As a boutique firm, we do what owners, lenders, investors and corporations cannot do for themselves. Here are a few of the highlights of our recent cases:
- Avoiding Liability: Our client, an investor without much real estate experience, bought three unfinished houses from a bank. We traveled to South OC to inspect the homes that were under construction. We put together a FMV by contacting local area brokers, then solicited local general contractors specializing in new construction who submitted bids to complete each home. We counseled our client that it was in his best interest not to be listed as the owner/contractor in the sales transaction, because of the tremendous ongoing liability when you are the seller/builder. With some expert negotiation, we sold all three houses to the general contractors, saving our client from any warranty or product liability issues.
- Helping a Family in Disagreement Leon Owens and Cienega acted as a court appointed Partition Referee to obtain an MAI appraisals for (6) apartment houses, owned by several families. (MAI Reports are the value basis of Heirs claims to own, sell or other hypothecation in their dispute of inherited assets.) From the MAI the parties, with the help of the court, can work toward a resolution. The most important trait in acting in this capacity is the ability to successfully and diplomatically work with people…plain and simple. Communication and people skills is what is called for when working in these situations, especially with families in disagreement. In this case, two appraisers were involved, each hired by separate family groups. After cancelling one appraiser, and hiring a new one, the reports were furnished to the parties and they elected to settle. While it seemed simple, our work helped several non-cooperative families avoid lengthy and costly litigation.
- Loss of Zoning: Our client owns approximately 1.4 acres of adjacent vacant land in South LA for over 20 years. Half of the land is developed. The other half of the land got down-zoned without the owner’s knowledge. When the client went to sell as Industrial land he found out it was re-zoned as C-1, commercial. We met with civil engineers, the City of LA Planning Department, as well as neighbor property owners. We put a package together to submit to the City. The outcome is pending, however, we are hopeful the zoning will be returned to its original designation.