Real Estate Syllabus for Legal Studies and Paralegal Students

This is a model syllabus for a Real Estate Law course for undergraduate legal studies or paralegal students. 

  1. Introduction to Real Property
    1. Real Estate and Personal Property
           CALI Lesson:  Distinction Between Real Property and Personal Property (PPL13)
    2. Nature of Real Property
      1. Land
      2. Fixtures
      3. Air-rights
      4. Sub-surface rights
  2. Types of interests in Real Property
    1. Freehold Estates
           CALI Lesson:  Fee Simple Absolute (PPL14)
    2. Concurrent Ownership     
      1. Tenants by the entireties
             CALI Lesson: Tenancy by the Entirety (PPL24)
      2. Joint tenants with the right of survivorship
             CALI Lesson: Joint Tenancy (PPL21)
      3. Tenants in common
             CALI Lesson: Tenancy in Common (PPL12)
    3. Leasehold
           CALI Lesson: Landlord and Tenant: An Introductory Lesson (PPL23)
    4. Dower/Courtesy
    5. Partition
           CALI Lesson: Relations Between Co-Tenants (PPL29)
  3. Methods of acquiring ownership
    1. Inheritance
    2. Gift
           CALI Lesson: Gifts I: Inter Vivos Gifts (PPL25)
           CALI Lesson: Gifts II: Testamentary Gifts, Causa Mortis Gifts and Gifts of Future Interests (PPL31)
    3. Contract & Sale
    4. Adverse Possession
           CALI Lesson: Adverse Possession: An Introductory Lesson (PPL15)
           CALI Lesson: Color of Title and Constructive Adverse Possession (PPL22)
           CALI Lesson: Continuous and Exclusive Possession for the Statutory Period (PPL20)
           CALI Lesson: Hostile Possession or Possession Under Claim of Right (PPL10)
           CALI Lesson: Open and Notorious Possession (PPL11)
           CALI Lesson: Adverse Possession: Related Doctrines (PPL46)
           CALI Lesson: Review Questions (PPL32)
  4. Leasing
    1. Residential
    2. Commercial
      1. Nature of a lease
      2. How leases affect sale and vice-versa
      3. Tenants rights/Landlords rights
  5. Public Control over Land Use
    1. Zoning
    2. Building Codes
    3. Subdivision Restrictions
    4. Eminent Domain
           CALI Lesson: Landlord and Tenant: Constructive Eviction (PPL53)
    5. Environmental Protections
  6. Easements, Rights-of Way and affect on the use of real estate
         CALI Lesson: Easements Defined (PPL16)
         CALI Lesson: (Easements Implied from Prior Existing Use (PPL38)
    1. Creation
    2. Termination
    3. Licenses
           CALI Lesson: Licenses Contrasted: Easements by Estoppel (PPL48)
  7. Contracts/Agreements for Sale
    1. Agent Relationship with the Seller
    2. Listing Agreements
      1. Open listing
      2. Exclusive listing
    3. Pre-qualifying potential buyers
    4. Negotiations
    5. Inclusions/Exclusions
    6. Contingencies
      1. Financing
             CALI Lesson: Financing Real Estate Transactions: A Basic Introduction (PPL45)
      2. Sale of another residence
    7. Time is of the Essence (Deadlines)
    8. Regulation of the Broker
    9. Zoning Laws
    10. Obligations of the Seller/Buyer
    11. Breach remedies
           CALI Lesson: Contract for Purchase and Sale 2: Remedies and the Merger Doctrine (PPL51)
      1. Monetary damages
             CALI Lesson: Contract for Purchase and Sale 1: Formation and Terms (PPL43)
      2. Specific performance
      3. Liquidated damages
    12. Valid agreement, execution
    13. Addendums/Riders
      1. Radon testing
      2. Termite Inspections
  8. Financing of Real Estate
         CALI Lesson: Financing Real Estate Transactions: A Basic Introduction (PPL45)
    1. Application
      1. In-person
      2. On-line
      3. Mail, telephone, fax machines use
    2. Credit Reports
    3. Appraisals
    4. Surveys
    5. Types of Loans
      1. Conventional
      2. FHA, VA
      3. Secondary loans
    6. Escrow Accounts
    7. Repayment methods
      1. Promissory notes
      2. Mortgages
      3. Up-front points
      4. Amortization
      5. Federal Truth-in-Lending
      6. Interest rates
        1. Fixed rate
        2. Adjustable rate
        3. Graduated payment
        4. Balloon payment
  9. Surveys, Legal descriptions, Subdivisions of land
  10. Deeds
         CALI Lesson: Contract for Purchase and Sale 1: Formation and Terms (PPL43)
    1. General Warranty Deed
    2. Limited Warranty (Special) Deed
    3. Fiduciary Deed
    4. Guardian’s Deed
    5. Trustee’s Deed
           CALI Lesson: Financing Real Estate Transactions: A Basic Introduction (PPL45)
    6. Sheriff’s Deed
    7. Tax Claim Bureau Deed
    8. Corporation Deed
    9. Corrective Deeds
      1. Missing signatures of persons who have interest in the real estate
      2. Errors in legal descriptions
      3. Errors in original signatures, middle names, etc.
  11. Drafting of Deeds in Class / Deed Preparation
    1. Spousal joinder
    2. Type of ownership that client requests
    3. Use of aliases
    4. Preparing the signature lines
    5. Environmental clauses
    6. “Subject to” clauses
    7. Consideration
    8. Acknowledgment
    9. Preparing the certificate of residence
  12. Title Examinations
         CALI Lesson: Recording Acts (PPL09)
    1. Skills required to research titles
    2. Chains of title
      1. Reading legal description(determine accuracy)
      2. Checking signatures and proper acknowledgments
      3. Decedent’s estates
        1. Inheritance taxes
        2. Renunciations of heirs
        3. Appointment of Executor/Executrix/Admr.
        4. Discharge of duties
    3. Liens that affect title to real estate
      1. Mortgages
      2. Judgments
      3. Municipal Liens
      4. Real Estate Taxes
      5. Federal and State Tax Liens
      6. Child Support Delinquencies
    4. Rights-of-Way/Easements affect
    5. Restrictions/Covenants
    6. Divorce affect of title and liens
    7. Reporting findings to Attorney/Employer
  13. New Construction
    1. Mechanic’s Lien Waiver
    2. Mechanic’s Lien Claims
    3. Building Lines and other Restrictions
    4. Utility company and other easements affect on location of buildings
    5. Building codes of municipalities
    6. Environmental restrictions on building (i.e.: wetlands)
    7. Use of surveys to determine restricted areas
  14. Condominiums and Planned Communities
         CALI Lesson: Problems in Property Law Series I (PPL01)
    1. Differences and Common Themes
    2. Declarations and Bylaws
    3. Taxing
    4. Drawbacks & Benefits
  15. Investment Real Estate
    1. Commercial v Residential
    2. Benefits & Drawbacks
    3. Oral v Written Leases
    4. Regulation of Landlords
      1. Rent control
      2. Emergency Tenants Protection Acts
      3. Section 8 housing
    5. Summary Proceedings
      1. Hold-over provision
      2. Non-payment of rent
      3. More on landlord/tenant rights
  16. Closing Procedures
    1. RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act)
    2. Preparing a checklist
    3. Commitment Letter
    4. Review of Agreement for Sale
    5. Setting the Closing (settlement) date
    6. Contacting realtors, attorneys, lenders, title insurance
    7. Ordering and reviewing a title search
           CALI Lesson: Recording Acts (PPL09)
    8. Obtaining mortgage and judgment payoffs
    9. Obtaining title insurance
           CALI Lesson: Recording Acts (PPL09)
    10. Gathering information for bank requirements
    11. Reviewing proposed deed for errors or corrections
    12. Preparing the HUD-1
    13. Powers of Attorney
  17. Post Closing matters:  Preparation of a Closing Binder
  18. Mortgage Foreclosures
         CALI Lesson: Financing Real Estate Transactions: A Basic Introduction (PPL45)
    1. Default
    2. Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure
    3. Procedure:
      1. Title search
      2. Affidavits of Service
      3. Sale to highest bidder
      4. Divestiture of liens
      5. Certificate of Sheriff’s Deed
      6. IRS as additional defendant
      7. Bankruptcy affect on Foreclosure Proceedings
      8. Requests for relief from Automatic Stay