About the Real Estate Binder

About the Real Estate Binder

What is a Binder? 

A real estate binder is an agreement that is commonly drafted by real estate agents. It is a document that contains all the terms of a proposed real estate transaction and usually contains the names of both parties, who their real estate agents are, who their attorneys are, the address of the subject real estate property and of the course the purchase price.

What is the Purpose of a Real Estate Binder?

A binder serves two main functions: to outline the basic terms of the agreement and to commemorate the intent of both buyer and seller to enter into the deal.

However, is the real estate binder a binding contract? After all, it is in writing and signed by both parties, it identifies the property and the sales price. Sometimes there is even an earnest money deposit that is made. Isn’t that enough to bind the two parties, as the ame binder implies?

Whether the binder is a binding contract depends on the customs of your area and the language of the binder. Even within Connecticut, there are very different customs between say Fairfield County and the Hartford Area. In Fairfield County it is custom for attorneys to draft the final contracts. Therefore, it is common to find binders with language that calls for a further “superseding contract between the parties to incorporate the details stated herein”. In northern parts of Connecticut, some real estate agents specifically draft binders that are meant to binding real estate purchase and sale contracts, with language that allows for an attorney review period that is often 7 or 14 days from date of signing.

The three factors to look for when deciding when a binder is meant to be the contract are (1) does the language indicate intent to be bound without further contracting, (2) due the circumstances of the transaction indicate an intent to be bound, and (3) was the purpose of signing the binder to bind the parties to a final deal?

What Are the Real Estate Binder & Contract Customs in Fairfield County, Connecticut?

With the Fairfield County custom being that the attorneys draft the real estate purchase and sale agreement, how does this process with binders play out? It all starts with the real estate agents.

The real estate agents in Fairfield County know the custom and therefore, they use binders that call for a superseding contract. Many realtors do not use a binder, per se, but chose instead to use an “Information Sheet”, which has all the same contents as a binder, but does not have the signatures of the buyer or seller.

The binder or information sheet need to find their way to the Seller’s attorney. The Seller’s attorney then drafts a proposed contract using those terms and sends two unsigned copies to the Buyer’s Attorney. The Buyer’s Attorney reviews the contract, negotiates any changes that may be necessary, and has his client sign both originals, as well as provide a check for any deposit amounts due at contract signing. Both originals and the deposit funds are sent back to the Seller’s Attorney, who has the Seller sign both originals, and returns one original to Buyer’s Attorney and keeping one original for their file.

Get A Real Estate Attorney ASAP

Please understand that the sooner you get a real estate attorney involved in your transaction the better. You should have somebody to call and ask questions about the documents you are expected to sign BEFORE you sign them. After you sign, all we can do as your real estate attorney is explain what it says and means.

 

Multi-Family Disclosure

New Connecticut Fair Housing Notice Disclosure for Purchase or Sale of Multi-Family Real Estate

CT Multi-Family Purchase Disclosure Requirement

Connecticut Creates Mandatory Disclosure Place Buyers of Multi-Family Real Estate On Notice of Equal Opportunity Housing Laws

We live in a heavily regulated legal landscape. Often we perform a task we think is relatively simple, but it may expose us to a host of legal issues, some of which we may not even be aware of. However, as the old saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

In an attempt to weed out some of the lack of understanding in housing laws, the Connecticut Senate passed Public Act No. 16-16, AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISCLOSURE OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AND FAIR HOUSING LAWS, which went into effect on September 1st, 2016.

The law creates a mandatory disclosure that must be PROVIDED BY THE SELLER and SIGNED BY THE BUYER any time a multifamily property is bought/sold.

What is a Multi-Family Property?

A multifamily property is any piece of residential real estate containing two or more units. These are very popular in cities and big towns such as Danbury, Waterbury, Stamford, Norwalk, etc. They are often bought by real estate investors who rent the individual units out to tenants.

What is in the Multi-Family Disclosure?

The disclosure places the Buyer on notice of State and Federal fair housing laws. It notifies the Buyer that race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, creed/religion, disability, family status, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age and marital status are all Protected Classes for which it is illegal to discriminate against in the housing market.

Further, it gives examples of fair housing violations based on those protected classes:

  1. Refusing to rent, sell or show the dwelling;
  2. Steering towards certain neighborhoods;
  3. Increasing security deposits;
  4. Requiring “employment” when other legal sources of income exist;
  5. Failure to negotiate or refusal of rent based on source of income;
  6. Refusing to waive “no pet” policies for tenants with disabilities; and
  7. Refusing to allow tenants with disabilities to build a ramp.

What needs to be done with the Multi-Family Disclosure?

Idealy, the Multi-Family Disclosure will be attached by the Seller to the Purchase and Sale Agreement, Exchange Agreement, or Lease with Option to Buy. The Multi-Family Disclosure is then signed by the Buyer when signing the agreement/contract. However, the Public Act specifically protects the validity of Agreements where the Seller does not attach the Multi-Family Disclosure; those contract with still be enforceable.

If the Multi-Family Disclosure is not attached to the contract, it must be signed before or at closing on the multi-family property.

Where Can Realtors and Sellers get a copy of the Multi-Family Disclosure?

The Multi-Family Disclosure can be found on the Commission for Human Rights and Opportunities website, and is also attached hereto in JPEG format.

divorce lawyer brookfield ct

How Is Property Divided After A Divorce?

Division of Property After Divorce

How will our property be divided?

One of the biggest challenges that many couples face during a divorce is the division of assets, or property. Deciding how to split up marital assets and debts is often a difficult issue in a divorce, especially when there are significant assets at stake. It is crucial that you have legal representation to protect your property rights.

Connecticut is not a community property state; meaning the law does not require that all of the property to be divided equally. Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the law requires the property be divided fairly and not equally.

What kinds of property is divided in a divorce?

There are two categories of property: “real property” and “personal property”.

Real property consists only of buildings and land which include:

  • The family residence
  • Cabins
  • Commercial lots
  • Acreage
  • Rental houses

Personal property is everything else, that isn’t land or a buildings; which includes:

  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Trusts
  • Collectibles
  • Business interests
  • Receivables
  • Profit sharing
  • Automobiles and boats
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Household goods
  • Pension and retirement interests

 

Can I stop my spouse from selling our property?

Yes. As soon as the summons and complaint (the legal documents that initiate a divorce) are served, an automatic order goes into effect that prevents both spouses from selling, hiding, transferring, or giving away any joint property without a court order or the written consent of the other spouse. The only exception is if the transaction is in the usual course of business or if it’s for necessary and ordinary household expenses or reasonable attorney’s fees in relation to the divorce. This order is in effect until the divorce is finalized.

What about my retirement?

In general, pension and retirement benefits are not exempted from property division. They are assets subject to the judge’s decision.

Will the court divide our debts?

Yes, in addition to dividing assets, the judge will also divide the repayments of any debt fairly. When dividing debts, the judge can consider who was responsible for creating the debt. Debts that occur after the date of separation are usually, but not always, given to the spouse who incurred them.

If you are facing a divorce and need assistance with your property and asset division, contact Glouzgal Ramos Groth and speak with our family attorney, Krystal Ramos, who will review your case and help you receive a fair portion of your marital estate.

business partner dispute

Top 6 Causes of Business Partner Disputes

Causes of Partnership Disputes

What Causes Business Partners to Battle it OUT and Pack it UP?

A business partnership is a complex relationship. No matter how solid the relationship may seem, partnership disputes still occur in almost every partnership. Partnership disputes are the most common type of business disputes. A business partner dispute is very disruptive to the day-to-day activities of the business and can cause an otherwise successful business to fail. Even where the business is grossly successful, partnership disputes are inevitable, there’s no question about it. The Question is, will your business survive the partnership dispute?

Financial obligations and a weak or completely missing partnership agreement are the main causes for partnership disputes. This usually happens when the business is in flux; either experiencing financial problems or growing quicker than anticipated. The following are the most common causes of partnership disputes:

  1. Misappropriation of business assets or property

Misusing assets for personal use can cause a clash between business partners. But perhaps there is a disagreement as to what is acceptable? Maybe one partner thinks it is perfectly fine to use the company car to do grocery shopping, but the other does not. Or perhaps one partner thinks it is perfectly fine to “borrow” $2,000 from the business to cover his mortgage for the month, after all, “it’s their money, too”.

  1. Responsibility and authority are not delineated

If there is no set chain of command, authority or responsibility for each partner, you will quickly run into two issues; some things will not be getting done by anybody, and other things won’t be getting done because multiple partners will be sticking their nose in it. Without set responsibility, authority and a chain of command, who can really be held accountable for anything?

  1. General disputes about how to utilize partnership resources

Disagreements on how to use partnership income to promote the business and what expenses should be incurred by the business are common. Perhaps one partner wants to advertise on a billboard while the other thinks radio is better. One partner thinks they need nicer offices, while the other would rather slum and make more money. Should we lease vehicles under the business? Pay for cell phones? Offer health insurance? Disagreements on the small things quickly turn into big problems.

  1. Misappropriating “business opportunities” that belong to the partnership

Misusing business opportunities that belong to the partnership can aggravate business partners. This happens often when partners do “work on the side” but within the same industry. Common with mechanics and contractors, one partner trying to turn a partnership lead into a “side job” can quickly cause conflicts of interest and angry business partners.

  1. Workload imbalance

The amount of work one person can handle in limited. Strength comes from numbers. After all, that’s the entire point of a partnership! But when one partner is bearing a larger portion of the workload burden at any given moment, the underlying relationship can be strained. Sometimes this is due to the actual abilities of each partner, where more work of one type comes in than another. Other times it is due to the evolution of the market, where only that type of work currently exists. If there is no mechanism in place to spread the burden, issues can arise.

  1. Disagreements on company objectives

One business partner has one objective while the other business partner has another direction in mind and they can’t seem to agree on one direction for the company. As much as the small things matter, the big picture is often more important. If partners cannot agree on a direction to head in, the business could get split in two.

How Do You Avoid Partnership Disputes?

Proper planning is the way to avoid partnership disputes. By having a partnership agreement and being advised on common issues that can talked through and decided, problems are stopped before they even occur.

If you are dealing with a partnership dispute, we encourage you to discuss your case with our business attorney. Whether you want to work to resolve the partnership dispute or you want to terminate your partnership, our attorney will work on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and make sure your best interests are protected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

child custody mediation

Who will have Custody of the Child or Children After a Divorce?

Child Custody After Divorce

Who will have custody of the children?

Divorce affects different families in different ways. In any family where there are children, the issue of child custody is usually the most pressing. Therefore many of our initial consultations result in the client asking: “Who will get custody of the children?”

Parents can reach their own agreements about custody and visitation as long as it is fair to both parents and the children. If parents are not able to come into an agreement, then the custody decision will be made in court, usually by a family court judge.

Who gets custody of the children is decided primarily is based upon the best interests of the child involved.  The court’s main consideration is always the child’s “best interest”. The main factor in deciding which parent will have full custody, is which parent has been the child’s “primary caretaker.” If the children are old enough, the court will take their preference into account in making a decision.

The best interest factors include:

  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable environment for the children
  • How the child is currently adjusted to their home and school environment
  • How long have the children been living in their current environment and how stable it is
  • Which parent is more available to be active in the children’s life
  • Any special needs the child may have
  • Whether either parent is more suited to understand and care for a special needs child
  • The child’s preference
  • Any interference in a parent and child’s relationship by the other parent;
  • Any misconduct by either parent during the custody dispute; and
  • Any history of domestic violence or child abuse.

Divorce, itself is already an emotional matter and with children it can complicate things even more.  It is best for parents to agree on the terms of custody to avoid any extra emotional trauma to the children.