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An Overview of Real Estate Law: An Interview with Susan Gaddy of The Gaddy Law Firm, LLC

By Susan Gaddy

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

I founded The Gaddy Law Firm, LLC in1999 and opened the Mt. Pleasant office in 2011. The Mt. Pleasant office focuses on real estate issues, especially foreclosure defense (helping borrowers) and loss mitigation (short sales and loan modifications). We have handled all aspects of real estate litigation and closings since 1999.

What are some of the services your company provides?

The Gaddy Law Firm, LLC furnish legal services throughout the Low Country that focus on real estate legal issues- active court cases are the primary focus. I am from Greenville and opened my first law office there.

Can you briefly state for our readers a generalized definition of real estate law?

Real estate law is a very broad term that refers to anything that is "legal" having to do with real property. A real estate sale or purchase is part of real estate law and any court case that involves real estate is also real estate law.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of purchasing foreclosed homes or short sales?

The market for distressed properties has changed so much in the past 2 years because values are trending upward that we find getting short sales approved for a discounted price is really, really hard now. Purchasing a home from a lender as a foreclosed property does not automatically mean getting a good price. Disadvantages include significant time delays and much frustration with the process. Also it is hard to predict the condition of the property. Distressed properties usually sell "as is."

What are some common litigation cases and how do you handle them?

There's no such thing as a common litigation case! We've handled litigation for 15 years in South Carolina and each case is unique. That's the amazing part about practicing law. The economy changes, the situations change and the law changes. It keeps us on our toes and excited about solving problems within the legal system. We also strongly believe in mediation as a key settlement tool to resolve disputes. I'm a Certified Mediator through the SC Bar Association.

What sorts of transactions do real estate lawyers oversee?

Real estate lawyers handle any transactions involving real property. In our case, we also handle business purchases and sales as a transaction. We have helped HOAs, homeowners with HOA issues and landlord/tenant issues, especially when a foreclosure is involved. Bankruptcy law involves federal laws for either liquidation of debts or re-organization of debts. It rarely overlaps with real estate law. Real estate law is exclusively state law.

What can be expected from a basic real estate contract?

It needs to be in writing!! if it is not in writing it is not valid. Any contract needs to show "the meeting of the minds" and needs to state clearly what the parties intend. Most real estate contracts are forms that cover a variety of contingencies. We typically assist clients with business contracts that require negotiation or to write down what the parties have agreed to do with a business before they hire counsel.

Does real estate law vary from state to state?

Yes! South Carolina is really different from other states! We require an attorney to be present for all loan closings in order for a mortgage to be valid. All borrowers have the option to select their own attorney to handle a loan closing. The seller may choose separate counsel or may ask the buyer's attorney to prepare a deed. Court cases are very specific to SC law. Foreclosure cases in SC must all be heard by a judge who is known as the Master in Equity or a Special Referee. We are a "judicial foreclosure state."

What is the best way for people to reach you or your company?

Attorney Susan Gaddy, The Gaddy Law Firm, LLC, 260 W. Coleman Blvd, Ste B, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464. Tel: 843-388-7062. Our website www.sgfirm.com is the easiest way. We've just re-designed it!

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About The Author

Susan Gaddy is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the...

Phone: (843) 388-7062

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