December 2018 Real Estate Law Newsletter

2018 has been a whirlwind of a year! Over the past twelve months, our firm has seen a lot of exciting new developments: we redesigned our blog website, we got involved in new organizations, we ventured into new media channels, and our firm restructured and re-branded from the Law Offices of Peter N. Brewer to the firm we are today — Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP. As we look back on the past year, we are so grateful to all of those people with whom we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working. We have a lot planned for 2019, and some of the items included in this edition of our newsletter should give a few hints as to what excitement lays ahead!

We hope you enjoy reading the final 2018 edition of our e-mail newsletter, and we wish you, your family, and your colleagues a Happy New Year!

Highlights in this month’s issue:

  • Watch a video replay of our recent marijuana & real estate panel discussion, filmed for television in front of a studio audience
  • Download the slideshow presentations and view the video replays of two recent webinars — one about selling property from a trust and the other about techniques for saving real estate deals that are in peril
  • Catch up on legal updates by reading four blog articles written by our attorneys, about topics such as insurance claims after natural disasters, new laws affecting mediation, backing out of non-contingent offers, and the Three-Day Notice to Quit
  • View the graphic of our firm’s annual holiday card
  • Check out highlights, pictures, and videos from our firm’s 6th Annual Oktoberfest Celebration


We hope you enjoy reading the final edition of our newsletter in 2018!

Marijuana Television Show & SCCAOR Talk

In California, the rapid growth of the marijuana industry has made many people excited to consume, distribute, grow, and sell cannabis. However, there are substantial real estate considerations — both residential and commercial — that all parties should be aware of before investing money, signing a lease, or listing a property intended for cannabis manufacturing, consumption, or distribution.

Our firm recently put together a panel of industry experts to talk about the implications of marijuana legalization on the real estate industry. The discussion featured a panel of attorneys, real estate professionals, and marijuana industry experts, and was filmed in front of a live studio audience at the Midpen Media Center in Palo Alto. The recording of the program is currently being broadcast on local public television channels.

You can watch the full, hour-long discussion by clicking the “Watch Program” button below.

Watch Program

Heroes Run in San Jose

On November 3rd, office manager Jessica Urioste and attorney Ashlee D. Gonzales participated in the 6th Annual Heroes Run, which is a hero-themed fundraiser for supporting children’s health services at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital & Clinics. The event is co-produced by the Valley Medical Center Foundation, Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff and the Santa Clara County Fire Department. Ashlee & Jessica ran the 5k race, and were so thrilled to support such a special cause!


SCCAOR Pumpkin Auction

Every year, the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) Foundation puts on a pumpkin auction that supports a local elementary school. The pumpkins are decorated by students and teachers at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose, and the proceeds of the event go directly to supporting the school.

This year was the 20th Annual fundraiser, and our law firm was thrilled to provide in-kind support for the event! Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds sits on the Board of Directors for the Foundation, and helped pick up the pumpkins from the elementary school and deliver the pumpkins to the venue.

Check out the photos below of these incredibly creative pumpkin designs!


Recently, our firm produced two webinars focused on legal topics related to the real estate industry. You can download the slideshow presentation and watch a video replay of both programs below.

Real estate transactions in California often move at a rapid pace. New listings hardly spend any time on the MLS before offers come rolling in and the seller accepts a winning bid. The volume and pace of real estate in California makes for a very competitive market. However, completing real estate transactions involves many steps — from inspections, to disclosures, to contingencies, to close of escrow procedures. In a market that moves extremely fast, unexpected issues can arise that threaten the completion of the deal. These kinds of complications can kill a transaction — or worse, result in the loss of deposit funds and other purchase opportunities.

In this webinar, attorneys Ashlee D. Gonzales and Adam L. Pedersen cover several topics related to potential pitfalls in real estate transactions, such as:

  • Understanding the basics of contract law and its application to real estate transactions
  • Applying the “Mirror-Image Rule” in the acceptance of contracts
  • Using counter-offers, addenda, and amendments correctly and effectively
  • Drafting & executing contingencies and notices to perform
  • Avoiding the misnomer of “In Contract” vs. “Out of Contract”
  • Addressing closing and financing issues, such as loan complications and title disputes
  • Handling transactions upended by natural disasters

Watch Replay


Often, when property is inherited from a trust, the beneficiaries will want to sell the property. However, most of the time the beneficiaries have not lived in the property for years, or have never even been to, lived in, or seen the property. That creates several complications in the mechanics of selling the property. Additionally, the process for selling a property in trust is slightly different than selling property normally.

In this webinar, real estate attorney Lorena Roel covers key topics relating to selling real estate out of a trust, including:

  • Process for putting real property into a trust
  • Sole trustor and successor trustee scenarios for selling property out of trust
  • Utilizing certificate of trust for exercising trustee powers
  • Overview of duties of successor trustee under probate code
  • Required disclosures for selling a property out of trust
  • Practical considerations for REALTORS® in representing trustee sellers
  • Insights into the duties & rights of a successor trustee liquidating the property

Watch Replay

What to Do When Disaster Hits

As the recent wildfires in Butte County and Southern California have demonstrated, disaster can strike at any time — and strike quickly. When those disasters affect your real property, it can be particularly challenging to deal with the insurance company. In his most recent blog article, Simon offers a few tips that can help in completing an insurance claim, and provides a list of organizations collecting donations to support fire victims.
Read More


New Law Affecting Mediation

Effective January 1st, 2019, attorneys will have to provide disclosures to their clients regarding the confidentiality rules related to mediation, and receive a signed acknowledgment from their clients. This new law impacts a core function of real estate law — mediation — and keeps confidential all materials used during mediation. Attorney Ashlee D. Gonzales discusses the new law, its exceptions and applications, in her most recent blog article.
Read More


Can A Buyer Back Out of a Non-Contingent Offer?

In the competitive California real estate market, non-contingent offers are quite common. To make their offer seem more attractive, buyers often will present an offer to purchase a home after receiving the disclosures without any conditions or contingencies. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the buyer cannot back out of the contract. Attorney Simon Offord discusses the circumstances under which a buyer could back out of a non-contingent offer in his blog article.
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What a Three-Day Notice to Quit Really Means

When a tenant receives a Three-Day Notice to Quit, they often believe that it means they will be removed from the unit within three days. However, that is not necessarily true of the Three-Day notice. There are requirements for service methods, circumstances under which a landlord can serve a notice, and rules about what must be in the notice — otherwise the notice is invalid. Attorney Lorena Roel discusses the Three-Day notice more in-depth in her most recent blog article.
Read More


Every year, our firm sends out our holiday card right before Thanksgiving. The card always features our firm’s caricatures interacting around a common theme — and of course, our fun-loving turkey mascot! This year, we focused on technology as the theme for our holiday card. You can click the turkey or the button to see the full graphic of the card, and we wish you all a happy holiday season!

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This year marked the 6th Annual Oktoberfest Celebration that our firm has hosted with The Law Office of Jeffrey C. Miller. Every year, we enjoy having clients, colleagues, family, and friends come out to our building to celebrate the year. We transform our parking area into a German town square, we serve authentic Bavarian cuisine, and drink imported German brews. Check out highlights from this year’s event by clicking the button below!

See Highlights