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Eminent Domain, Property Takings (Fifth Amendment)

Eminent domain is one of those hot button policy issues that almost always draws the ire of private property owners, despite it usually resulting in large cash settlements for a property owner. Both the Missouri Constitution and Federal Constitution address eminent domain — that is, the government’s authority to take private property. Article I, Section […]

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Escrow Agreements & Contracts for Deed

In real estate law and litigation, I find two of the more commonly misunderstood principles are Escrow Agreements and Contracts for Deed. While the latter is somewhat rare, the former is something you should have an understanding of before entering into a real estate contract (even though Deeds of Trust are so common in Missouri). […]

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Property Easements

An easement is an interest in land, but not an interest in the title to land. More specifically, the interest in land the easement grants is the right of one or more persons to use another’s real estate for either a general or a particular purpose. The easiest example would be a common driveway where […]

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Lease-Purchase Contracts

A lease-purchase agreement — also colloquially referred to as a “rent-to-own” contract — is where a tenant enters into an agreement with the landlord for a set term. Generally, the lease contract states that so long as the normal payments are made, a percentage of those payments will act as a credit toward the purchase […]

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Eminent Domain Litigation

Eminent domain refers to the state and federal government’s ability to seize a private citizen’s property without his or her consent for public use/benefit. The Federal Government’s eminent domain authority flows from the 5th Amendment’s “Takings Clause,” which provides in pertinent part that “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” […]

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Foreclosure

Given the housing market crisis, foreclosures nationwide are on the rise. In Missouri — because the dominant debt instrument used to purchase a home are Deeds of Trust — foreclosure of a deed of trust can commence only in the event of default in the performance required by the terms of the deed of trust. […]

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Deeds of Trust

There are three basic documents in a sale of land: the contract for sale, the deed, and (if needed) a mortgage. A mortgage is a debt instrument which “secures” a debt; in Missouri, the mortgage is almost always in the from of a deed of trust. Essentially, the deed of trust is a type of […]

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Real Estate Title Insurance

Buying a home is a pricey proposition. Putting the recommended 20% down toward the purchase price, in conjunction with other costs such as home inspections and homeowner’s insurance, can be costly. In my estimation, one of the more misunderstood expenses in a real estate transaction is title insurance. Title insurance is not a typical type […]

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What is a Mechanics’ lien?

A mechanic’s lien is a security interest that is used to ensure payment. Any person who works to confer a benefit upon real property (sometimes personal property, too) may assert it under Missouri law against the real estate he or she is improving. Think of it as simply collateral. If the property owner cannot or […]

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