The Pros and Cons Of Hiring A Real Estate Lawyer

You’re travelling in a foreign country and you get arrested for something that you didn’t even know was against the law. The potential fine is huge, more than you earn in 10 years. Would you represent yourself in front of judges who might not even speak your language? Not if you had any sense you wouldn’t. You’d probably hire a lawyer.

Let’s think about that. Most people are not willing to risk 10 years salary when they’re in front of the judge, yet those same people are willing to risk that same amount of money, or more, whenever they buy real estate in a foreign country.

What’s the risk? There are plenty.

Not being fully aware of the laws that affect the ownership of real estate for starters. In some cases, you’re not only subject to the laws of real estate ownership which affect any property owner in that country, but there may be special laws which affect only foreign owners as well as local laws which differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Perhaps you’re not an expert at reading the language that the purchase and sale agreement is written in. Maybe you’ll overlook terms or conditions that would be a deal-breaker if you were aware of their presence.

And then there are all of the considerations which affect any buyer whether they are a foreign national or not. Things like zoning or permitted use laws, neighborhood or condo association by-laws, environmental restrictions, tax issues, and all of the other little gremlins that can pop up and turn a great deal into a great deal of misery.

Those are the kinds of things that a Real Estate lawyer is trained to handle. It’s not good enough to have your family lawyer or corporate lawyer review the deal. If you want an iron-clad real estate purchase and sales agreement which addresses all of the unique and common issues that you face as a real estate buyer in a foreign country, then you need to hire a real estate lawyer who is licensed to practice in that country. Nothing else is “good enough”.

So, if the advantages of hiring a Real Estate lawyer are so obvious, what, if any are the disadvantages of using one for your foreign real estate transactions?

First, a Real Estate lawyer will add cost to the transaction because of his or her fees. While these costs are usually not excessive, they are a consideration.

If you are a seasoned buyer of real estate in a particular country then you may not need a Real Estate lawyer to guide you through the intricacies of property ownership.

Using a Real Estate lawyer may cause the deal to close at a later date due to his or her need to review and revise the purchase and sale agreement.

I’m not really sure, however, if these can be labeled as disadvantages considering the amount of money that you are about to invest in a deal where legal ramifications that pop up later could haunt you for life and drain all of the equity and more out of your foreign property.

Benefits Of Owning American Real Estate

Ownership of US real estate is the centrepiece of what is known as the American Dream. There is no other place on the planet where you can find the best places to own property and start a home than in the US. If you have saved up enough money waiting for the next big thing to come along, why not cash in on a tried and true investment venture that is US real estate.

Capital Appreciation

When you purchase American real estate you will actually own something that has a fixed limited quantity. The amount of available land in the US or anywhere else for that matter is limited and only so many can be traded and sold. Once the population of a certain area or region begins to increase, the value of the land area also begins to appreciate which translates into tremendous profit potential for anyone who happens to be the owner of that land. A perfect example of this was the California gold rush of the 1850s. Land in California at the time was so cheap that the government was practically giving it away to entice people to populate and settle. When the gold rush exploded in the state, thousands of eager individuals from all over the country and even as far as Europe came to California to try and find their luck. This resulted to the price of land in certain areas to skyrocket.

US Real Estate – Tangible Asset

Another benefit of owning US real estate property is the fact that you would have in your hand something that you can hold and manipulate. If you own a piece of land, you can build a building or a house on top of it. You can be a landlord and rent it out so that you would have a monthly stable means of passive income. The same could not be said to other investments like stocks because unlike land that persists even in the worst economic conditions; stocks can lose their value and become worthless just by the mere suggestion of impropriety or scandal. Owning US real estate is assurance that you will have something of value that would not be totally worthless.

Numerous Tax Benefits and Opportunities

Owning US real estate properties comes with amazing perks like tax deductions if you play your cards right. One way to get this is to apply environmentally friendly amenities to the property you own. If you own property that is rented, you can depreciate it over the duration of its usefulness and even deduct any operational costs that were incurred in order to maintain it in optimum working condition.

If you want you can also utilize what is called a 1031 exchange. This is a method wherein you gain the opportunity of not having to pay capital gains taxes on a piece of property that you own. Utilizing this method you would be able to sell a piece of real estate and then instantly use the money earned to purchase another piece of property without incurring capital gains taxes. Doing this allows you to be able to trade bigger pieces of property efficiently.