Real Estate

Buying?  Selling?  Transferring Title?  Leasing?  Need Contract Review?   Deeds? Assistance with Seller Financing? 


Arden Law Firm Offers: 

An Enhanced Life Estate Deed offers greater protection and can combine the best of two worlds - if worded properly it can allow another person to be named on the deed and get property automatically after the original owner's death (avoiding probate) WHILE allowing an original owner to keep full, unfettered control during their lifetime.   

This affordable planning tool can be prepared for a flat fee (including presentment/recording at governmental offices not including filing fee)

Real Estate Contracts

While an attorney review of the contract can benefit anyone, when agents are involved the role of your real estate attorney is generally limited to reviewing the contract and review of the settlement papers.  Arden Law Firm offers modest flat fees for residential contract reviews starting at $200.  The firm also prepares contracts for parties not already represented in a transaction. 

Private Mortgages

Maryland has recently tightened restrictions on certain private party mortages.   Under current law, a SELLER can still hold a mortgage and PARENTS or other close family members can still make a loan to their children secured by real estate.  In most other situations a lender must be licensed.   When private party loans are available, they typically involve two main documents:  A Promissory Note and a Deed of Trust.   The Note is the legal "IOU" while the Deed of Trust makes the real estate properly secured collateral.  

Contract Review Prices  

For Sale By Owner Contracts and Settlements

Not every transaction has two trained agents or access to attorney prepared form contracts used by local real estate agents.  A real estate transaction is a significant undertaking where knowledge of the law can help avoid pitfalls.  

Arden Law Firm can prepare customized real estate contracts of sale / purchase agreements for use in For Sale By Owner situations, in family sales or other scenarios where parties chose to sell or buy a home without agents.

Arden Law Firm can also handle other settlement services.   


Arden Law Firm offers attorney review of leases (both commercial and residential).  If you are renting property make sure your lease covers all the bases!   The law has a number of requirements for residential leases while most terms of a commercial lease are up for negotiation.  Most of the time the firm can do a detailed lease review for a flat fee.

Need a boilerplate lease to use with tenants?  Lease drafting also available in most counties.  


An easement is a legal right to do something on someone else's property.   A common type of easement is for access to property (perhaps with rights to use an existing driveway), but an easement can give rights to use land for various purposes without conveying full ownership.   Arden Law Firm can assist with neighbor or access easements.  

  After a spouse dies, [the suvivor] adds adult children to the deed.  Because of the way the deed was drafted, she unknowingly may have given her children a tax bill of $60,000!   


Many people wish to avoid probate.   Sometimes, however, adding children or grandchild to the deed creates unexpected problems.  This includes tax and creditor issues.   Is there a better way? 

Yes!  For people who own a lot of real estate, a TRUST may be the answer.   Revocable trusts are well suited when real estate is in multiple states, when family dynamics are complicated or when blended family considerations come into play.  However, there is a simple, affordable solution that doesn't involve a trust for those whose needs are basic (say a couple wants to leave their home to their only son or daughter):  in many situations an Enhanced Life Estate Deed can solve the problems without unnecessary cost or hassle.   

Example 1>  In one situation, preparing a life estate deed for a modest home at a cost of about $300 ($240 plus governmental filing fee) would save the owner's heirs $16,000 in probate fees and expenses!  (Example assumes the property would otherwise have gone through the owner's estate with probate tax and personal representative commissions at the current statutory rate).  

Example 2> A couple purchased their home in the 1960s and have lived there ever since.  It was purchased for $42,000 and now is worth about $300,000 more.  After her husband's death, the owner decides to add her son and daughter to the deed. She unknowingly may have given her children a tax bill of $60,000!   

Have a scenario you'd like to run by an experienced attorney?  Arden Law Firm does not offer tax or accounting advice, but feel free to call 410-216-7000 for a no-cost initial 10 minute phone call to answer your estate planning questions. 

© ArdenLawFirm 2014-2018  Managing Attorney Cedulie Laumann, Esq.