On this episode of Secrets to Real Estate Investing host Holly is joined by Raffy Boulgourjian. Raffy is a real estate attorney that is licensed to practice in state and federal court as well as the probate arena. Raffy says that real estate law found him; when he first graduated law school and started work his contacts were realtors and colleagues who also had realtors as contacts. He says that realtors would come to them and one realtor would refer him to other realtors and because of that he became a real estate attorney. Raffy’s firm is located in Glendale, California. Because the law is different in every state Holly advises listeners that while the solutions may be specific to California the problems are common and can apply to any state in the real estate arena.
Holly starts off by asking Raffy if an a buyer purchases a property from a seller that failed to disclose information about a property what is the opportunity in the eyes of the law. Raffy says that a lot of people think that California is a as-is state when it comes to purchasing properties but that is not the case. If there is something with the house the takes value away from the property then the seller needs to disclose it. Raffy advises sellers to disclose, disclose, disclose - put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Raffy says that he sees case after case that go to litigation because of a seller’s failure to disclose. Raffy advises for all parties to do their due diligence so that they do not end up in these sort of situations.
Holly asks Raffy how a buyer can do more due diligence. Raffy says that a lot of times the problem that comes up is boundary lines. Raffy advises hiring a surveyor to get the plot lines so you know where your boundaries on and so that you don’t have to get to know your neighbors on the wrong foot. Holly asks if there is a specific time frame that show a increase in incorrect boundary lines, Raffy says that the older the home sometimes those have more incorrect boundary lines based on how many changes each owner of the home has made over time. Raffy says that a buyer should go down to the country reporter and do old fashioned research before you remove your contingencies because while some rehabs may look professionally done that doesn’t mean that they were legally done.
Holly asks what the opportunities are for someone who finds themselves in a position where the buyer failed to disclose. Raffy says that the buyer can often times cancel the purchase of the property or if the buyer has done their due diligence it is possible to possibly negotiate with the seller for a price reduction or something else that both parties can agree on. Raffy emphasizes that it is important to do the due diligence before the sale closes because it can be increasingly difficult to go back and get the seller to to change your agreement or compensate for the lack of disclosure.
Holly asks Raffy to speak on houses with title issues. Raffy says that he sees a lot of properties with leans on them; often times the title preliminary report will show various surprises that no-one say coming. Properties that have title problems will often have to be seen in front of a judge to get the title fixed but it is more important to get the property title cleaned up than to let it go otherwise you will not be able to sell the property.
Holly mentioned that sometimes investors will come across kids living in the home of relatives that have passed away, she wants to know how Raffy will get through that situation. Raffy says that when this situation happens the family will not be able to refinance the house if you they do not have the title which will require the family to go to probate court which is a lengthy process. Raffy says that probate court is necessary for situations like this and he goes over some solutions for people who find themselves in this sort of situation.
Holly asks Raffy to discuss how bankruptcy can be an opportunity for investors to take advantage of. Raffy advises both buyers and sellers to be cautious of properties that are in bankruptcy and to make sure you have authority to sell the property. When buyers are interesting in buying a home from someone having financial difficulties it is important to know that the seller is allowed to sell their home because sometimes the home owner may not know that they are in bankruptcy and the purchase will not be allowed to go through.
Holly asks Raffy to discuss evictions because sometimes landlords do face this problem when they need to get people out of a property. Holly asks Raffy what are the different options to landlords when they have this problem. Raffy says that landlord/tenant law is a very technical area of law. Law makers have strict guidelines for eviction and must be followed exactly. While the attorney fees might be painful Raffy says that it is vitally important to get the proper guidance when dealing with these sorts of situations. Holly shares are experience that her husband had with an eviction where he thought he had all of his ducks in a row but when he got to court he found out that because he had an LLC that owned the property that he was not allowed to represent himself in this situation and had to get an attorney.
If you are interested in getting in touch with Raffy you can call for a free consult because he wants to make sure he is able to help you before you decide to pay him. He wants to evaluate the situation before a fee structure will be discussed. Raffy also wants to advise that all of the information discussed on today’s podcast has been a broad discussion of situations that might occur but it is important to always get legal guidance when you find yourself in any situation such as those mentioned today.