Jim Valentine: Grab bag of real estate oddities
December 3, 2018
Real estate has many niches, nuances and subtleties that aren't well known but can have an impact on your transaction. Most don't warrant an article unto themselves, but we thought it appropriate to pass a few along for your protection and, in some cases, for that of your agent.
Nevada's tenant laws are lenient for owners compared to what is experienced in other states or locales. There are some things that have crept into the law that can impact you, whether a tenant, property owner or buyer. If a tenant is at 60 years old or older or they have disabilities, they can get an automatic 30-day extension if they're not able to vacate in the typical 30-day notice to vacate period. If they need 60 days, your offer with a 30- to 45-day escrow with occupancy at the close of escrow might need modification.
If you find yourself in a situation such as described above, it is advisable that you use the Justice of the Peace to deliver the notice to vacate so that there is little room for the timing to be contested. We know agents who have had tenants abuse the situation, not cooperate and stretch out their vacating of the property to 90 days.
If you are considering making an offer on a property that is subject to a probate sale, do it. You will control your destiny better as the first competitive bid in the court hearing must be 5 percent of the offer price up to $100,000 and $5,000 above that. You, therefore, have a built in cushion, but there is also the opportunity to show your agent your appreciation for his efforts. If your offer is the first accepted and you are overbid at the hearing, your agent is allowed by statute to receive half of the selling commission that he would have received as he is recognized as a procuring cause to a limited degree — a good way to help your agent while advancing your own interests.
Water rights in Nevada are considered real property, which allows you to sell real estate and do a 1031 exchange for water, or vice versa. An obscure caveat, it is against the law to speculate on water in Nevada. When buying water as an investment, which many do, it could be considered speculation, but we've not heard of such litigation for the general practice of buying and selling water. This can be a good tool for you, especially if selling water rights.
River bottoms in Nevada are owned by the state of Nevada per the Nevada Constitution. On navigable streams, the public can traverse up to the highwater mark. If you have river front property be aware of what you can and cannot do to protect your privacy. Also, keep in mind, that if the river bisects your property you have two parcels even if there is but one legal description of assessor's parcel number. It is the same as if a public roadway goes through your property; you actually own two properties in that case as well. This knowledge can be helpful to someone looking to buy a property for a family "compound" that otherwise couldn't be split.
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Our advice: Real estate is a series of problems that need solving. That is the role of the agent. If it was easy, you wouldn't need an agent. Understand that there are many nuances, cracks and crevices that can impact your transaction and your personal harmony. A good agent can help foresee problems and, if the unexpected happens, help you through the problem-solving process with proper perspective and mindset. It is important that you understand the best way for you to meet your objectives given your circumstances and those of the market and property you own or have selected to purchase.
Be clear on your objectives, i.e. occupancy timeframe, and ask a lot of questions about how you will get there. Your agent should be able to answer them to your satisfaction and navigate you to a successful closing. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless!