Category Archives: Blogroll

Special Use Appraisals

The Special Use Property Appraisal (With insertions of opinion as to the appraisal of a religious property) The California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers Practice Act defines an appraisal the act or process of developing an opinion of value for real property, and does not include an opinion given by a real estate licensee or engineer or land surveyor in the ordinary course of his or her business. The standards used within the appraisal profession are set forth in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) which were developed […]

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Solar Panels

Solar Panels and the Church Solar panels on church roofs are becoming more and more popular. For starters, the electricity bill at any given church can be astronomical, especially in the summer. Churches are often looking to cut cost in order to be good stewards of their property and finances. Saving money, and possibly profiting from solar panels may be a good alternative, but there are always risk involved. Cost: Always of primary concern, one must consider the cost of taking advantage of a large roof area in order to […]

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Conditional Use Permits

Conditional Use Permits As with most things in real estate, especially when dealing with Special Use Property, it all comes down to highest and best use. Both of which have their roots in the zoning ordinances. In other words, what uses are permitted on the property. Sometimes a Special Use property is permitted by right, or “Grandfathered”. Other times, a Conditional Use Permit is required. Although a permit sounds simple enough, don’t let the name fool you. A Conditional Use Permit can be a long and expensive process with no […]

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What is Escrow?

The Escrow Process There often seems to be some confusion as to what and Escrow is and how it functions in regard to the sale of a property. What follows is a brief description of the Escrow Process and how it works. In short, an Escrow is the process in which a Buyer and Seller use a neutral third party for the delivery, safekeeping, and disbursement of documents, and funds. This third-party intermediary acts under agreed written instructions from both parties (not just one party), and will not act until […]

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Holding Title to Real Property

Title in Real Property The purpose of this article is to make you aware of the many different ways in title in real property may be held or vested. Although there are many different means in which one can have an interest in land, such as Fee (Simple, Absolute, Determinable), Life Estate, or Future Interest, I will try not to bore with such, yet alone the Rule Against Perpetuities. Title to real property in California may be held by individuals, either in Sole Ownership or by more than one party. […]

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What Defines a Church?

Defining a Church? What is a Church? Recently, a potential buyer approached a City Planner asking what their Temple could and could not do on a particular piece of property. A disagreement arose between them as the person at the City kept referring to Church use, while the interested party kept trying to correct them in stating that they were not a Church, but a Temple. The question arose as to what is a church and how does it affect property use? The dictionary doesn’t help much when it defines […]

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Eminent Domain and the taking of property

Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation Eminent Domain is generally referred to as the taking of real property (real estate) by a governmental agency for the benefit of the public with just compensation. Often is referred to as Condemnation. Taking: Eminent Domain is the actual taking, usually permanently, and is the government’s removal of physical possession of real property from the owner. However, even where the government agency does not physically take possession of the land, it may have placed such restrictions upon its use so as to constitute a temporary […]

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Wills and Trust

Wills and Trust Wills and Trust are often a topic of discussion. In particular, what is the difference and which should I have? The following is a brief explanation of the difference between a Will, and a Trust. First and foremost, State rather than Federal law governs what happens to your property upon your death. Upon one’s death, you may hear the word probate, but not know what that means. Probate is the process of administering one’s estate, with or without a will. The purpose of probate is to: 1) […]

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Premises/Trespasser Liability

Premises/Trespasser Liability Considering the current trend, trespass on church property has been steadily increasing. Whether your church is accepting of those individuals or not, there are a few things you need to know regarding your liability. First and foremost, your church has the legal duty to implement and maintain measures which reduce the foreseeable risk of harm that may come to others; trespassers or otherwise. Liability: When someone suffers and injury, regardless of whether they are a tenant, contractor, church member, visitor, or trespasser, your church may be liable. Although […]

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How Zoning Code Effects Church Property Use

Municipalities establish a General Plan which contains the overall land use scheme by restricting some areas to particular usages. These governmental actions must not be arbitrary, capacious (unreasonable) or vague. Zoning regulations, or codes, must be reasonable and bear a rational relationship to the objectives of the city, while taking affirmative measures to provide housing for all. Municipalities have been given reasonable control over the private use of land from the state through enabling statutes for the protection of the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of its citizens. Legal […]

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