New Orleans Real Estate & Corporate Law Blog

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.

Building in protections when buying a Louisiana home

A home is often the largest purchase an individual or family will make. For this reason, a Louisiana homebuyer may want to take steps to protect his or her interests during the buying process. One way to do this is to add contingencies to the purchase contract, which is akin to attaching strings to the deal.

Most potential buyers walk through a home that is for sale and see nothing but good things. Unless they have some expertise in home inspections or realty, it is easy to miss deficiencies that could cause issues for a buyer in the future. Putting a satisfactory home inspection contingency in the purchase contract could give that individual the opportunity to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals significant issues.

Failure to disclose can lead to real estate litigation

Selling a home can be a stressful thing. In today's market, houses in New Orleans either sit without buyers for a long time or they sell quickly. Regardless, when one finds a buyer, wanting the sale to go through swiftly and without issue is understandable. One thing that can stop a transaction in its tracks is the disclosure list, which is why some sellers may be tempted to keep certain information to themselves. Doing so, however, can lead to real estate litigation.

Failure to disclose is a serious issue. There are certain items of which homeowners are required to make potential buyers aware. Some of those things are:

  • Mold 
  • Foundation problems
  • HVAC issues
  • Plumbing defects

Construction litigation stems from contract issues, lack of pay

Even the most well-meaning business relationships can hit snags. In some cases, those snags are significant and can lead to serious disputes. If a construction project faces issues, it is possible for construction litigation to occur, commonly due to breach of contract.

Louisiana readers may be interested in a dispute that is currently underway in another state. Reports indicated that a construction project for a city hall complex has led to conflict with the companies that designed and built the structure. Apparently, Holder Construction claims that the city has not paid any invoices for approximately a year and owes the company $2.6 million. However, since the company sued the city, the city has countersued the construction company for breach of contract, negligence and fraud.

Can you get your earnest money back after a failed sale?

Buying a home is a complex and often protracted process. You will need to scour the listings for a property that meets your family's needs and is in the right area. You also have to think about how much you will pay for the mortgage, as well as property taxes and insurance, which can vary drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Many people need help to navigate the process.

Of course, it isn't much easier for sellers, who have to open their house up to strangers and wait for someone to make a reasonable offer. Putting down earnest money when you make an offer on a property is a good way to let the sellers know that you are serious in your intentions to purchase the home.

Tips for Louisiana business owners to avoid litigation

Owning a business can be a gratifying and lucrative endeavor. However, it does not come without risks, including the possibility of disputes and other matters that could result in a company facing a lawsuit. Louisiana business owners may find the following tips useful in limiting the potential for lawsuits, personal liability and expensive judgments that could jeopardize the future of the business.

For instance, insurance payments may take up a chunk of the monthly budget, but the policies could keep a business from having to dip into its own coffers. Shoring up contracts with certain protections for the business and the individuals behind it may also help. For instance, a contract could include something as simple as a protection against acts of God, which could make a difference.

What New Orleans businesses need to know about retaliation

Business strategies will not amount to much for many companies without the employees who put them into action. Many of the businesses here in New Orleans and the surrounding area would not be able to function with them. This means that whether a company is large or small, it needs to remain cognizant of the federal and state protections employees have, including those against retaliation.

Since retaliation can come in many forms, it is vital that New Orleans businesses understand the types of behaviors and actions that could get them into trouble when it comes to this issue. Every business should have some apparatus in place for employees to make complaints regarding discrimination and harassment. The same could be said for making sure that such employees are not further victimized through retaliatory actions such as demotions, firings, negative evaluations, reductions in pay and more.

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