New Orleans Real Estate & Corporate Law Blog

Real estate litigation ensues after broker violates duty

The real estate market is immensely competitive. Depending on the actions a person takes with a piece of property and when those actions are taken, that individual could stand to pocket a substantial profit from a transaction. However, real estate litigation could ensue if one person feels that an agent or broker did not act in an upstanding manner.

Louisiana readers may be interested in a lawsuit recently filed in another state against a real estate broker. Reports stated that the suit was filed by the former owner of a home and came as the result of the broker's son purchasing the property and making a substantial profit after flipping it. Apparently, the original owner of the property believes that the broker drove down the price of the property to her son's benefit and did not disclose to the owner that the buyer was her son, which violates the state's law.

You can focus on work with a business law firm on your side

You started your Louisiana company with the intention of serving your customers or clients and making a profit. Even if you anticipated the amount of work it would take, you may not have anticipated the amount of legal matters you would encounter on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. If you work with a business law firm, you can get back to the part of your business you like.

Opening a business alone requires addressing a number of legalities. Entity formation documents, operating agreements, bylaws and more require your attention. If you take advantage of the experience and knowledge of an attorney, you increase the chances everything will be done correctly the first time. Now that you are up and running, that sentiment does not go away.

Protecting your interests while purchasing a home

Buying a home is a major decision that comes with significant benefits and risks. Owning a home can help a person establish firm financial footing or bring financial disaster, if the transaction is not handled properly. Whether you are buying a home for the first time or have already purchased real estate in the past, there are many issues that may arise during the home buying process. Protecting your interests throughout a real estate transaction takes attention and careful planning, especially when purchasing an older home.

As you move through the real estate purchasing process, make sure to review all your documents carefully. Understanding the details of complex legal documents like those used in real estate is not easy, so it is important to use high-quality legal resources and guidance as you need them, to keep your personal and financial interests secure.

Partnership agreements have their place in business

Going into business with a partner can have a lot of benefits, but it is not without its problems either. Business partners do not always end up getting along, disputes arise, and how those disputes are handled can make or break a company. A partnership agreement is a legally binding contract that business owners in Louisiana can use to keep partnerships running smoothly or help them dissolve smoothly if they are not working out as initially planned.

What might one want to include in a partnership agreement? No detail is too small in such contracts. A good contract will typically have the following information:

  • Ownership percentages
  • Profit and loss distribution
  • Description of powers
  • Partnership termination information
  • Partner buyout instructions
  • Partnership term
  • Tax status

What should I know about nondisclosure agreements?

There is a lot more that goes into building a thriving business than many people realize. Trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property are often the foundation upon which a successful business sits. Keeping that intellectual property secret is key to continued growth. In Louisiana, nondisclosure agreements are one of the most effective ways to keep that essential information away from the public and other businesses.

Employees and even partners are frequently asked to sign nondisclosure agreements. A typical nondisclosure agreement will address what information must be kept confidential, the length of the agreement and several other specifics. Agreements must also be reasonable, meaning that they may not be vague, too broad or impose significant burdens on those that sign them. Otherwise they may not be enforceable, even if willingly signed.

Preparing to buy a home in the coming year

At the beginning of a New Year, many people will be looking for a fresh start. For some, this means finding a new home in Louisiana. Shopping for a house can be an exciting process, but it is also a major legal and financial transaction. This means it is important and beneficial for a potential buyer to start planning and preparing now to take the step of buying a house.

One thing to consider is the fact that there are many people shopping for homes at the first of the year. As mortgage rates are remaining low, this will likely mean more competition for people exploring the market. Experts suggest that there could be an increase of as many as 700,000 mortgages taken out over the next three years by new homeowners. Many millennials are considering home ownership as well after years of renting.

Buying a home can be complex, especially if it's an older house

With the prevalence of remodeling shows on television and the growing popularity of buying homes to fix them up, it is no surprise that more people are considering the purchase of an older home. Old homes can be unique and offer things newer homes cannot, but they can also come with a host of problems as well. When buying a home that is more than 15 or 20 years old, there are several things a buyer will want to do to protect his or her interests. 

First, a buyer is going to want to check the roof. In Louisiana, weather can take a toll on a home, especially long-term exposure to wind and rain. Buying a home with a roof that needs to be replaced or repaired can be very expensive down the road. It's also worthwhile to check on the plumbing. It is especially common in older homes to find clay pipes, which can degrade and roots can grow through them over time. 

Are the holidays the right time to buy a house?

The thought of buying a house can be overwhelming. It requires the buyer to prepare to move his or her stuff, get financing, schedule a home inspection and do various other things just to be able to move into the new house. This can be a daunting prospect, but a person may be especially reluctant to buy a house during the holiday season. While it can be a busy time of year, there are actually many reasons why a person should consider this option.

There are fewer people trying to buy a home during this time of year, so it can mean that a person will have more options available. Additionally, sellers are more ready to sell their home before the new year, which means that they may be willing to negotiate on asking price. A Louisiana buyer looking during the holidays may be able to find a better deal on a dream house than during other times of the year.

When to dissolve your relationship with your business partner

Dissolving a relationship with a business partner is not nearly as easy as simply firing an employee. Perhaps you both started the company together. Neither one of you is in a position of leadership over the other. You both have invested time, money, energy and emotion into the company.

That said, there are times when it's clear that you need to break off this partnership. Some red flags you may see include:

  • It's all you can do to spend the work day together. You have personality conflicts that make it so that you dread that time and would never spend extra hours together unless you had to. Some call this the vacation test. If you would never go on a vacation together, should you work together?
  • You do more of the work and shoulder more of the load. Things just do not feel fair. Maybe you spend long hours at the office, putting in at least 60 hours per week. Your partner constantly shows up late and leaves early. You need to work with someone who is as dedicated as you.
  • They try to cover up mistakes and important facts if they made a mistake. You have to be honest with each other. If they make a mistake and try to keep you from finding out about it, or if they lie about income or expenses to make it fit the budget, they're not someone you can trust to work in your company.
  • They want to stay involved but have little to offer. This often happens with young start-up companies. Maybe you partnered up with someone who was already your friend because they got excited about the idea. After working together, though, you realize that they have very little to offer. You can do their job better than they can. Maybe they are even holding you back.

Trademark infringement can lead to business litigation

When a business feels threatened by another company, there may be various reasons. In some cases, that threat may exist because another company is infringing on a company's trademark, logo or other intellectual property. If so, business litigation could result if a company believes that such action is needed to protect its brand.

Louisiana readers may be interested in multiple lawsuits filed by Backcountry, an online retailer that sells outdoor gear for various activities. The company has filed suit against dozens of other businesses that have used the word "backcountry" in their business names and to describe products or other aspects of their brands. The company has had a trademark on its name since 2007. It was also reported that at least one lawsuit resulted due to a company using a mountain goat, which is a key feature of Backcountry's logo.

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