Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P.

Serving Story County and Central Iowa since 1906

323 6th St.
Ames, IA 50010-0664

Phone: (515) 232-4732

REAL ESTATE :: Back to Practice Areas

I. Brokers
II. Contracts and Transfers
III. Mortgages and Foreclosure
IV. Deeds
V. Home Inspection
VI. Closing
VII. Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions

See also:

Contracts and Transfers

Real estate purchase agreements are governed by contract law. To be enforceable, these agreements must, therefore:

  • Be in writing.
  • Be reasonably definite as to what is being sold, the price, dates of closing and possession, and other important terms.
  • Be supported by consideration, i.e., earnest money.

Once the parties agree on the terms and the contract is signed, the next phase in the process is usually contingency fulfillment.  In other words, the buyer and seller fulfill their respective promises that lead up to and are contingent on their final completion of the deal.  For example, the buyer will nail down financing and, in Iowa, the seller will have the necessary title searches performed.

The title search is he process of examining the public records.  In Iowa, it is typically the seller's obligation to provide an abstract of title demonstrating that the title to the property is marketable by law and under the Iowa Bar Association's Iowa Land Title Standards.  The abstract of title is a summary of all material public records on file that affect the marketability and use of the real estate.  The abstract will be prepared by a professional (the abstractor), who certifies that the abstract is an accurate summary.  This process also exists in other states, but the professional is employed by a title company.

The title search is then examined.  In Iowa, this is typically done by the buyer's attorney.  In many other places in the United States, this is done in-house by the title company or an underwriter for a title insurer.  In either instance, the goal is supposed to be to report on what must be done to give the buyer a good, clean, marketable title to the property.

Iowa boasts having the cleanest titles in the nation because of the attorney examination system.  In other parts of the country, the buyer receives an insurance policy with the deed purporting to insure against defects of title.  Rather than fixing problems, it is easy to "insure over" the defect and hope that it does not blossom into a big problem.

To complete a land transaction, the seller is required to execute and deliver a deed that includes a legal description of the land. The deed be be delivered to the buyer when the agreed price is paid and all the promises in the purchase agreement are fulfilled.  The deed is then recorded with the county recorder to show the transfer ownership.  After delivery, there is frequently a final title search to verify that the Seller has not incurred any intervening liens and to confirm the buyer's good title and any liens for new mortgage loan financing.

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Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., is an Iowa general practice law firm with practice including, but not limited to  Administrative Law, Adoption Law, Agricultural Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking Law, Business Law (including business organization, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), incorporations, and sales of businesses and business assets), Civil Rights, Commercial Law, Construction Law, Corporate Law, Criminal Defense, Elder Law, Employment Law, Family Law (including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support, child custody, dissolution modification), Government, Government Contracts, Litigation, Personal Injury (including Motor Vehicle Accidents and Wrongful Death), Product Liability, Professional Negligence Law, Real Estate (including mortgage loan closings, IRC Section 1031 exchanges, subdivisions, platting, condominiums, and cooperative housing), Municipal Law, Taxation Law and Tax Preparation, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate Law (including financial and medical powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships, trust administration, and estate administration), Workers Compensation, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

The offices of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., are located in Ames, Iowa. The lawyers and staff of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., serve clients throughout Iowa, including the cities of Ames, Nevada, Gilbert, Huxley, Slater, Zearing, Story City, Roland, McCallsburg, Colo, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Marshalltown, Boone, Webster City, Eldora, Grundy Center, Newton, Adel, Eldora, Ankeny, Johnston, Indianola, Cedar Falls, Jefferson, Marshalltown, Clarion, Knoxville, and the communities that make up Story, Polk, Linn, Webster, Blackhawk, Marshall, Boone, Hamilton, Jasper, Dallas, Hardin, Warren, Greene, Wright, and Marion counties.