While the majority of real estate transactions are deemed “simple” in regards to their complexity, factors such as the property’s characteristics, the buyer and the seller can quickly escalate a simple real estate transaction to a complex one. Complex real estate transactions require real estate counsel with significant experience in these areas, as a seemingly minor error at any step can leave one or more of the involved parties with excessive costs and years of headache.
The necessity for an experienced real estate attorney in these complex matters results from an issue that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld referred to as “known unknowns and unknown unknowns.” When you know what you don’t know (knowing the unknowns) you can work to resolve those unknowns and come to a full and comprehensive understanding, or in the case of real estate, a successful transaction. However, when you don’t know what you don’t know, you’re incapable of achieving a full and comprehensive understanding, which means that you’re prone to make an error. In the case of a complex real estate transaction, an inexperienced lawyer may not realize the necessity for a specific clause or issues relating to interpretation of certain documents. These unknown unknowns present significant risk to the transacting parties. When dealing with complex areas of real estate law, such as those involving syndicated lending, condominium law, or commercial property, an experienced real estate lawyer can save you years of headache and additional costs.
At Palumbo Law, our attorneys have decades of complex real estate transaction and litigation experience. Lead attorney Richard Palumbo combines his practical experience as a business owner and investor with his legal experience gained in buying and selling real estate, insurance matters, condominium law, commercial real estate, green and sustainable housing and not-for-profit developments. Similarly, attorney Robert E. Allen, Jr. brings nearly four decades of complex real estate transaction and litigation experience to Palumbo Law. Over his legal career, attorney Allen has represented major commercial lenders in large and complex commercial real estate transactions and litigation throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When dealing in complex real estate transactions, our depth of experience across transactions and litigation ensures that you’re protected from unknown unknowns.
As a result of our attorneys’ vast experience and unparalleled representation in real estate and business law, we regularly receive industry recognition for outstanding legal practice and our clients agree. Our industry recognitions include: Martindale Hubble Platinum Client Champion Award; Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rating 5.0 out of 5.0; AVVO Review Rating of 5.0 out of 5.0; invitee for America’s Top 100 Attorneys – Lifetime Achievement Award; and Top Lawyers in Rhode Island among many other recognitions. If you have a real estate matter in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
What are Complex Real Estate Transactions?
Complex real estate transactions aren’t a specific type of transaction; rather, they are simply real estate transactions with uncommon or challenging elements. Consider buying an industrial warehouse. At a basic level, the transaction is the same as any other real estate transaction – the buyer purchases real estate from the seller. However, the specifics of the deal can quickly create a complex real estate transaction. If the warehouse is newly constructed and being sold to an individual person paying cash, then the transaction could be considered not complex as there are only individuals without financing considerations. However, such a transaction can quickly become a complex transaction when additional considerations exist, such as:
- the warehouse previously being used in a manner that presents environmental contamination concerns;
- the seller or buyer is a business entity, such as a limited partnership or corporation, which has additional legal requirements to ensure that the transaction is valid;
- the transaction is a sale and lease-back; or
- the buyer is financing the acquisition through a syndicated loan.
In some transactions, all four characteristics may be present as well as a litany of other concerns that increase the deal complexity. Based on our experience, complex real estate transactions typically involve:
- 1031 exchanges;
- Bond financing;
- Condominium associations;
- Commercial lease negotiations;
- Commercial property;
- Sale and lease-back;
- Sale of foreclosure properties;
- Syndicated loans; and
- Trusts and corporate entities.
Complex transactions, such as a sale and lease-back, combine two already complex real estate transactions: the purchase and sale of commercial real estate with commercial real estate leasing. In such a transaction, a party sells real estate to another on the condition that the property is then leased to the seller. While this may seem counterintuitive (why would someone sell their property only to pay someone else to use it?), sale and lease-back transactions can provide much-needed cash for businesses and investors to pursue higher returning opportunities, such as capital expenditures to upgrade equipment.
Additionally, seemingly simple transactions such as the sale and purchase of a foreclosed property require extensive experience in niche areas of law to ensure that the transaction is valid under state and local laws. Simply missing a notice period by one day can ultimately render the sale and purchase invalid. Thus, investors and companies need to consider their lawyers’ experience in the specific area to minimize the risk of unknown unknowns.
Real Estate Lawyer Serving Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut
At Palumbo Law, we are real estate and business law specialists. Our attorneys’ diverse experiences allow us to eliminate the unknown. With more than 100 years of collective legal experience representing local and multi-national businesses and retail and institutional investors, our attorneys have seen everything in real estate transactions. If you have a real estate matter requiring advice or urgent action, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.