Bourque Clegg Causey & Morin has developed a sophisticated real estate practice. Our practice includes both transactional work (title searches, closings and research) and property litigation.
Title Searches and Closings:
Our firm has conducted title searches in southern Maine for more than 40 years. Our staff includes experienced paralegals and attorneys who can spot title problems and offer solutions, which you may not find in other law firms or title companies. We have access to decades of assembled files, title insurance policies, surveys and plans. Our wealth of experience and data sources give us an advantage in completing your project swiftly and accurately.
We handle closings for both residential and commercial real estate transactions. We have good working relationships with lenders and brokers. As an approved title insurance agent, we can write the policies required by your lender and also offer “owners” title insurance to protect your property your investment from title problems. Whether it is the purchase of a first home, or a multi-million dollar commercial property, our clients get the personal attention they need to ensure that their transaction closes smoothly and efficiently.
When you are purchasing, selling, refinancing or leasing real estate, consider hiring the attorneys of Bourque Clegg Causey and Morin. Please note that Maine law (9-A M.R.S.A. §3-311) allows a residential home buyer to choose his/her preferred lawyer to conduct the buyer's title search.
Curing Title Problems:
Our firm also has experience in curing difficult title problems. These problems can crop up in a number of difference circumstances. The following are some examples of problems we have tackled and successfully resolved for our clients:
Missing Instruments: A commercial project ground to a halt when another firm's title search revealed an unexplained gap in the chain of title. The owner turned to us for help. Our local knowledge enabled us to track down and obtain an affidavit from a prior owner. Then we tracked down heirs of another owner living in different states to obtain quitclaim deeds to fix the gap.
Defective Foreclosures and Tax Titles: We have cleared title to several properties acquired through defective bank foreclosures, or properties that were auctioned by municipalities for non-payment of property taxes. In some cases, these titles are not “marketable” under the applicable title standards. We have cured such problems by tracking down missing documents for recording, locating prior owners, or even bringing court actions to nullify the defects or “quiet title” to the properties.
Boundary line agreements: Some boundary disputes can be resolved in a cost-effective manner by working with the other party to establish clear boundary lines that will be binding on future owners. We have experience in drafting and negotiating such agreements to protect our clients' interests.
Land Use Matters:
We assist clients in land use and permitting proceedings, appearing before local planning boards to promote or oppose projects. Examples include the following:
Zone change: Permits obtained to construct a Walgreens pharmacy and credit union building at a busy downtown corner in the City of Sanford, requiring special zone change.
Waterfront permitting: Municipal and state approvals obtained for reconstruction of an oceanfront hotel building reconstructed after fire.
We routinely represent clients in the drafting and negotiation of purchase agreements. These include residences, raw land, commercial properties, and real estate sold in connection with the sale of as business. Examples include the following:
Franchise: We represent and have represented businesses in the purchase and development of multiple locations for franchised sandwich and coffee shops.
Financing / Commercial Title Work: We routinely represent clients in the formation of a companies, including those to build and operate a nationally franchised hotel, together with title research and multi-million-dollar financing for construction.
If you have an important real estate transaction in your future, your best first call is to us at (207) 324-4422. Call today. Someone can assist you right away.
Real Estate Litigation:
Bourque Clegg Causey & Morin has significant experience in real estate litigation, representing plaintiffs and defendants in disputes over land. We start our cases with extensive research to advise our clients on the most cost-effective manner in which to proceed in court. We are also skilled at identifying events or claims that trigger title insurance policies or even homeowner insurance policies, which may sometimes offer a source of recovery of fees or damages. Real estate litigation can involve many different claims, such as boundary disputes, adverse possession, easements, right of ways, or trespass and nuisances. We have succeeded in Maine courts (including jury trials) litigating these claims. Examples include the following:
Lawsuit over boundaries for beach house: We represented a client in three days of trial before jury, which included a successful cross-examination of opponent's expert witness surveyor. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for the client, awarding the client the disputed property claimed by a neighboring corporation. As a result of this decision, the client forced the removal a fence that had obstructed the client's view of the ocean for four years.
Lawsuit over encroachments: We represented clients in two days of trial before a judge, to force their neighbor to remove numerous encroachments. We were opposed by a defendant who had resources to litigate vigorously as a result of a title insurance policy. In fact, the defendant countersued and claimed ownership of a significant portion of our client's property. After two days of trial and a judge visit to the property, the Court ruled for the plaintiffs and ordered the encroachments removed.
Lawsuit over beach rights and neighborhood dock: We represented 18 upland lot owners seeking access to Sebago Lake, in a lawsuit against two defendants owning waterfront property. We obtained a partial “summary judgment” order for clients, which led to judge-brokered settlement. All clients obtained deeded access over a right of way to Sebago Lake, an easement over a section of beach and right to maintain a neighborhood dock.
Defending right of way claims: We defended a landowner who was sued by neighbors seeking to use a right of way that was allegedly created by previous owners 50 years earlier. We successfully proved that the document recorded in the York County Registry of Deeds did not create a valid right of way. We obtained a summary judgment in favor of our client, which allowed the court to rule in our favor without holding a trial.
If you have a real estate dispute or have been sued over real estate or land use, your best first call is to us at (207) 324-4422. Call today. Someone can assist you right away.