have fixed or adjustable interest rates, and may have balloon payments that have a total balance due after a certain number of years. FHA and VA loans may be transferable, others may not.

RESPA: The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. RESPA protects buyers by requiring mortgage lenders to disclose all policies and relationships to a mortgage borrower. It also requires lenders to provide fair estimates of all service charges and transaction costs.

Survey: A mapping of boundaries, easements, and improvements on a property. Lenders often require surveys before a transaction, especially for commercial or new residential developments, in order to resolve any irregularities. Most states have time limits on the age of surveys.

Title Insurance: Title insurance is an insurance product that provides coverage against claims for defects in a property’s title. A lender will typically require that the buyer pay for a title insurance policy protecting the lender.  Title insurance may not be legally sold in Iowa.  The State of Iowa has a program called Iowa Title Guaranty that issues an insurance policy on the industry standard (ALTA) forms and backed by the State of Iowa.  The two main differences between Iowa Title Guaranty and out-of-state title insurance is (1) that the premium stays in Iowa and is used for housing programs to benefit Iowans, and (2) that the attorney title examination system helps to preserve and protect good titles, rather than to insure over defects.

Title Opinion: A title opinion is an attorney's title examination report, which describes (a) the real estate, (b) the title holder, (c) the liens or encumbrances on the property, (d) the easements and other use restrictions on the property, and (e) outlines the requirements for obtaining good marketable title.

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Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., is an Iowa general practice law firm with practice including, but not limited to  Administrative Law, Adoption Law, Agricultural Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking Law, Business Law (including business organization, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), incorporations, and sales of businesses and business assets), Civil Rights, Commercial Law, Construction Law, Corporate Law, Criminal Defense, Elder Law, Employment Law, Family Law (including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support, child custody, dissolution modification), Government, Government Contracts, Litigation, Personal Injury (including Motor Vehicle Accidents and Wrongful Death), Product Liability, Professional Negligence Law, Real Estate (including mortgage loan closings, IRC Section 1031 exchanges, subdivisions, platting, condominiums, and cooperative housing), Municipal Law, Taxation Law and Tax Preparation, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate Law (including financial and medical powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships, trust administration, and estate administration), Workers Compensation, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

The offices of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., are located in Ames, Iowa. The lawyers and staff of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., serve clients throughout Iowa, including the cities of Ames, Nevada, Gilbert, Huxley, Slater, Zearing, Story City, Roland, McCallsburg, Colo, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Marshalltown, Boone, Webster City, Eldora, Grundy Center, Newton, Adel, Eldora, Ankeny, Johnston, Indianola, Cedar Falls, Jefferson, Marshalltown, Clarion, Knoxville, and the communities that make up Story, Polk, Linn, Webster, Blackhawk, Marshall, Boone, Hamilton, Jasper, Dallas, Hardin, Warren, Greene, Wright, and Marion counties.