Legal-Ease: New tools to help initiate home ownership

Years ago, buying a home was pretty straightforward. A buyer would pay a 20% down payment and pay off the remaining 80% over time. But as the demand for homeownership grew, more people without the 20% down payment wanted to purchase homes. Private mortgage insurance began to be used in the homebuying process. 

In the years right before the housing crisis, people made assumptions that home prices would continually and aggressively increase every year. Lenders saw this as an opportunity to help more people who hadn’t saved the 20% down payment. 

Legal-Ease: ‘Good as new’ real estate documents and files

When it comes to real estate and its history of ownership, there’s no such thing as “new” documents. So the best that can be done with real estate documents and files is “good as new.” So the best we can do is file updated documents. 

Attorneys use multiple tools to try to clean up real estate documents and files. 

Legal-Ease: How much tax will I owe when I sell my property?

The tax paid on the sale of investment property is called capital gains tax. Capital gains tax is calculated against the amount earned by property that increased in value by its nature and not by the virtue of the owner’s income, rental income or interest earnings. Capital gains tax rates are typically lower than income tax rates. Capital gains tax will usually become a consideration when someone sells stocks, bonds or real estate. Calculating capital gains tax liability can range from very simple to much more complex for some real estate. 

Legal-Ease: Real estate taxes more complex than commonly thought

Real estate taxes in Ohio operate under a unique structure. Real estate taxes are defined in terms of “mills,” which are created through local governments or through residents’ votes for “levies.” Mills and millage are understood to be a percentage of the property value. The calculation process is much more complex, though, because real estate tax levies can fall under two different categories. 

In the first category of real estate levies, millage is calculated as a percentage of the property value. In the second category of real estate tax levies, the levies are defined as mills, but they’re capped at the total dollar amount of money that the levy brings in during its first year. 

Legal-Ease: Four questions on easements

The law requires that each and every parcel of land has access to a public roadway. For owners of a landlocked parcel, this may require a purchase of an easement from an adjoining landowner. Easements allow for the use of property without owning that property. 

Typically, easement concerns break down into four different questions. 

Legal-Ease: Grains, trains and automobiles

In some areas, the local government doesn’t own the land adjacent to the road and instead will have an easement with the landowner. This easement is commonly called a right-of-way, and often the owner of the land gave the government the right to use the land more than a century ago for a road. If the government owns or has an easement over any area of land, the government has the right to use that area for roadway traffic, which includes ensuring clear vision near curves and at intersections.

Legal-Ease: Valuing components of co-owned property

Sometimes we can find ourselves co-owning property with one or more co-owners wanting to be bought out. Even if we are in the process of converting ownership of the co-owned property into assets owned by an LLC, it becomes important to value the property and each person’s portion.

Legal-Ease: Do I need a trust?

Trusts can be thought of as contracts. They allow people to impose rules on inheritances, minimizing or eliminating estate taxes, if necessary. The “trustee” of the trust can distribute the property owned.