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Jeffrey L. Heninger

Commercial Leasing, Landlord-Tenant, Mental Health, Banking & Finance
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Linda Carolyn Abbott

Land Use & Zoning, Government, Administrative Law, Business
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Alexis Downing

Landlord-Tenant, Traffic, International Other, Copyright
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Jennifer Tosini Wexton

Real Estate, Family Law, Divorce & Family Law, Criminal
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LEGAL TERMS

PROPERTY

See personal property, real estate, community property, separate property.

TENANCY IN COMMON

A way two or more people can own property together. Each can leave his or her interest upon death to beneficiaries of his choosing instead of to the other owner... (more...)
A way two or more people can own property together. Each can leave his or her interest upon death to beneficiaries of his choosing instead of to the other owners, as is required with joint tenancy. In some states, two people are presumed to own property as tenants in common unless they've agreed otherwise in writing.

ESTATE

Generally, all the property you own when you die.

DOMINANT TENEMENT

Property that carries a right to use a portion of a neighboring property. For example, property that benefits from a beach access trail across another property ... (more...)
Property that carries a right to use a portion of a neighboring property. For example, property that benefits from a beach access trail across another property is the dominant tenement.

ADVERSE POSSESSION

A means by which one can legally take another's property without paying for it. The requirements for adversely possessing property vary between states, but usua... (more...)
A means by which one can legally take another's property without paying for it. The requirements for adversely possessing property vary between states, but usually include continuous and open use for a period of five or more years and paying taxes on the property in question.

CONTRACT

A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts tha... (more...)
A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts that can be carried out within one year can be either oral or written. Major exceptions include contracts involving the ownership of real estate and commercial contracts for goods worth $500 or more, which must be in writing to be enforceable. (See statute of frauds.) A contract is formed when competent parties -- usually adults of sound mind or business entities -- mutually agree to provide each other some benefit (called consideration), such as a promise to pay money in exchange for a promise to deliver specified goods or services or the actual delivery of those goods and services. A contract normally requires one party to make a reasonably detailed offer to do something -- including, typically, the price, time for performance and other essential terms and conditions -- and the other to accept without significant change. For example, if I offer to sell you ten roses for $5 to be delivered next Thursday and you say 'It's a deal,' we've made a valid contract. On the other hand, if one party fails to offer something of benefit to the other, there is no contract. For example, if Maria promises to fix Josh's car, there is no contract unless Josh promises something in return for Maria's services.

MORTGAGE

A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender... (more...)
A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender can foreclose on the real estate and have it sold to pay off the loan.

SHARED EQUITY MORTGAGE

A home loan in which the lender gets a share of the equity of the home in exchange for providing a portion of the down payment. When the home is later sold, the... (more...)
A home loan in which the lender gets a share of the equity of the home in exchange for providing a portion of the down payment. When the home is later sold, the lender is entitled to a portion of the proceeds.

ARBITRATION

A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of ev... (more...)
A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of evidence and procedure that are less formal than those followed in trial courts, which usually leads to a faster, less-expensive resolution. There are many types of arbitration in common use: Binding arbitration is similar to a court proceeding in that the arbitrator has the power to impose a decision, although this is sometimes limited by agreement -- for example, in 'hi-lo arbitration' the parties may agree in advance to a maximum and minimum award. In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator can recommend but not impose a decision. Many contracts -- including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organizations -- require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute. This may be reasonable when the arbitrator really is neutral, but is justifiably criticized when the large company that writes the contract is able to influence the choice of the arbitrator.