Categories for Real Estate

Business Not Quite as Usual: How the Pandemic Impacts Your Legal Case

May 26, 2020 8:00 am Published by Nina T. Dow

Life has never felt more uncertain. Many brick-and-mortar businesses are closed, most schools have called it an early summer and may go completely virtual this fall, elective medical procedures are postponed indefinitely, and millions have been laid off from work.

Here at Mountain Dearborn, although our physical office is not open for in-person client visits, we are making progress on our clients’ cases via virtual meetings and conference calls, and we’re staying current with COVID-19 updates from the courts, the legislature, and the Governor’s office.

Here’s what you can expect if you need legal assistance:

Residential Real Estate and Commercial Lending: The Markets Are Still Open Virtually

Are you looking for a home to buy ...

7 Resolutions to Get Your Legal House in Order for a Great 2020

January 17, 2020 12:10 pm Published by Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting LLP

Welcome to a brand-new decade! It’s halfway through January, and we hope you’ve already made progress on your life-changing resolutions for the coming year. Here are a few recommendations from our colleagues at Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting for law-related resolutions that you can add to your list—now, or anytime this year:

1. Katherine Bagdis, Partner, Litigation and Family Law: If you “popped the question” over the holidays, now is a good time to consider whether you and your soon-to-be spouse should execute a prenuptial agreement prior to the wedding.

2. Robin DeAugustinis, Partner, Commercial Lending and Real Estate Law: If you haven’t already done so, please execute and record a Declaration of Homestead ...

Listing Your Property on AirBnB? Meet the New Massachusetts Short-Term Rental Law

July 1, 2019 8:00 am Published by Stephen M. Roche

As short-term rental platforms like AirBnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have grown in popularity, neighborhoods and cities have borne the impacts of increased tourism. Problems include more traffic, noise, and disruptive behavior; loss of affordable housing units, as landlords develop properties for lucrative short-term rentals; and loss of business for the hotel industry. In response, some state and municipal governments have passed legislation to tax and regulate the phenomenon.

In December 2018, Massachusetts passed its own version of such legislation: An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-Term Rentals, which not only regulates, but also taxes short-term rentals, The new law takes effect on Monday, July 1, 2019.

If you currently are renting your property on a short-term ...

Tiptoe Through the Orchard: What You Should Know About the Massachusetts Pick-Your-Own Law

June 13, 2019 8:48 am Published by Robin A. DeAugustinis

Trees are in full leaf, flowers are blooming, and the Commonwealth’s orchards will soon bear fruit. It’s almost time to visit a pick-your-own produce farm for berries and peaches this summer. The pick-your-own season stretches well into the fall, with harvests of apples and pumpkins, and, for some, holiday trees as winter nears. After such a rainy spring, it’s a welcomed pleasure, at last, not only to enjoy the seasonal weather, but also to select your own produce in a natural setting.

As much fun as an outing to the orchard can be, however, it’s important to be considerate guests—treating the grounds, plants, and people with respect for their wellbeing—and to be alert to risks of accidents. The ground ...

Buying Your First Home? 12 Tips & Traps

March 21, 2019 8:00 am Published by Nina T. Dow Robin A. DeAugustinis

It’s finally March, the first month of spring and the start of house-hunting season. Buying your first home is a big deal. It’s a large financial investment, and it’s often an emotional commitment. No surprise that trying to navigate the homebuying maze can be a source of tension between you and a loved one. To avoid those pitfalls, consider hiring a good real estate lawyer who can make the process much easier for all involved. We’ve had many clients and friends say, after the fact, “I wish I’d hired a lawyer” or “I am so glad we hired a lawyer.”

Whether or not you choose to have a real estate attorney represent you, here are some tips ...

Three Reasons Why You Should Pay for a Title Search When You Transfer Property Among Family or Friends

February 4, 2019 8:00 am Published by Robin A. DeAugustinis

We’re often asked by clients for assistance with “simple” conveyances of real property between family members or friends. We strongly advise each of those clients to commission a title search before a deed is signed. Does anyone question that advice? Yes. Here are three typical objections:

1) “A title search is too costly and too slow.”

That’s the most common objection. It’s true that a title search usually takes a couple of weeks and usually costs several hundred dollars, although the actual time and cost depend on the complexity of the title. Skipping the title search when transferring property to a family member or a close friend definitely will save time and money. But it could spell trouble later, ...

Homebuyer Beware—of Ghosts! How to Avoid Purchasing a House of Horrors

October 5, 2018 1:39 pm Published by Robin A. DeAugustinis

Boo! It’s already October, and Halloween looms. My family loves the spooky holiday, ghost stories and horror films. Recently we watched a few frightening flicks with a common theme: An unsuspecting family moves into an old, “charming” house. They are blissfully unaware of its violent past. Because of the horror that occurred there, the property is haunted, usually by angry poltergeists. And the locals know all about it.

My favorites in this genre include The Amityville Horror, The Disappointments Room, and two seasons of American Horror Story. But how could that could happen in real life? Wouldn’t the seller be legally obligated to disclose the presence of unwanted guests who walk ...

Protect Your Nest This Spring: File a Declaration of Homestead

May 4, 2017 2:20 pm Published by Robin A. DeAugustinis

One step that you can take to protect the equity in your primary residence is to file a Declaration of Homestead. A Homestead Declaration protects your home against certain creditors who might use attachment, seizure, execution on judgment, levy, or sale to collect various debts. The protection is not universal, however. Homestead will not shelter you from “exempted debts” such as mortgages, tax liens, “nursing home” liens, spousal and child support obligations, and certain other court-ordered liens.

There are two levels of protection under the Massachusetts Homestead Act. One, in the amount of $125,000, is automatic. The other, a “declared” homestead, in the amount of $500,000, requires a bit of effort.

Only One Primary Residence Allowed ...

Deadline for 2017 Real Estate Tax Abatement Applications Is February 1

January 25, 2017 10:28 am Published by Patricia Finnegan Gates

Property owners: Don’t miss the filing deadline for your real estate Tax Abatement Application. If you believe that your real estate valuation and tax bills are too high, you must file an Abatement Application with your city or town on or before the last day for payment of the first installment of the tax bill due as shown on the “Actual” (as opposed to the “Preliminary”) tax bill.

For Worcester properties, the Fiscal Year 2017 Actual tax bills were mailed on January 1, 2017, and the payment is due February 1, 2017. You must file your Abatement Application on or before Wednesday, February 1. You must pay your real estate taxes on time to be ...