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Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer Blog

News and information on Massachusetts real estate law.

Is a Binding Contract Hitting Send? Review of Feldberg V Coxall

The Massachusetts Middlesex Superior court has applied the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (“UETA”) in Feldberg v Coxall. The statute was implemented to bridge a gap between the centuries- old laws used to govern contracts, and the modern digital age. Here, Justice Wilkens concluded that since the circumstances supported an intention by both parties to be bound in an agreement, that when applied in this dispute the UETA could allow the signature block or the ‘from” field on an email to satisfy the record element of a land sale agreement.

For the contract between a buyer and seller of land to be held up in court, Massachusetts law requires that there be a “writing” or a record of that agreement. UETA allows this standard to include electronic records. Therefore if a seller and buyer make an agreement through email, they may have created a record. The conduct of the parties is still primary, and Courts look for behavior from both sides to show an intention to be bound.

This case is still waiting to be heard on its merits, but Justice Wilkens was clear in his opinion on the electronic signature. He denied dismissal based on the recorded contract being through email, and accordingly the land was attached to the lawsuit.

If you find yourself in the exciting transition of buying or selling a home, don’t go through it alone. Laws are always changing and the consequences of seemingly innocuous actions can be significant. Contact a real estate lawyer at Brooks & Crowley LLP to help you navigate through the process.

Contributed by Laura Martin

Foreclosures on the Rise

Thursday, July 12th, 2012 @ 03:32PM | General

The number of foreclosures on US homes are high.  The April-June period saw 311,010 properties begin the foreclosure process, which is about a 9% increase from the previous quarter.  In June, foreclosure filings had risen for the second consecutive month.  RealtyTrac stated that, “In the first six months of the year, homes in some stage of the foreclosure process — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — topped one million.” The highest foreclosure rates are found in Nevada, followed by Arizona, Georgia, California, and Florida.

The high number of foreclosures has been a contributing factor to the low home prices, as buyers are able to purchase homes for prices that are much less than what the normal market value would be.  The increased foreclosures in the first part of the year will likely result to increased short sales and bank repossessions in the second part of the year.

If you are facing foreclosure, contact an attorney.  The sooner you contact an attorney the better your chances are avoiding foreclosure.  Contact the law offices of Brooks & Crowley to see what seasoned legal advice our attorneys can offer you.

Facing Foreclosure? Mediation May Be An Option

Thursday, July 5th, 2012 @ 10:55AM | General

Foreclosure mediation programs have been gaining popularity in various states.  Studies suggest they help people lower their monthly payments to allow people to keep their homes rather than defaulting on payments.  Data on their effectiveness is patchy, but figures from some programs suggest they help some people to lower their monthly payments, allowing them to keep their homes and avoid defaulting again.  Foreclosure sales are tough on them market by weighing on home prices and having a long, lengthy process.  Critics of mediation believe that the housing market would mend more quickly to just clear out foreclosure cases and evict millions of families, but mediation proponents feel that mediation can provide an alternative, less painful route.  Full article here.

Massachusetts does have a mediation program in place.  If you are facing dangers of foreclosure, contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and see how we can help you.

Thomas Kinkade’s Assets in Dispute

Monday, July 2nd, 2012 @ 10:10AM | General

The late Thomas Kinkade’s assets are in dispute between his wife and his girlfriend.  He and his wife were legally separated for two years leading up to his death, and he was living with his girlfriend.  His girlfriend has put forth handwritten notes that state that Kinkade bequeathed both his mansion and $10 million dollars to her to ensure her security.  The notes are dated November 18, 2011 and Dec. 11, 2011 and a court will soon determine the authenticity of the notes.  His wife is seeking full control of the estate, valued at $66.3 million dollars.

Impending Foreclosure?

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 @ 10:23AM | General

When your home is threatened by foreclosure all hope may not be lost.  The typical window of a foreclosure from the date of the filing of the complaint until the judgment of sale is entered is about a 2-month window.  Although this is a short amount of time, if you are pro active and talk to an attorney early on in the process, you may be able to find an alternative.  The sooner you seek legal help, the better chance you have of your attorney being able to help defend you in a foreclosure.  See full article here.

If you are facing a foreclosure, contact us at Brooks & Crowley and let us try to help you work out an alternate to foreclosure.

Building Permits Highest Since 2008

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 @ 11:14AM | General

The number of building permits has increased and has hit record highs since 2008.  This signals that housing construction numbers will get better, and in turn, this means more jobs.  The construction surge may be attributed to the mild winter.    However, housing won’t return to full force until the overall economy improves and hiring increases. Full story here.

Mortgage Issues for Schilling’s 38 Studios

Monday, June 18th, 2012 @ 10:51AM | General

As Curt Schilling’s company faces bankruptcy, 38 Studios also faces mortgage issues.  An attorney for five former employees of the video game company has asked the Attorney General, Martha Coakley, to look into the relocation company that handled the company’s relocation to Rhode Island.  After the relocation, the company made a deal with MoveTrek Mobility LLC to assist staff in selling their homes, giving the impression that to the sellers that they sold their homes in 2011.  However, workers received a letter that MoveTrek was rescinding its agreement to purchase the homes, and on the same day 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy.

MoveTrek was unable to sell 7 homes because Studio 38 refused to pay costs required to sell the home.  The attorney is accusing the company of violating the state’s consumer protection law and hindering workers with a second mortgage.

Zoning Ordinances

Monday, June 18th, 2012 @ 10:50AM | General

It is important to comply with zoning ordinances or else you may face similar violations to a Middleboro man, who has planted tulips in violation of landscape regulations and building too close to the property line. He has already spent over a million dollars to improve the property, but if he has violated these ordinances, the renovations may be futile.  Full article here.  For example, in Bjorklund v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Norwell, 450 Mass. 357 (2008), the court prevented a homeowner from tearing down  smaller house to replace it with a larger house to ensure that the town ordinance would not be violated.

Popularity of Condos on the Rise

Thursday, June 14th, 2012 @ 09:37AM | General

It can cost more in Massachusetts to buy a condo than a single family home!  The demand for condos has risen and supply has fallen.  The median price of a Massachusetts condo is estimated to be at about $280,000.00, which is up 3.5% since last April, and also $5,000.00 more than the median price of a single family home.  See full article here.

If you are interested in what real estate option is best for you, contact us at Brooks & Crowley and we can offer your our seasoned legal advice.

Commercial Real Estate Likely to Grow in 2012

Friday, June 8th, 2012 @ 10:00AM | General

Commercial real estate is expected to surge in the latter half of this year, with apartment buildings to lead the change, along with warehouse distribution centers and hotels.  The growth is expected to be greatest in the cities of Boston and San Francisco, since buyer interest is high.  Read the full story here.

If you are interested in commercial real estate, contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and we can provide you with legal expertise in making your future purchase.

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