Real Estate


Zawisny & Zawisny has experience in the following areas of Real Estate:

•Residential Buying and Selling
• Mortgages and Foreclosures
• Commercial Buying and Selling
• Transfer of Property 
• Zoning
• Construction
• Condominium and Cooperative
• Buying and Selling

Why should I be represented by an attorney during a real estate transaction?

The reason an attorney is needed for a real estate transaction is because of possible conflicts of interest that arise in a sale. An attorney will serve in the best interest of their client. At Zawisny & Zawisny we have experience in the buying and selling of property and understand the various issues that may arise before, during and after a sale.

There are two types of property in real estate: residential and commercial. Commercial real estate is defined as property for public use, such as office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, storage centers, manufacturing facilities and vacant land with the potential to become a publicly used property and zoned in a commercial district.

Selling and Buying Property

The first step in the selling/buying process begins with an attorney drafting a purchase agreement for the property. Residential purchase agreements are contingent upon events such as the buyers ability to purchase the property (obtain mortgage), an inspection of the property and an appraisal of the property which lists it at the asking price.

After a purchase agreement is signed a title search is obtained to review the title and address any defects in the title. A deed is prepared along with other closing documents, such bill of sale and mortgage(s).

The attorney will advise the buyer how to take title for the property (joint tenants, tenants in common or tenants by the entirety) and how the title will affect ownership in the future in addition to addressing issues such as liens, special assessment liens land use and zoning laws.

The final and most important step of the process is the closing. The deed is prepared and the buyer receives title from the seller; costs are explained and accounted for. The attorney reviews the documentation and explains the proceedings to their client if any questions arise.

Only an attorney can provide legal advice on the purchase or selling of property. It is important to consult with a legal expert when engaging in a property transaction because they can assist the buyer or seller with their specific needs.

Mortgages and Foreclosures

The definition of a mortgage is a transfer of interest in real estate as security for the repayment of a loan. It is important to note that most mortgages contain an acceleration clause providing that in the occurrence of default the outstanding debt is immediately due and payable.

A mortgagor can foreclose on the mortgaged property in the event of a default on the mortgage. The most common foreclosure proceedings are Foreclosure by Judicial Sale (the court supervises and confirms the sale) and Foreclosure by Power of Sale.

Foreclosure by Power of Sale serves the same purpose as Foreclosure by Judicial Sale but differs because the statues delineating detailed notice and sale replace court supervision. If the proceeds are not sufficient to satisfy the debt a judgment may be obtained against the mortgagor for the deficiency.

Adjustable rate mortgages have interest rates that adjust to the condition of the market. A ceiling and floor limit may be established to protect oneself from extreme fluctuations in interest rates.

Another type of mortgage is a balloon mortgage. A balloon mortgage requires a substantial amount to be paid at the end of the mortgage term to cover the unamortized loan.

Transfer of Property

The act of transferring property from one party to another is called conveyance. The purpose an attorney serves in conveyance is translating the wishes of the buyer and seller into appropriate documentation. Information held in the documentation should include what the parties must sign; who is the new owner(s) what title will be granted to the holder(s) and what is the interest in the property.

Transfer of ownership is accomplished by a deed. A deed identifies the grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer). It contains a description of the property and must be signed by the seller. The document must be notarized.

Types of Deeds

A warranty or grant deed is the most common form. A warranty deed transfers ownership and warrants that the grantor holds good title to property.

A quitclaim deed transfers ownership of any interest the grantor has in the property, however it does not warrant the grantor holds good title in the property. Unless supervised by an attorney, it is not advisable to have property transferred on a quitclaim deed.


Construction contracts are formed through a bidding process, which means the client will request a quote from a contractor, the contractor will respond with the price they will charge to perform the request. The contractor's response constitutes a binding offer which is legally enforceable if accepted.

In contrast, public contracts are required to follow strict rules set forth in federal, state and local laws.

The following are traditional methods by which a construction contract is priced:

• Lump Sum
• Unit Price
• Cost Plus Fee

Lump Sum requires the owner to pay a fixed fee for whatever is required to complete the job. The contractor bears the loss for making mistakes in the estimate.

Unit Price is priced by the number of units delivered multiple by the rate per unit. Contractors bear less risk because an error in estimation will not leave the contractor responsible for overages accrued.

Cost Plus Fee is an arrangement where the owner agrees to pay for the cost of materials plus markup as provided by the contractor.

What a contract should include:

• Time Frame
• Pricing
• Methods of Payment
• Payment Penalties
• Material Terms
• Anticipated Problems   
• Attorney's Fees   
• Transaction Rules for Particular Industries