Law Office of Joseph M West, PC

Law Office of Joseph M West, PC I represent individuals and businesses in real estate and business transactions and lawsuits throughout southeast Michigan.
(1)

04/13/2018

Spring has sprung, and the Washtenaw County real estate market is booming, on both the residential side and the commercial side! I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to help so many investors / developers purchase land and buildings and families buy and sell their homes. Today, I received two handwritten cards in the mail, which is just the best. One client said, "Thank you for your services as we purchased our new home. We feel you went above and beyond for us, and we truly appreciate that. Many thanks!" The other client said, "Thanks again for all your hard work. We really appreciate your assistance in helping us through the process and making it as stress free as possible. Thanks!" Guys, thank YOU for the opportunity to assist! If you or anyone you know needs real estate representation, give me a call at (734) 975-1300 or email me at [email protected]. Now get out there and enjoy this awesome weather!

11/21/2017

Buyers of leased / investment properties, heads up! Several times in the last month, I have been brought in as counsel for buyers of homes / duplexes / groups of homes with tenants in place. Buyers are purchasing as investment properties or with plans to renovate and inhabit the homes once leases expire. Well meaning folks have been handling their transactions as routine residential purchases, but guys, these purchases are anything but routine residential purchases!

Special care must be taken when buying rental properties. These transactions are all, like it or not, commercial transactions, with buyers inheriting leasehold and economic relationships (with any and all of their warts, disputes, and defaults). Buyers can and should demand basic things like tenant estoppel letters, rent rolls, security deposit accountings, and the like as part of their due diligence. Also, buyers that are new landlords must gain an understanding of the state and local laws that apply to their landlord-tenant relationships.

There are many other factors that must be considered where buyers plan to hold the property in an LLC, including proper formation of the LLC to establish and maintain liability protection, not jeopardizing financing with after-the-fact conveyances to LLCs, and the like. All of these issues can be navigated with enough lead time, but buyers, please keep in mind that these are not routine residential purchases.

If you have plans to buy a leased property or investment propety, build a team on your side including a lender, realtor, and attorney who know these types of transactions, and know how to protect you and avoid disasters. Call me with any questions: (734) 975-1300!

As a follow up to my post from earlier this year dealing with wire fraud in real estate transactions, this horrible scen...
11/15/2017
Wired Away: Couple loses life savings during home purchase

As a follow up to my post from earlier this year dealing with wire fraud in real estate transactions, this horrible scenario is still playing out every day around the country. Excited real estate buyers get email with wire information and wire their closing funds to the title company, but the instructions they received and utilized are actually directing the money to some fraudster's account. Real estate buyer shows up at closing and title company asks where is the money. Life savings, gone. Brutal. Guys, this is real, and it is happening to real buyers, residential and commercial, day in and day out. The lesson: DO NOT WIRE MONEY USING WIRE INSTRUCTIONS RECEIVED BY UNSECURED EMAIL--REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY APPEAR TO BE FROM. If you are not sure, call the title company directly using a phone number pulled from a reliable source (read: not from the unsecured email with wire instructions) and call to confirm. Be careful out there, folks! http://abc7chicago.com/realestate/wired-away-couple-loses-life-savings-during-home-purchase/2630496/

The I-Team has a warning after a local couple's life savings vanished. They lost more than $300,000 during the purchase of their dream home in a scam that could happen to anyone.

Yesterday I was honored to co-present at a seminar on residential real estate transactions, along with John Erdevig, my ...
11/02/2017

Yesterday I was honored to co-present at a seminar on residential real estate transactions, along with John Erdevig, my fellow co-chair of the Washtenaw County Bar Association Real Estate Section. It was a crash course, with so much material to get to within an hour, but it was a good "first look" at these transactions for those that attended. Thank you, WCBA, for the opportunity to present!

Our New Lawyers, Real Estate & Solo/Small Firm Sections sponsored a joint meeting titled "Residential Real Estate Transactions 101." John Erdevig and Joseph West presented on the topic to an audience of 20+ attorneys.

05/25/2017

There is no greater compliment, in my business law practice, than being asked to prepare a custom agreement for a client in a unique line of business, going deep to learn the business, anticipating the likely issues and problems, and delivering a polished 7-page finished product, only to have the client comment that the finished product is "incredible!" I am so fortunate to represent clients across a wide (and ever widening!) spectrum of businesses, helping to anticipate and overcome problems and properly structure their business relationships. I am, for lack of a better term, a total nerd for this stuff. If you or anyone you know needs a custom agreement for use in business, please give me a call! (734) 975-1300.

Here's an interesting, albeit somewhat disheartening, article about land contracts as a mechanism to achieve home owners...
05/22/2017
Loose regulations make land contracts a tool to exploit low-income homeowners

Here's an interesting, albeit somewhat disheartening, article about land contracts as a mechanism to achieve home ownership. Land contracts are great in certain situations, but like many aspects of real estate transactions, parties need to be cautious. A real estate attorney can help to ensure that pitfalls are spotted and avoided. If you are considering a land contract transaction--either as buyer or seller--don't hesitate to give me a call to discuss the process and how I can help. (734) 975-1300. http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170521/NEWS/170529985/loose-regulations-make-land-contracts-a-tool-to-exploit-low-income?X-IgnoreUserAgent=1&X-IgnoreUserAgent=1

Predatory land contracts are blamed for costing generations of African-Americans their homes and family wealth in Detroit from the 1940s to early 1970s. Now, activists fear history is repeating.

I am honored to have been invited to present tonight in Ann Arbor to a meeting of the Women Business Owners of Southeast...
05/10/2017

I am honored to have been invited to present tonight in Ann Arbor to a meeting of the Women Business Owners of Southeastern Michigan. Together with two accounting folks, we had a great conversation about identifying and avoiding legal and tax problems, fielding questions and talking strategy regarding business organization, contract principles, service contracts and terms and conditions, liability waivers, and the like. There was a lot of substance, and a healthy dose of laughs for good measure. The venue, Go Where Meetings Matter, was stellar. I am so grateful for the opportunity!

04/03/2017

Good morning! I am excited to announce that the Law Office of Joseph M. West, P.C. has relocated to 2750 Carpenter Road, Suite 4, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. Contact phone numbers and email remain the same--(734) 975-1300 (phone), (734) 975-1301 (fax), and [email protected]. Thank you!

This Bloomberg article makes an interesting point about the lack of inventory and construction in the small (2-9 units) ...
03/31/2017
America Needs Small Apartment Buildings. Nobody Builds Them

This Bloomberg article makes an interesting point about the lack of inventory and construction in the small (2-9 units) apartment building segment. This may present an opportunity for local investors looking to build and hold for the long-term. As noted in the article, there are some zoning and land use issues to be addressed with these projects, but the long-term demand for lower cost rental housing could end up outweighing those challenges. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-30/america-needs-small-apartment-buildings-nobody-builds-them

Single-family homes and high-rises are all the rage. Meanwhile, the vanishing middle bodes ill for the future.

03/21/2017

At a title insurance seminar I attended today, a wire fraud issue was raised as a warning to clients, attorneys, and industry professionals. In just the last couple weeks, there have been 5+ instances of this general scenario, that has cost consumers >$500,000: title company corresponds with realtors/buyers/mortgage folks by unsecured email (or secured email that is later forwarded in an unsecured fashion); fraudsters obtain closing date and time information from email correspondnece; in the day(s) prior to closing, fraudsters spoof an email from the title company/realtor/mortgage folks containing false wire instructions; unsuspecting recipient of false wire instructions wires money to fraudster's account instead of title company escrow account. The advice was to confirm wire instructions via telephone using a number you have verified is from a reliable source (not, for example, the face of the wire instructions themselves) right as the wire is ready to be sent. Friends, this is serious stuff, and is costing consumers and industry professionals big dollars. Be careful out there!

Good morning, friends!  Today, at long last, a new version of my website went live.  Take a look!  www.josephmwest.com
03/19/2017
Law Office of Joseph M. West, P.C. :: Home

Good morning, friends! Today, at long last, a new version of my website went live. Take a look! www.josephmwest.com

At the Law Office of Joseph M. West, P.C., I work efficiently and effectively on behalf of a diverse group of clients, including large corporations, small and family businesses, and individuals from all walks of life. From my southeast Michigan office, I focus my practice on the areas of business l...

This article in Crains anticipates an uptick in residential building this year, as there is insufficient inventory of mo...
02/20/2017
New housing shows growth as fewer homes ready to sell

This article in Crains anticipates an uptick in residential building this year, as there is insufficient inventory of move-in ready homes in SE Michigan. If you are anticipating building from the ground up or even doing a substantial renovation to an existing home, consider having an attorney review the contract with your builder. The key is to avoid disputes due to uncertainty in the contract, and to get the very important working relationship between homeowner and builder off to a productive start. Let me know if you need help regarding a build or remodel! http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170219/NEWS/170219838/new-housing-shows-growth-as-fewer-homes-ready-to-sell?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Buyers are having an increasingly difficult time finding move-in-ready homes in metro Detroit, helping drive an increase in new homes being built. However, no one should expect the area to come close to the housing boom of the early and mid-2000s.

This is an article that should be read by any homeowners looking to move out of their house/condo into a new place, plan...
02/16/2017
I Was a Landlord. This Is What it Taught me About People.

This is an article that should be read by any homeowners looking to move out of their house/condo into a new place, planning to lease their old one to cover their old mortgage and "make some extra spending money." Being a landlord is not for the faint of heart! Artichoke-blocked toilet? Your problem. Hawk in the attic? Your problem. This arrangement can be successful, of course, but it takes planning, diligence, and a good team. http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/a25120/landlord/

You never know a person until you see how they live.

01/26/2017

Occasionally I am called on to evaluate the meaning of deed restrictions or zoning restrictions on land use, and in some instances, clients have been upset to realize their intended uses of their property were not permitted. This disappointment can be avoided with some work on the front end of the transaction. So, if you have your eye on a home or property and have specific plans for the future (building an outbuilding, operating a home business, putting in a pool or pond, or housing a trio of albino Siberian tigers, for example), it is worth reviewing these matters before you close on the deal to avoid potential litigation or disappointment. Give me a call and I can help with this due diligence (and even the occasional tiger-sitting while you are out of town)... (734) 975-1300.

01/11/2017

An optimistic morning here in Ann Arbor, starting out with an Economic Forecast Breakfast at Weber's with the Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor. I liked what I heard about overall predictors of economic activity and home sales/construction. Hopefully those numbers bear out and we see lots of growth in 2017. For any families looking to buy or build a home in Washtenaw County, and for builders/remodelers looking for legal assistance with contracts or problem situations, please do not hesitate to give me a call to discuss your real estate law needs--(734) 975-1300. On to a bright 2017, my clients and friends!

12/30/2016

Twice recently I have been contacted by potential clients with disputes about the square footage of their homes--mismatches between what was represented to them and what the area turned out to be. How to measure square footage is not a simple matter--some measure from the inside of the walls and others measure from the outside of the structural framing. Is a dispute about square footage grounds for a claim against a seller? The answer is it depends on some details of the relationship between the parties, the nature of the representations that were made, and how the information was relied upon. http://www.realtor.com/videos/video-how-to-calculate-your-home-s-square-footage-it-s-surprisingly-tricky/e85d301e-8604-4336-91bb-033f716d4c0a

Law Office of Joseph M West, PC
12/23/2016

Law Office of Joseph M West, PC

December 2016 Profile Pictures
12/23/2016

December 2016 Profile Pictures

Real property taxes create interesting opportunities in the real estate business—allowing, for example, investors to pur...
12/07/2016
Detroit launches legal attack on delinquent taxpayers

Real property taxes create interesting opportunities in the real estate business—allowing, for example, investors to purchase properties at tax foreclosure sales when the taxes have gone unpaid for a long enough period. I often represent these investors and other property owners with multiple properties purchased and held for commercial purposes, regarding all aspects of their enterprises.

Real property taxes can be a trap for the unwary investor. Often, investors want to let taxes go delinquent again, in order to see how the market develops over time before they continue to sink money into a property. Their thought is that the worst that could happen is the property goes back into tax forfeiture.

Not so! The City of Detroit recently sued more than 500 companies and financial institutions for back real property taxes. Such lawsuits are permitted under MCL 211.47(2) and the associated case law. So, if you own property with back taxes, or especially if you own a business entity that owns a property with back taxes, you should know there is a chance you can get sued by the taxing authority.

If you have this or any other real property law issue, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your options - (734) 975-1300.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/08/31/detroit-launches-legal-attack-delinquent-taxpayers/89682396/

City files dozens of lawsuits in bid to recoup $12.2 million owed by delinquent property taxpayers

11/23/2016

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am so thankful for the opportunity to represent so many great clients in their business and real estate matters so far this year. The subject matter of my work has varied from commercial and residential real estate acquisitions to contract lawsuits to boundary battles to Right-to-Farm disputes to real estate title problems to business formations and representations--the list goes on. The common thread is that my clients have been the most pleasant, supportive bunch of folks a lawyer could ask for. Thank you, clients, for a great 2016!

Shared driveways can be a challenge for property owners.  If you are considering purchasing a home with a shared drivewa...
11/14/2016

Shared driveways can be a challenge for property owners. If you are considering purchasing a home with a shared driveway, be sure to ask for a copy of the shared driveway agreement or shared driveway easement, so you can understand the rights and obligations of the adjacent property owners. If no such agreement or easement exists, proceed with caution! I have represented several property owners in the midst of bitter disputes surrounding shared driveways and easements. Retaining counsel to prepare an agreement or easement can avoid problems or help to eliminate hostilities. And, if it comes to the point of litigation, retaining counsel can help to protect your rights and interests. Do not hesitate to give me a call if you have shared driveways or easement questions--I am a phone call away, (734) 975-1300!

Maintaining a company's identity separate from the identity of the individual owners is an often overlooked issue for ne...
11/07/2016

Maintaining a company's identity separate from the identity of the individual owners is an often overlooked issue for new businesses. Creating an LLC or corporation is a great step toward liability protection, but ongoing thought is required to maintain the company's separate identity. This means keeping clean books without commingling assets with owners or related entities, clearly defining parties in contracts and business arrangements, and the like. An often overlooked aspect of maintaining separate corporate identity is how contracts are signed. It is critical to identify (1) who is bound by the agreement (typically, the company, not the individual), (2) the printed name of the person signing for the party to be bound (typically an owner, officer, or manager), and (3) the capacity of the person signing. Unless the person signing wants to be bound personally, all three of these things should be identified in the signature block. Otherwise (and I have seen parties argue this in lawsuits), the individual may be individually bound, even though the contract was intended to bind the company only. So, when signing contracts for the company, take a careful look, and be sure all three elements are present. If they aren't, or if you are signing on a blank signature line, don't be afraid to handwrite them in!

Address

2750 Carpenter Road, Suite 4
Ann Arbor, MI
48108

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Law Office of Joseph M West, PC posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to Law Office of Joseph M West, PC:

Nearby law practices


Other Lawyers & Law Firms in Ann Arbor

Show All

Comments

If you are looking for an honest, hard working, intelligent attorney..... look no further. Joe West assisted my (this time)with a commercial dispute. With his help and guidance I was able to settle my commercial dispute without litigation. While I wanted to take this to court, Joe was able to provide me with the right guidance and recommendations to avoid having to litigate my case. I would, and have recommended him to my friends and family. As a return client, I have never felt so comfortable and safe with his ability to serve ME.
If you are looking for an honest, hard working attorney..... look no further. Joe West was straight forward, honest, intelligent and hard working attorney. He helped me with a commercial dispute that was settled without litigation. While I wanted to take it to court, Joe was able to explain to me in real life terms what that meant. Needless to say, I recommend him!!! This was not my first time engaging Joe as my attorney. Both times he went above and beyond my expectations.