Laura I. Shidlovitsky, Attorney at Law, Discusses What to Consider When Purchasing or Investing in Property in a Depressed Housing Market

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With high unemployment and dropping home values, California is one of the leading states in severe underwater mortgages, according to a recent Business Week report. While bad for homeowners, this could be a golden opportunity for investors. Laura I. Shidlovitsky, commercial and real estate attorney, briefly discusses what to consider when buying or investing in real property in a depressed housing market.

The stock market bubble has burst, unemployment is high, and the housing market is depressed. While this may seem like a worst-case scenario, it can actually be a prime opportunity to diversity assets and to invest in real estate. Unfortunately, it can also be a legal minefield due to the unique challenges of the housing crisis. Laura I. Shidlovitsky, a commercial and real estate attorney based in Los Angeles, California, cautions investors to be careful when acquiring upside down properties.

“Most investors don’t know where to begin when investing in real estate, which can really get them into trouble later on.” Shidlovitsky continues, “My office is full of people who would have been fine had they just consulted a real estate attorney before signing on the dotted line.”

What pitfalls can investors avoid when acquiring real property? Here are just a few suggestions from commercial and real estate attorney, Laura Shidlovitsky.

“Do not purchase a property just because it is on sale,” Laura Shidlovitsky, Attorney at Law, cautions. “Cheaper properties are often more prone to unforeseen future repairs and other unexpected costs” than their more expensive neighbors. She advises clients “to have a standard plan when investing and verify that the property suits that aim.” If the bargain property matches those goals, then it might be worth acquiring.

Shidlovitsky has also found that many potential investors get into hot water by not doing their homework before purchasing real property. She advises investors to verify a property’s title, zoning, permits, and environmental condition, among other things, as doing so can prevent a buyer from having to deal with “environmental catastrophes or numerous building code violations” of the new asset.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While it may seem cost-effective to skip legal consultation, doing so can cause buyers to inadvertently waive their rights or enter into inappropriate purchase agreements. Attorney at Law, Laura Shidlovitsky, says “The amount spent on an attorney for a court trial is often exponentially higher than consulting one on a property contract. Buyers can save themselves a lot of money and stress by having an experienced real estate lawyer conduct a comprehensive review of all of the transaction documents before signing them, especially when it comes to Purchase and Sale Agreements, Agency Agreements, Escrow Instructions, and/or Disclosures.”

Loan terms can be a buyer’s best friend or their worst enemy. According to Shidlovitsky, “By law, mortgages can have clauses in them that limit what the investor can do with their property.” She continues, “For example, an investor may purchase a property with the intention to lease it, but if the owner is required to occupy the property as part of their mortgage contract, then by law they cannot lease it.” To avoid this, Shidlovitsky recommends having a mortgage professional review and explain the mortgage terms before proceeding with the financing.

Laura I. Shidlovitsky, Esq., owner and founder of the Law Offices of Laura I. Shidlovitsky, is a very creative and personable Attorney at Law who tailors her legal counsel to meet the unique needs of her clients in all aspects of commercial and real estate transactions and negotiations. She has extensive experience representing individuals and publicly traded corporations in a variety of industries, including metals distribution, commercial real estate, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, restaurant, media and entertainment, transportation, and consulting. Ms. Shidlovitsky is also an active member in many professional organizations, including the LACBA Business and Corporate and Real Property Sections, the ABA Business and Litigation Sections, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Century City Chamber of Commerce.

To find out more about what to consider when purchasing an upside down property or to interview Laura I. Shidlovitsky, Esq., please call (310) 684-3843.


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Laura I. Shidlovitsky, Esq.
Law Offices of Laura I. Shidlovitsky
(310) 684-3843
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