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Saint Paul Estate Planning Law Blog

What risks are associated with Minnesota short sale purchases?

The first thing you need to understand is that most real estate transactions come with at least a small amount of risk. Since most buyers in Minnesota are looking for a home rather than an investment, they typically do not recognize all the purchase risks. This is especially the case with short sale purchases.

It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney when you're involved in a real estate transaction -- particularly short sale purchases. This can save you headaches down the road. A consultation with an attorney can protect your finances. However, it is wise to learn a little about short sales on your own as well. Below you will find a few of the common risks associated with buying a short sale property.

  • Sold as-is: Beware of this term because it may indicate that the property you wish to buy likely has some serious issues.
  • Lengthy process: Do not be fooled by the term "short sale" because these types of real estate transactions typically take quite a while to complete.
  • Closing costs: Unlike traditional real estate transactions, short sales may mean more closing costs for the buyer.
  • Last-minute renegotiations: A lender might interrupt your plans to take possession of the property by exercising their right to renegotiate, which could mean a change in the terms of your contract.

Have you taken steps to protect your company's trade secrets?

An often-overlooked area of business and commercial law involves setting up protections for your company's intellectual property. Trade secrets, in particular, are vulnerable to theft because they can give other commercial businesses a leg up in the world of commerce. Since most business owners work very hard to develop intellectual property, it makes sense to do all you can to protect your secrets.

An excellent first step in protecting your trade secrets is engaging an attorney familiar with Minnesota business and commercial law. Together, you can create effective strategies that will keep your company property safe. In the meantime, you can begin learning how to put protections in place on your own. The following tips can help.

  • Identify all of your trade secrets (inventions, designs, processes, etc.)
  • Create a draft of a trade secret protection policy for your staff that your lawyer can review later
  • Take steps to train and educate your workers about your privacy policies
  • Consider restricting or limiting access to your trade secrets to authorized employees only
  • Ask your lawyer to help you create an effective way to mark your company's trade secrets
  • Keep all of your intellectual property in a secure location, and keep your computer files tightly protected as well
  • Always use caution when you are dealing with third parties that could have an interest in your intellectual property

Getting a mortgage takes more steps than you thought

If you are looking to buy your first home, odds are you do not know how long it's going to take to get a mortgage or how many steps you'll have to take. That's understandable; experience is the best teacher. At the same time, the more you know about the process in advance, the smoother the whole thing will go.

With that in mind, here are a few general steps to get a mortgage and buy your first house:

  1. Make sure your credit score is as high as possible. This means making all payments on time. It may mean reducing debt. If you have a lot of other outstanding debt -- student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc -- lenders may not want to work with you.
  2. Get pre-approved. You don't even have to find a house. You just get pre-approved for the amount that the lender would be willing to give you. This helps you start shopping in that price range. Please note that it is not final approval.
  3. Find the home and make an offer. You can do this with your pre-approval letter. If the offer is accepted, that means the home is yours as long as the contingencies are met.
  4. Get approved. This typically takes far longer than a pre-approval. Once the lender really has to give you that money, they take a close look at your finances and then come back with the rates and terms of the loan.
  5. Close on the house. After this, you own the property and start paying that mortgage back.

The advantages of buying a franchise

Running a successful business is part of the American dream for many people. Would-be business owners have many decisions to make before they ever open their doors to the public.

One such decision involves choosing between a brand new startup or buying into an existing franchise. In commercial real estate and business transactions, each choice comes with risks but also holds the potential for success.

What are some pros and cons of forming a corporation?

One of the first decisions you will make during business formation and planning is choosing a structure for your enterprise. Common business structures include Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnerships and corporations. This post will discuss corporations so that you can get a head start on learning about business structures.

As you might expect, all business structures have advantages and disadvantages. During the early stages of business formation and planning, it is up to you to weigh these factors and to make the choice that meets your needs.

Business and commercial law: Handling conflicts in the workplace

Workplace conflicts can result in many problems within a business or commercial establishment in Minnesota. They can reduce productivity, create a hostile work environment and may even lead to legal problems for you, the business owner.

As business and commercial law attorneys, we understand how sensitive these matters can be. Whether the problem is between employees or between you and members of your staff, work disputes have a way of interrupting a once peaceful work environment. How you handle such conflict can make a significant difference in how your workers feel about their jobs.

Watch out for scams when making real estate transactions

Scams, schemes and swindles are everywhere in the 21st century. Nefarious individuals and unethical organizations may lurk in the shadows of nearly all actions involving a transfer of funds. Real estate transactions may be particularly vulnerable to fraudulent activities because of the high dollar amounts involved with such transactions.

Our lawyers are not just legal professionals. We are also members of the Ramsey community with an interest in protecting our neighbors from mortgage closing and other real estate scams.

Older Minnesota residents should beware of reverse mortgage scams

What is a reverse mortgage? It is a financial arrangement in which homeowners (usually older people) give up their home's equity in exchange for regular payouts. Older residents in Minnesota may choose a reverse mortgage in order to supplement their retirement income.

If you're considering a reverse mortgage, it's essential to be aware of some common reverse mortgage scams. Let's look at three of these and ways that you can keep from becoming a victim of one of them -- or having a loved one become a victim.

Lawyer-approved tips for starting a business quickly and legally

The first thing we want to do is to put a little disclaimer here about our use of the word "quickly" in the post title. Our intent here is not to encourage you to rush or hurry when creating a new business. Instead, we want to focus on creating a way to make the process a little faster for you and other Minnesota entrepreneurs. As you might expect, planning and preparation are the two major keys in expediting your efforts.

One thing that commonly delays a new business is failing to consider legal necessities in the planning and preparation stage. As business and commercial law attorneys, we can offer you guidance in this area. It is always best to seek legal counsel before you begin planning. However, the following list will provide you with several points that you can think about before your attorney consultation.

  • Choose a structure for your business (LLC, partnership, etc.)
  • Learn which permits, registrations and licenses you may need to acquire
  • Research your business tax requirements
  • Take steps to protect intellectual property such as logos, trademarks, etc.
  • If you have employees, learn about workers' compensation requirements
  • Create a handbook for your business that includes privacy policies
  • Develop an accurate method of bookkeeping

Guidance when investing your money in commercial real estate

In our blog, we discuss many different kinds of business and real estate matters to help entrepreneurs create a solid commercial enterprise. As such, we understand that investing one's available funds is often a business all by itself. Investing in commercial real estate is a great way to earn money and to build security for your future, but it is certainly not without risk.

Those who wish to start investing in Minnesota-based commercial property will benefit from strong legal guidance. Discussing your goals and your finances with an attorney is an excellent way to get started when it comes to investing. The following list contains several examples of commercial real estate that offers good income potential for investors.