For more information, visit MICHIE.com, a search tool for the Maryland Rules of Civil Proc. and Maryland Annotated Code.
Real estate law deals with real estate, or real property.
This encompasses anything permanently affixed to land, such as buildings, fences, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, or other items that would be personal property if not attached. Elements found beneath the land (such as gas, oil, minerals) are also considered permanently attached and are included in the definition of real property.
A wide body of federal statutes and state statutory and common law governs real estate transactions.
Attorneys and/or real estate brokers are employed at the behest of the seller in order to obtain a buyer for their property (this refers to the concept of agency). The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in real estate transactions on account of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Real estate brokers are specifically prohibited from discriminating by the act.
The agreement to sell between a buyer and seller of real estate is governed by the general principles of contract law.
The Statute of Frauds requires that contracts for real property be in writing. It is commonly required in real estate contracts convey good and marketable title to property. This requires that the seller have proof of title to all the property he or she is selling and that third parties not have undisclosed interests in the title. Title insurance companies or attorneys are usually employed by the buyer to investigate whether the title is, indeed, marketable. Title insurance companies also insure the buyer against losses caused by the title being invalid.
In order to pass title, a deed with a proper description of the land must be executed and delivered. Maryland requires that the deed be officially recorded to establish ownership of the property (recordation also provides subsequent purchasers of the transfer of real property).