Indianapolis Real Estate Lawyers

We routinely serve the interests of our clients across a wide spectrum of real estate matters. We have extensive experience in representing builders, developers, real estate owners and tenants in all aspects of real property acquisition, disposition, leasing and operation.

From preparing and negotiating real estate purchase agreements and leases to conducting due diligence and negotiating loan documents, we understand how to structure a deal and listen to our clients to meet their needs.

Minimizing Risk and Due Diligence

Acquisition or development of real estate involve some degree of risk.  Purchasers may be concerned about validity of title or past uses of property that may affect the value or marketability of property being acquired.

Lenders are naturally concerned about the ability of borrowers to repay loans.  Construction companies may similarly be concerned with getting paid.

We help clients in these and other situations identify and minimize potential risks.

Purchasers may minimize risks through contractual representations and warranties and indemnifications, title searches and insurance, and environmental due diligence.  Banks and construction companies can minimize payment risk through guarantees, surety bonds, and similar mechanisms.

Our role as real estate attorneys is to help our clients not only accomplish their objectives, but also to carefully consider the actions that can be taken to minimize risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are title endorsements?

Endorsements are “riders” to the title policies which will normally expand the standard coverage provided by the title policy. These endorsements can relate to such things as: contiguity (insurance that two or more parcels are contiguous to one another); zoning (insurance that property has specific zoning designation and that a certain use is permitted); issues related to variable rate mortgages (insuring that a mortgage will not become invalid or unenforceable resulting from a change in the interest rate); access (insuring that the real estate has access to a physically open public road); as well as numerous other matters.

What is the difference between a general warranty deed and a limited warranty deed?

A general warranty deed is a promise of good, clear title that extends prior to when the grantor acquired the property.  It contains the implied promise that the grantor will defend the grantee’s right of title against all claims arising prior to the date that the grantor transferred property to the grantee, whether or not the grantor owned the property at the time the defect occurred.

A limited warranty deed also guaranties the grantor’s good, clear title; however, the limited warranty deed only requires the grantor to defend the grantee’s right to title against such claims that arose during the time that the grantor actually owned the property.

What is the difference between a title search, a title commitment and a title policy?

A title search is nothing more than a snapshot of the liens and encumbrances that exist on a particular piece of real estate. However, the title company performing the title search has very limited, if any, liability for any errors.  It can be helpful in understanding the quality of title but should not be relied upon before investing in real estate or making a loan secured by a mortgage on it.

A title commitment incorporates a title search, but also lists certain requirements by which the owner or the lender may obtain a title policy.

A title policy is indemnity insurance against a loss resulting from defects in the title to the real estate. Typically, the title policy states that the owner is the outright owner of the real estate subject only to the exceptions contained in the policy. If a lien, encumbrance or other defect in the title occurs prior to the issuance of the policy, but is not known until after the issuance of the policy, the owner of the policy will be covered for damages arising from that encumbrance up to limits set forth in the policy.

Can a landlord exercise self-help in evicting a tenant or is judicial process necessary?

For residential real estate, self-help repossession, “lock-out” or eviction is generally prohibited. The only typical exceptions would be for cases of extreme waste or clear abandonment.  Unless those circumstances exist, judicial process should be followed for all residential evictions.

Many commercial leases do contain landlord rights of re-entry that are generally enforceable in Indiana, but care should still be taken to ensure the landlord does not act in a manner that could give the tenant claims against it.  Commercial leases should contain grants of security interests in the personal property located on the premises so a landlord can also take possession of and exercise the rights of a secured creditor against it.