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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Difference between offer to purchase real property and purchase agreement in Virginia

Buyer and seller entered into vague offer to purchase property in April. No further word from buyer until seller sent letter in August, stating all offers/ contracts have been rescinded. Buyer then called with closing date, saying he'd sue for breach of contract. Is offer to purchase a valid... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 12, 2019

You need a lawyer to review the actual exchanges. If an offer was accepted, it is a contract from that moment on, and it follows its terms until completed or breached.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How long does a seller have to remove personal items from the property after the sale is completed?

The seller returned several times a few weeks after the sale to take items from the mobile home yard and patio. Now, over a year after the sale, the seller returned to claim items in a outside shed. In the process,the previous owner cut off a lock on the shed and started to remove items. The... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 10, 2019

What's required is a contract review. In most sale of real estate contracts, there is a provision that items on the property except for a list in the contract convey to the buyer. If not, the common law of bailment probably applies, and the buyer became a gratuitous bailee of the goods. He may not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can someone sell a brick and mortar home but not the land it is built on?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 6, 2019

This is actually fairly common in parts of the United States. Baltimore has a long-standing tradition of selling houses that sit on land held by long-term lease. But, such situations can be quite complex. They can also be the basis for a fraud or a non-fraudulent misunderstanding that means you pay... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In a Life Estate Will can siblings NOT design. to live in the house, move in w/o approval of those who were designated?

Should the sheriff be called if non-will-designated siblings try to move into the

House?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 2, 2019

I don’t understand your question. If you are the life tenant, you have a right to occupy until your (or the life designee’s) death subject to claims of waste by the remainder-men. If someone else is the life tenant, you have nothing but a claim for waste until the life tenant (or the life... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a homeowner still sell the home that is in foreclosure and pay off the loan to the bank before the bank sells ?

The mortgage bank (Wells Fargo)will not allow any modified (smaller) payments, will not work out any forbearance plan until the total amount past due is paid first. The home just went into foreclosure. As homeowners can we still put the house for sale and pay off the bank loan before the house is... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 22, 2019

You need to get it sold before the foreclosure sale, and a lawyer can often get the bank to wait for a sale. If the mortgage is greater than the sale price, it is called a short sale, and that is also possible. You need to move on it responsibly now, but you do not need bank consent unless they... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: I have 2 text messages from my deceased spouse saying I can have the house, Can I submit this to the court.

He died without a will and now I need to pay his adult children he had before we married, becasue oft he value of the home. My name is not on the deed. I am in Maryland

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 20, 2019

You should sit down with a lawyer to review the estate and your rights. While a text is not a Will, and it will not be binding, you have certain rights as the spouse.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Follow up, if there report is NOT, furnished, what recourse does the renter have for getting back security deposit, an
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 20, 2019

It depends on your county and city. Some have landlord & tenant enforcement offices. In others, you'll need to sue for return of the deposit, probably in General District Court as a small claim.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can an HOA Board ask its members to vote to kick seven properties in a section of the development out of the HOA?

The seven properties are geographically separate from the main part of the community. The Board to seeks to have them removed from the HOA, eliminating their responsibilities to the HOA (i.e., dues, covenants, by-laws, etc.), as well as the HOA responsibilities to them. Is this legal? What are... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 19, 2019

The only competent basis for reviewing that and getting to an answer is reviewing the bylaws of the HOA and the covenants on the properties. Generally, within the constraints of the bylaws, covenants, and state law, an HOA can alter the terms of the contract with the vote of the board or the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My husband was left his cousin's house in her will. Only heir.

She died very unexpectedly so after settling the estate in VA, my husband came to a gentleman's agreement to allow her second husband to live in the home and pay the taxes. It's been two years though and we feel we need to take possession of the home. We're afraid we've let too long lapse and it... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 18, 2019

You need a landlord and tenant or a real estate lawyer, and then you need to give proper notice to quit. If he doesn’t quit, the lawyer can take it from there. If your “lease” is enforceable because something is in writing, and you gave tenancy for the term of the tax payments, you may be... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: VIRGINIA. Son dies intestate. No administrator declared. Mom heir of succession. She dies in July with Will. Now what

My fiancé died intestate on June 8. No Administrator of his estate was filed and his mother was heir of succession. She died In late July before filing the affidavit of heirship on the house. Does the house now enter her estate and probate as she died with a will? Is the rest of his debt/assets... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 14, 2019

In Virginia, real estate passes automatically subject to the filing of an estate or a Will. If there are debts or other assets, Unless you are named in the mother’s will or are owed some debt, you seem to have very little interest in this matter.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In Cecil Cty, MD, am I able to file a contribution claim against my ex-husband regarding a home deficiency that I paid?

My ex-husband and I owned a house in Cecil County, MD, which eventually foreclosed due to him leaving the residence leaving me unable to pay the mortgage on my own. About 5 yrs ago a deficiency judgement was entered against both of us, but I wound up paying it solely on my own. I'd like to go... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 12, 2019

I suspect you have a statute of limitations problem, but you may want to review the facts with a lawyer in a sit-down consult. There may be an applicable exception.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My mom and stepdad were never married but purchased a home in both names with rights to survivors , mom dies, he never

Goes through probate so both names are still on deed. He’s getting remarried, the house was always to go to us kids if something happens to him. Is this new marriage going to change this?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 12, 2019

It would be wise to have counsel review the deed and run a title search, because laypeople often are mistaken in their understanding of joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). But, if the property was truly JTWROS, it passed outside of probate to your mother's significant other (who is... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: What if a person doesn’t go through probate, does the property go to the decendents
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 12, 2019

A "person" doesn't go through probate, because the person is dead. An estate goes through probate. If the estate doesn't go through probate, then property doesn't change title unless the title passes outside of probate, such as a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, a life insurance policy, a... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Our mother died recently and some of her estate is in probate and they asked us if any of us have declared bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Record

Filed for Bankruptcy in Il: Reorganization (#1203036) Jan. 30, 2012

Bankruptcy Record

Filed for Bankruptcy in Ny: Liquidation (#0368257) Dec. 8, 2003

How do we find out if there are still creditors looking for payment? We are just interested, I... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 10, 2019

I don’t understand what you are asking. First off, I don’t understand how “part” of an estate is in probate. All probate assets should be identified in the Inventory. If some of your inheritance is outside of probate in life insurance, funds naming a beneficiary, or joint titles with rights... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: My mother-in-law is on the deed of the house she owns with her ex-husband. But she hasn't lived there in 20 years.

My mother-in-law is on the deed of the house she owns with her ex-husband. But she hasn't lived there in 20 years. Is she entitled to any proceeds from sale? He doesn't want to sell and has made her a super low ball cash offer to get her off of the deed. What are her rights? Can the court force a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 8, 2019

Your mother-in-law needs to speak with a lawyer before making any deals. Where she resided for the past 20 years has no bearing on title to the house. If title was not resolved at the time of the divorce and the house was owned by the marriage, she probably owns half of it. Her ex can claim her... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Current tenant of home that is for sale. Surveillance video was recorded of real estate agent going through belongings.

I entered into a lease last month for my current home. The home is currently listed for sale. During a showing of the home, surveillance video captured the owner of the real estate company and acting agent, allowing a client to go through my personal belongings. What can be done about the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 8, 2019

It might be interesting to see the video to determine how egregious the invasion was. The bottom line is that you will almost certainly be limited to the actual damages you experienced due to the trespass to your property. I suspect that would be zero, but an interview might uncover something. If... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: We purchased a 3 bedroom house last April, but just learned it’s only a 2 bedroom septic.

Listing , prior owner agent all day it was 3 bedroom. Depot Heath says 2 bedroom. We bought the house as 1031 commercial with intent to rent. Our income is almost half potential now.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 7, 2019

You should probably have the contract, advertisements, disclosures, home inspections, and permits reviewed to determine whether you have a cause of action against the seller or anyone else. It is impossible to form a reliable, professional opinion on your remedies without a competent review,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My bf is on probation and trying to move to Florida with my family and I. They denied him

They said his obligations weren’t met even though his job is down there. If him and I married would they make it a mandatory transfer because my family would turn into his family too

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 3, 2019

It might be a good idea to have him discuss this with his criminal defense lawyer. Either way, the issue will be decided by Probation or by the judge, and a local, informed perspective matters.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Don't agree w/ proposed property distribution of dead parent. What happens if don’t sign Receipt 4 Personal Property?

Estate attorney is pressuring me to sign. Other beneficiary (also the Executor) likes the proposed distribution, so I’m the holdout. Jurisdiction is Fairfax, VA.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 28, 2019

I agree with my learned colleague, Mr. Hart, but I think the slant he puts on it is a bit harsh. If you believe the distribution is unfair, why don't you start by buying a consult with a lawyer to review the Will, the Inventory, and the Proposed Distribution. Get an independent view on whether the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I paid my rent twice in one month although the second payment came back insufficient funds, but this was back in March

No one from the rent office say anything and continue to take my current rent, then in June , which was 3 months later they tell me that they filed an unlawful detainer because I still owe for March, it’s almost august

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 26, 2019

I cannot understand from your posting whether the bounced check caused your rent to be unpaid or whether it was an extra payment. In any event, most leases provide for an additional rental fee for bounced checks, and it is not clear from your posting whether that was resolved. If, when all is said... Read more »

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