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Buying property can be exciting, but it can also be daunting. There are specific processes that must be followed, as well as forms that must be filled in and documents that must be completed exactly the right way. At the end, the real estate closing will result in the property being transferred to the purchaser.

Most people need to borrow money to buy a home, and this can be a formidable prospect in itself. Again, there are processes and documents involved, as well as negotiations and agreements to be concluded.

While the process of buying property is basically the same in all US states, local law does have an impact. For instance in Georgia the closing must be conducted by a licensed Georgia  attorney, who is effectively a real estate specialist. Furthermore this attorney must be physically present at the closing, and according to a Georgia Supreme Court order, “in control of the closing process from beginning to end”. This was as a result of an attorney having participated in a real estate closing telephonically, which the Court found “ethically improper”.

In some other states, only attorneys can give legal advice relating to the closing. Real estate attorneys must also draft all the legal documentation. But a “non-attorney” may handle the closing.

While we don’t regularly handle real estate closings outside of the Metro Atlanta area, we can refer you to other attorneys in the State of Georgia who may be able to assist.

Call us at 678.324-8511;

E-mail us at Info@LawrenceLegal.Law; or 

Click here to schedule a consultation.

We have seen a rise in the “house flipping” trend over the last several years. House flipping is the process of buying a home, renovating the home, and then selling it for a substantial profit within the course of a very short time. Often, an investor is able to make money from flipping a house by fixing less costly cosmetic issues – such as carpeting, painting, and appliances – and then selling the house at a significantly higher price.

If you are an investor interested in house flipping, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney who can help with all aspects of your real estate transaction. Recently, several house flipping schemes aimed at potential real estate investors have come to light, exposing housing management investment companies and banks working together to defraud potential investors.

In one scheme, a Georgia Bank came under fire after the revelation that one of its co-founders and a chief executive was heavily involved in making fraudulent loans. Through the Bank, chief executive made short-term loans to inner-city investors interested in flipping house in low-income neighborhoods. Because the investors often did not have easy access to loans from traditional banks, the company charged hefty fees and exorbitant interest rates.

Another scheme in involved a European man who enticed flippers – for a substantial fee – with cheap properties and access to expert renovators. He then sent his investors to the Georgia Bank to obtain loans to buy his properties. Allegedly, kickbacks were paid to the loan officers at Georgia Bank who approved the funding. The European man is now in federal custody on charges of fraud. The European Man and the unnamed loan officer made money, but many of the properties were never renovated and the investors lost their money.

These flipping schemes have created additional problems in some of Atlanta’s most needy neighborhoods – with newly flipped homes sitting vacant and attracting criminals and squatters. Although many flipping schemes have come to light over the past decade, The Wall St. Journal reports that home flipping is making a comeback with investors buying up foreclosed properties. These flippers need “cold cash, lots of local-market knowledge and strong nerves.”

The best advice for real estate investors interested in getting involved in the flipping market is to do your homework, be wary of schemes, and be willing to take some risks. We can help you determine if the property you are interested in is suitable for flipping. However, if you believe, you have been a victim of house flipping fraud; please contact us immediately to discuss your case.

Call us at 678.324-8511;

E-mail us at Info@LawrenceLegal.Law; or 

Click here to schedule a consultation.

Any owner of stolen personal property may bring a civil action for damages against the person that stole the property. Civil liability does not include imprisonment, but can result in the non prevailing party having to pay the prevailing party.  Monetary damages in such a case may include:

  • compensatory damages, including the value of the property and any other loss sustained as a result of the theft
  • liquidated exemplary damages in the amount of $150 or twice the value of the loss, if the value of the total claim is less than $5,000, and
  • costs of initiating and maintaining the action

The civil action may proceed if the following conditions are met:

  • the property owner provided a demand for payment of his or her losses to the offender at least 30 days prior to filing the civil action
  • the offender did not pay the amount demanded by the property owner, or otherwise enter into a payment agreement, within 30 days of receiving the demand for payment, and
  • the property owner did not file the civil action until at least 30 days following the date of service of the written demand for payment on the offender, or after the offender failed to make payment as agreed. 

If you or a loved one want to pursue monetary damages or be defended against a lawsuit for monetary damages, contact us without delay!

Call us at 678.324-8511;

E-mail us at Info@LawrenceLegal.Law; or 

Click here to schedule a consultation.

A shoplifting offense will result in a misdemeanor conviction in the state of Georgia where the value of the shoplifted property is $300 or less.

However, a shoplifting offense will constitute a felony under Georgia law if:

  • the value of the shoplifted property is more than $300, or
  • the property is stolen from three separate stores in the same county within a seven-day period, and the property that is the subject of each theft is worth at least $100. 

For an offender’s second shoplifting offense, the court will impose a fine of at least $250, either in addition to or instead of a sentence of imprisonment.

Upon a third shoplifting offense in Georgia, an offender will receive a sentence of imprisonment of 30 days, or an alternative sentence of confinement, such as home detention, for a period of 120 days, and may be ordered to receive psychological evaluation or treatment at the offender’s expense.

Upon a fourth or subsequent shoplifting offense, the offender shall receive a sentence of imprisonment of at least one year, which is not eligible to suspended, and a maximum of ten years. 

If you or a loved one are facing a shoplifting charge, contact us to begin mounting an aggressive defense.

Call us at 678.324-8511;

E-mail us at Info@LawrenceLegal.Law; or 

Click here to schedule a consultation.

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