Spring 2019 Real Estate Law Newsletter

Spring is a season often associated with rebirth and revival. As flowers begin to bloom and sunny weather brings warmer temperatures, religious and cultural observations during this time of year celebrate inner reflection and personal renewal. New energy is the key to growth, though it is sometimes hard to channel when bogged down by challenges in life and in business. At Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP, we are always trying to find dynamic ways to precipitate new energy. From new organizations to new geographies to new faces, in this month’s newsletter you will read about some of the ways that we are embracing the season and aspiring for growth!

Highlights in this month’s issue:

—Watch the replay of our recent webinar about deposit disputes, presented by Lorena Roel

—Read through recent blog articles written by Simon Offord & Ashlee D. Gonzales about new real estate forms and defenses to adverse possession

Check out highlights from several of our community events, including presentations at brokerages, volunteer activities, speaking engagements, webinars, and sponsored events

See highlights from our Spring 2019 Firm Retreat in Sacramento

—Catch up on all news updates about the firm, including leadership updates, speaking engagements, conferences, mixers, and client success stories

We hope you enjoy reading the Spring 2019 edition of our real estate law newsletter!

When a property is listed for sale, the seller will receive many different offers from a host of interested parties. Some of the offers will be from buyers who are genuinely interested in purchasing the property, while others will be from buyers who are just testing the waters or only have a passing interest in the property. One tool that sellers can use to gauge if a buyer is serious is the earnest money deposit, or EMD. Serious buyers often will put down a deposit to place a “hold” on the property; however, if the transaction doesn’t close or the buyer gets cold feet, the seller may be entitled to keep the deposit and move on to a different buyer.

On Thursday, May 2nd, 2019, Lorena Roel, a real estate attorney at Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP, presented a webinar about common issues relating to real estate deposits. In this informative webinar, attorney Roel covers key topics relating to earnest money deposits, such as:

  • Purpose of an Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) in the real estate transaction process
  • Difference between down payment and earnest money deposits
  • Determining deposit amounts & consequences of going over 3%
  • Mechanics of placing an earnest money deposit on a property
  • What happens to the deposit if the contract is cancelled or escrow is not closed
  • Deposit consequences if the contract is cancelled from a contingency
  • Legal principles governing earnest money deposits
  • and much more!

You can watch a full video replay of the webinar and download the slides from the presentation by clicking the “Watch Replay” button below.

Watch Replay






New & Revised Forms from the California Association of REALTORS®

The California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) recently released two brand-new forms, along with changes to several existing forms. Almost all real estate professionals use these forms in their day-to-day operations, so it is important to know what changes have been made. Ashlee D. Gonzales summarizes these developments in her most recent article.

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How to Prevent Losing Property via Adverse Possession or Prescriptive Easement

Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easement are two of the ways that a neighbor can try to gain rights over another person’s property. To defend against these actions, there are a few defenses available to owners which avoid costly lawsuits or loss of rights. Simon Offord discusses the methods for defending against takeover claims in his most recent blog article.

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Keller Williams

Ashlee D. Gonzales recently gave two presentations to agents from the Silicon City branch of Keller Williams. On March 12, Ashlee spoke about legal techniques for “saving” real estate deals that are at risk of falling apart. On April 30th, Ashlee spoke about new and revised CAR forms.

Global Investors Forum

On Saturday, March 16th, Lorena Roel gave a presentation to the Global Real Estate Investors Club’s Monthly Global Investors Forum in Milpitas. Attorney Roel spoke about the legal mechanisms of selling real estate that is owned by a trust.


American Apartment Owners Association

On March 26th, Adam L. Pedersen and Ashlee D. Gonzales presented a webinar for the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA). The two attorneys spoke about the legalization of recreational marijuana, and how that impacts the real estate, property management, and apartment industries. Our firm was excited to produce the very first AAOA webinar that included a live video feed!

Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley

On Saturday, April 27th, Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds participated in the Spring Rebuild Day for Rebuilding Together – Silicon Valley. Dodds, as the vice chair of the Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation Board of Directors, served as the volunteer coordinator for two projects, where over 50 volunteers helped make repairs and paint the exteriors of two mobile homes in San Jose.


On Friday, April 5th, the entire Brewer Offord & Pedersen team met up in downtown Sacramento for our Spring 2019 Firm Retreat. The day was jam-packed full of activities, including a meet-and-greet with prospective clients and hires, a business meeting, a networking lunch, and a team building activity (Escape Room!).

The Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP team is a very close-knit group of people, and we maintain very strong and positive relationships with each other, even across geographic divisions. These retreats help us reinforce the importance of teamwork in serving our clients, while also providing an opportunity to explore a new city and have fun together!

  • On February 15th, Ashlee D. Gonzales gave a presentation at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Los Altos-Mountain View Breakfast Tour Meeting about legal techniques for saving real estate deals
  • Simon Offord resolved a lawsuit in San Mateo County regarding damaged utility lines in the common area of a property, which impacted client’s use of their utilities
  • On February 21st and April 4th, Adam L. Pedersen gave a presentation for the Bay East Association of REALTORS® Livermore Real Estate Alliance (REAL) group
  • Not everyone is aware that Peter N. Brewer studied machine tool technology and metallurgy in college, and worked as a machinist before going to law school. Peter is nurturing his hobby and interest by participating in a class to learn “gas metal arc welding” more commonly known as “MIG” or metal inert gas welding
  • On March 5th – 6th, Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds attended the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) West Region Leadership Retreat in Seattle, WA, in his capacity as the LMA Bay Area chair
  • On Saturday, April 6th, Peter N. Brewer and Clayton Dodds attended the executive committee meeting of the Law Practice Management & Technology (LPMT) section of the California Lawyers Association, of which Peter is a special adviser/past chair and Clayton is the 2019 vice-chair
  • Ashlee D. Gonzales recently negotiated a settlement of a multi-party disclosure litigation case in the Bay Area
  • On April 8th -10th, Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds attended the LMA Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
  • On April 11th, attorneys Lorena Roel, Adam L. Pedersen, and Ashlee D. Gonzales attended the Annual Real Estate Fraud Symposium, produced by SCCAOR and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit
  • On April 13th, Office Manager Jessica Urioste was installed as the Vice President of Membership for the Santa Clara County Legal Professionals Association (SCCoLPA)
  • On April 23rd, Ashlee D. Gonzales and Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds attended the spring networking mixer for the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR)
  • On April 25th, Office Manager Jessica Urioste attended a SCCoLPA workshop about “How to Build a Table of Contents and Table of Authorities the Easy Way”
  • Simon Offord assisted in the negotiation and completion of numerous commercial leases throughout the mid-Peninsula region, as well as purchase agreements for multiple commercial properties in the Sacramento area
  • Peter N. Brewer has joined the Nevada County Association of REALTORS® and the Nevada County Bar Association
  • On Friday, May 3rd, Lorena Roel and Simon Offord attended the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Legal Affairs Forum in Sacramento
  • Ashlee D. Gonzales recently helped several landlord clients negotiate with their tenants for amicable move-outs in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda counties