In 2008, the U.S. economy had a major problem. At the core of this recession was the real estate industry. The complexity of the situation might only be fully understood by real estate lawyers and those who handle real estate investments. In layman’s terms, what happened in 2008 was known as the bursting of a real estate bubble. Basically, subprime mortgage lenders, or those who granted loans to those with poor credit, began lending too much at too high a risk. By 2008, the amount of mortgage debt had reached a tipping point and the market could no longer hold itself up, hence the collapse that forced several foreclosures and reduced the values of many homes across the country.
Even in these simplified terms, the housing market crisis is still hard to understand for most people. This is partially why real estate lawyers were so crucial in the time directly after the housing bubble burst, and why they’re important today. Investing in real property is a major step for any person or business, so it’s good to know there are professionals who specialize in real estate and property law who can defend clients and help them understand their rights as property owners or borrowers. There are some real estate law cases of the past few decades that really exemplify the power and significance of a good real estate attorney.
One of these real estate law cases involved a 2009 scuffle between Citigroup and Destiny USA, a large shopping center in Syracuse, New York. Destiny USA was planning to build several new and expensive attachments such as hotel and additional retail spaces. However, a lender from Citigroup accused Destiny USA of misusing funds lent by the bank for things such as marketing before locking down any tenants to ensure proper revenue streams. As a result, construction came to a halt for some time while each group’s lawyers hashed out a solution. After nearly two years, an agreement had finally been made and the expansion continued. Destiny USA’s initial plan was altered, its loans capped, and no hotel space was added. Without good real estate attorneys, there may have never been a compromise that allowed the expansion of the space while protecting its lenders.
Other real estate law cases involve negotiation of property value, which happened often following the crisis of 2008. Because the housing bubble burst at that time, many people saw a massive decline in the value of their property. This meant that their assets took a serious blow. If they decided to sell their home they would be selling it at a loss. For condo buyers who were in contract to buy their apartments and had laid down a large nonrefundable downpayment, they had now paid far more than what their property was worth. Fortunately, some people were able to hire good real estate attorneys who fought on their behalf to renegotiate the value of their properties. One law firm was able to retrieve discounts for its clients in this situation by arguing the disclosure documents given to the condo buyers hadn’t been presented properly.
The amount of real estate cases is nearly endless, as are the possibilities that surround them. Property can be a difficult thing to understand, and it’s certainly a major investment that warrants proper protection. While the U.S. housing market has seen a good recovery in the past decade, there is still a significant need for good real estate lawyers.