How did you get started in this field? What inspired you to specialize in real estate law? 

In undergrad, my brother-in-law had a practice here, and he told me I could work with him as long as I learned something he didn’t do. I was the same age as Eli Manning, and he was a catalyst for the Oxford real estate market. I thought I’d give it a whirl. Also, I knew, without a doubt, I didn’t want to be in the courtroom on a daily basis, and I love just talking to people and making connections.  I feel like I’m helping folks with one of their bigger investments. 

Can you tell us about your background and experience as a real estate attorney? 

I clerked for a law firm while in law school, and I got my first taste of it in 2004.  Upon graduation, Charles Walker and Bill McKenzie were two of the most reputable real estate attorneys in our area.  I did anything to get in front of them and pick their brains.  They were a vital part of learning real estate law for me.  I give back now to aspiring real estate lawyers because of Charles and Bill’s generosity and willingness to help a young attorney.  I’ve been doing closings for 18 years now and have done around 17K closings.  

What are the most common legal issues clients come to you for assistance with in real estate transactions? 

We encounter many issues where someone is trying to sell land they inherited, but there’s been no probate or estate opened to document the transfer of the property to the heir or devisee. Others may have issues where property legal descriptions overlap or there are encroachments fixtures such as driveways or parts of houses, located on adjacent properties.

Can you walk us through the typical process of buying or selling a property from a legal perspective? 

We typically get involved after a contract is signed between a buyer and a seller. We run a 32-year search on the Chancery Clerk land records to determine who the owner is and what liens, if any, are attached to the property. We prepare a report for the buyer or lender and then assist the seller in making sure that any lien or mortgage that exists on the property they are selling gets paid off at closing. We also act as a fiduciary agent between the buyer and seller to handle the transfer of proceeds for the sale.

What are some important legal considerations for individuals or businesses investing in real estate? 

You want to ensure that the property has a marketable title and that no liens are attached to it when you buy it. You also want to make sure that you have access to the property from a public road—it doesn’t do much good to have a piece of property that you can’t access. Lastly, ensure the property is zoned for your intended use.

Why McKenzie Little?

What sets us apart is two of the most experienced real estate attorneys in town with several of the most experienced real estate closing managers in town.  Our experience and volume of closings is unmatched, and we have two conference rooms so we can do multiple closings at a time.