This page describes the kinds of work we do regularly and some of the more unusual transactions we have structured and documented.
The common thread in our practice is that we are creative, open-minded, cost-effective, and completely non-adversarial; we find a way to make things work, including things that have never been done before.
TICs as Homes and Apartments
- We assist groups of home buyers who are buying 2-6 unit apartment buildings as tenancies in common (TIC). Since 1984, we have worked with more than 3,000 of these TIC groups. During an initial meeting or teleconference, we discuss the key issues one by one and explain the pros and cons of various approaches.
- We assist rental tenants interest in buying their own apartment as a TIC. Sometimes, we help these tenants form a buying group with other building tenants, or with outside buyers who will purchase and occupy other apartments. Other times, the rental tenant buys only the single tenant in common share corresponding with her apartment, and landlord keeps the rest of the building.
- We assist apartment building sellers who want to increase sale proceeds by using tenancy in common conversion to sell apartments as TIC. The tenancy in common conversion approach can be a great solution when local law makes subdivision illegal or very costly. We have represented more than 3,000 owners who have sold in the TIC way, with building sizes ranging from two to 60 units.
- We assist owners of large lots with multiple houses when the parcel cannot be legally subdivided. The individual houses can be marketed as TICs.
- We help owners of vacant or partially developed lots that cannot be subdivided, who sell tenants in common interests to people who will build their own homes.
- We work with real estate professionals interested in preparing properties for marketing TIC ownership opportunities.
- We have created several successful TIC-like structures for non-US properties that cannot be subdivided, including projects in Costa Rica and Belize
- We obtain regulatory approval of TIC offerings (when needed).
- We prepare amended and restated TIC agreements when a group needs to update or supplement its original tenancy in common agreement.
- We assist existing TIC groups when an owner is selling her share, or when the group is refinancing.
- We support tenancy in common owner groups if they have disagreements, by providing review and reconstruction of financial records, agreement review, analysis, advice, and mediation services.
- We work with institutional lenders who are considering starting a TIC fractional and individual lending program, including risk analysis, underwriting protocols, and loan documentation.
Sharing a Primary Residence
- We help groups of friends and family members who want to live together in the same house, farm, compounds, or other types of real estate.
- We advise couples buying a home together, often in situations where one partner is contributing a bigger share of the down payment and/or monthly payment.
- We work with entrepeneurs developing co-housing and shared-home websites, projects and businesses, including student housing, retirement housing, and similar arrangements.
- We advise groups of friends buying a vacation property to share. To date, we have worked with more than 200 vacation home buyer groups. These have ranged in size from 2-8 families, and the properties have been located throughout the world, including in 12 US states, Mexico, Italy, France, Argentina, and Costa Rica.
- We help sellers of individual vacation properties who want to increase their sale price by selling their home in fractional ownership arrangements. To date, we have worked with more than 90 sellers of individual house/condo, of “one-off” fractional offerings. These ownership offerings have been located throughout the world, including in 39 US states, Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Grenada, St. Barts, Nevis, Barbados, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Morocco.
- We assist vacation property owners who want to lower costs, feel they are underusing their vacation home, or are tired of using it as a vacation rental. These owners retain partial ownership along with the right to use the property. We have worked with owners that wanted to have the permanent right to use the vacation house every summer, every winter, or in particular months every year. We have also worked with owners who permanently retain the right to use one of two houses on the property, or a small secondary apartment.
- We consult with buyers who buy their vacation property alone with a plan to immediately sell fractional shares. These buyers know they will not use the property all the time, and want to share the costs of ownership with others.
- We adviselarge and small resort developers throughout the world on their fractional ownership, private residence club, timeshares, quartershare, and destination club offerings. These projects have ranged in size from a single mansion, to 380 separate villas, and included resorts offering ancillary services such as restaurants, casinos, marinas, golf, shopping, and concierge. To date, we have worked with developers on fractional offerings in 18 US states, Mexico, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts, Nevis, Barbados, Costa Rica, Belize, Scotland, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Thailand, and Bali. The following list is intended to give a general sense of the range of our experience, but is not complete:
- Shared second homes and pied-à-terre in Paris and other major cities–we have organized 9 shared ownership groups in Paris alone (the most recent Paris fractional ownership offering (May 2018) sold out in 6 days!);
- Fractionally-owned villas throughout Italy (especially Tuscany), France (especially Provence and the Alps), and other very special European destinations (even a former lighthouse!);
- Large and small shared condominiums, cabins and chalets in mountain resorts (especially, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, Rockies and Wasatch/Salt Lake City);
- Spectacular fractional beachfront bungalows all over Florida, California, Hawaii, Baja California, the Yucatan, and throughout the Caribbean and Central America (including some with yachts, fishing boats, and other watercraft);
- Lakefront properties for fractional ownership in Italy, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and many other places, some of which included boats and other watercraft;
- Group-owned/shared warm-weather getaways for Canadian and other North American owners in Arizona, Florida, Mexico, Costa Rica and hundreds of other locations;
- Private residence clubs in historic mansions in Arkansas, Italy, Morocco, and France;
- Private residence clubs, investment opportunity, and citizenship-by-investment offerings in Nevis, St. Kitts and Grenada;
- Fractional ownership and timeshare offering in a 300+ unit, full service resort and marina in Morocco;
- Residence club and investment opportunity in a seven-villa/hotel project in Bali;
- Fractional ownership and residence club offerings at working ranches with hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming;
- Fractional ownership of fishing lodges in Arkansas, Alaska, and Michigan, and hunting lodges in Utah, Montana and Georgia;
- Fractional ownership in vacation mobile home resorts in Texas;
- Fractional ownership of private island in Nova Scotia; and
- Fractional ownership in properties with working vineyards in California and France.
- We obtain governmental approval for fractional ownership offerings throughout the world, including every US state. Where needed, we work together with local attorney; however, our extensive past experience makes it likely that we will have already had a project in that location.
- We have assisted in a variety of non-real estate fractional ownership arrangements including individual yachts, groups of yachts to be berthed throughout the world, planes, recreational vehicles, exotic sports cars, and motorcycles.
- We have advised numerous fractional ownership business startups including fractional ownership internet marketplaces and brokerages, and fractional ownership crowdfunding platforms. We frequently advise entrepreneurs who are considering entering the fractional ownership business in various capacities.
- We often work with siblings who inherit the family vacation property. We help these groups create a system for managing and maintaining their legacy, funding operating expenses, and resolving usage conflicts, and prepare easy-to-use contracts to provide safety and security.
- We consult with buyers considering private residence club and destination club purchases. We help these clients evaluate and compare various offerings, determine resale potential, identify important issues for due diligence, and understand the legal documents.
- We work with parents who want to help their adult children buy their first home, and children who want to approach their parents for financial support. We help these clients understand and evaluate the practical and tax ramifications of the options available to them, such as shared appreciation loans, equity sharing, gifts, and combinations of these approaches.
- We work with educational institutions such as universities and private secondary schools to create equity sharing programs that allow their faculties and staff to purchase homes near the institution.
- We work with churches and other religious institutions to develop equity sharing programs that allow their clergy to purchase homes in the community.
- We have recently assisted a successful equity sharing startup that allows cities and towns to provide down payment assistance to key employees such as teachers, police, firemen, nurses etc.
- We have worked with several equity sharing startups that wish to offer equity sharing through crowdfunding platforms and/or on an institutional funding.
- In addition to preparing documents, we often help our equity sharing clients determine a fair allocation of the burdens and benefits of ownership, including ownership and appreciation splits.
- We have helped numerous clients develop alternative equity sharing structures to be used by buyers and homeowners looking for an alternative to borrowing, such as options and shared appreciation mortgages.
Homeowners Associations (California Only)
- We help California condominium and planned development HOAs modernize and update older CC&Rs and bylaws. Since 1992, we have rewritten governing documents for more than 700 owners associations, ranging in size from two to over 500 lots or condominiums. Some of the more well-known properties for which we have written CC&Rs and bylaws include Smith Ranch, Northstar Tahoe, Opera Plaza (master and residential), Grammercy Towers, Jackson Towers, Broadway Towers, 333 Bush (residential), Cathedral Hill, Balboa Terrace, Landmark, Eureka Gardens, Parkview Heights, Marina Village, Fulton Grove, San Francisco Grove, Ocean Beach, Montaire, Villa North Beach, Nob Hill Court, Goldmine Hill, Grant Lombard, Divisadero Heights, Courtyard Nob Hill, The Amelia, 1380 Greenwich, 1980 Vallejo, 2450 Vallejo, 2265 Broadway, 1990 Green, 3100 Washington, Red Rock, and 1880 Jackson.
- We help homeowner associations amend their documents when circumstances change or they wish to clarify something not previously mentioned. These amendments can include building additions and decks, new rules, implementing fine/penalty programs, transferring parking and other spaces between units, and merging units.
- We assist homeowners associations if they have disagreements, by providing review and reconstruction of financial records, agreement interpretation, advice, and dispute resolution services.
- We help homeowner association start their operations by obtaining legal status, getting employer identification numbers, opening bank accounts, establishing budgets and dues, obtaining tax exempt status and filing
Condominium Conversion and New Construction Subdivision and (California Only)
- We prepare CC&Rs, bylaws and other governing documents for new construction projects and condominium conversions, and we take these projects through the approval process with the California Department of Real Estate (“DRE”). Since 1990, we have successfully taken more than 800 projects through DRE approval.
- We take new construction and condominium conversion projects through the San Francisco governmental approval process.
- We often work with siblings and cousins who inherit family property. We help these groups create a system and a solid legal agreement for managing and maintaining their property, funding operating expenses, and resolving conflicts.
- We work with parents who want to help their adult children buy their first home, and children who want to approach their parents for financial support. We help these clients understand and evaluate the practical and tax ramifications of the options available to them, such as shared appreciation financing, equity sharing, gifts, and combinations of these approaches.
- We write contracts for divorcing and separating couples who want to continue to own property together.
Unmarried Couples and Domestic Partners
- We assist unmarried couples and domestic partners who want to buy or own property together. Very often, these couples do not have equivalent amounts of cash available for down payment, or will make unequal financial contributions to improvement costs or the ongoing expenses of ownership. We help these couples explore the options available to them, such as friendly loans, gifts, equity sharing, and floating capital accounts, and help them protect themselves against unforeseen events such as death, illness and separation. We then draft a simple yet comprehensive contract for them to fall back up if anything goes wrong.
Miscellaneous Co-Ownership/Shared Ownership
- We have helped create co-ownership arrangements for small (one-house) assisted living facilities, where each elderly resident or her family owns part of the shared home and helps fund staffing and operational costs.
- We have structures, and written agreements for shared student housing programs, where each student’s family owns part of a single house, condominium or apartment buildings where the student will live during her educational years. Typically, when a student no longer needs the housing, her ownership is sold to the family of an incoming student.
- We have created co tracts and other documentation for numerous co-housing and intentional community programs. These typically involve separate houses with shared facilities such as dining/cooking areas, but many involving living together in a single, large house or compound. Often, co-housing arrangements and intentional communities are formed for people with similar lifestyles, interests or religious practices; but sometimes, the group are just extended families or long-time friends.
- We have organized a collective farm, a yurt commune, and several group retreat facilities.
- We created the organizational structure, legal documents, and governing laws for Vivos, a program under which people buy and co-own fully equipped and provisioned underground shelters that can be used for up to a year following a natural or man-made disaster.
- We regularly work with clients buying or selling without a real estate agent. We help by preparing purchase contracts and understanding the purchase and sale process. Our fees to assist in this way are generally $700-1200.
- We prepare documentation for private financing, including notes, trust deeds, and modifications. These may be “normal” interest-only or amortized, or more complex financing such as fractional mortgages and shared appreciation mortgages.
- We assist clients who need to change or re-title their ownership by preparing deeds and other documents needed for recording.
Mediation and Dispute Resolution
- We work with parties who have disagreements by providing document analysis, suggestions, and dispute resolution services. (In dispute situations, we work only on resolution; with groups; we do not advise or represent individual clients in negotiations, disputes, or potential disputes, and we never advocate on behalf of a particular client.)
Investment TICs, LLCs and Partnerships
- We have helped create several websites and related internet-based platforms for the purchase and trading of fractional interests in investment and commercial real estate. These are now popularly referred to as real estate crowdfunding projects, but we began working on them before the term “crowdfunding” was invented.
- We prepare documentation for private offerings where a syndicator, investor, real estate professional, or other entrepreneur wishes to raise money for a real estate investment or venture. The real estate investment offerings on which we have worked have involved both a single acquisitions and funds where a series or group of properties will be acquired.
- We have assisted in numerous joint ventures between passive investors (who provide funds only) and building contractors, architects, or managers. Several of these have been specifically created to acquire properties in foreclosure, and several others have been focused on distressed properties.