1st Edition

Real Estate Law Fundamentals for The Development Process

By Peter Smirniotopoulos Copyright 2017

    Unlike existing textbooks written for law students on specific subjects impacting real estate transactions, Real Estate Law: Fundamentals for The Development Process uses "The Development Process" as a framework for understanding how the U.S. legal system regulates, facilitates, and generally impacts real estate transactions and their outcomes.

    This book not only addresses the nature of specific legal issues directly relating to real estate transactions but also how those issues may best be identified and addressed in advance. This book breaks down the myriad of laws influencing the selection, acquisition, development, financing, ownership, and management of real estate, and presents them in context.

    Readers of Real Estate Law will gain a practical understanding, from the perspective of a real property developer or real estate executive, investor, or lender, of:

    • how to identify potential legal issues before they arise;

    • when to involve a real estate attorney;

    • how to select an attorney with the appropriate, relevant experience; and

    • how to efficiently and economically engage and manage legal counsel in addressing real estate issues.

    Written as a graduate-level text book, Real Estate Law comes with numerous useful features including a glossary of terms, chapter summaries, discussion questions, further reading, and a companion website with instructor resources. It is a resource of great value to real estate and finance professionals, both with and without law degrees, engaged in one aspect or another of real estate development and finance, who want to become more conversant in the legal issues impacting these transactions.

    1. Introduction: Asset classes, property classifications, ownership types and The Development Process  2. Introduction to The Development Process  3. How legal issues arise in The Development Process  4. Local Governments and land use law  5. Zoning and land use regulations in action  6. Environmental law  7. Contract law  8. Tax considerations of real estate transactions  9. Financing real estate transactions  10. Private actions creating public benefits  11. Property management and leasing


    Peter E. Smirniotopoulos is Adjunct Professor of Real Estate in the MBA program at The George Washington University and in the School of Business at George Mason University, USA.

    Better than any other book I know, Real Estate Law: Fundamentals for The Development Process communicates to real estate business people how they may effectively utilize law and lawyers to add value in achieving their real estate objectives. I only wish I had been armed with Peter’s book when I began practicing real estate law 30 years ago, and before I began teaching real estate law 10 years ago. If I were a student today, I would want to learn real estate law from this splendid work.

    Charles Schilke, Professor, University of Maryland Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development and former Director, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University Real Estate Programs


    Peter Smirniotopoulos’ book, Real Estate Law: Fundamentals for The Development Process, is the first I have seen specifically written for developers. It covers the full range of legal issues that developers confront from land acquisition to entitlements, financing, design, construction, leasing, and operations. He does so in a forthright, easy-to-read manner, explaining what the legal issues are, and when and how to obtain efficient, cost-effective legal advice. Active developers as well as students of the development game will find Peter’s book a must-have addition to their libraries.

    Richard Peiser, Michael D. Spear Professor of Real Estate Development, Harvard University


    When hiring recent graduates from real estate master's programs, we expect to see candidates who possess the kind of broad-based yet subject-matter specific knowledge that Professor Smirniotopoulos conveys through his MBA real estate law course and this companion textbook. This textbook represents a new standard for how real estate law should be taught. It is also the only textbook on real estate law that focuses on walkable urban places or WalkUPs - a project type for which Forest City is a nationally recognized leader. WalkUPs have become a national focus throughout the U.S., making this textbook of particular value.

    Deborah Ratner Salzberg, President, Forest City Washington, Inc. Board Member, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, G.W. School of Business


    Real estate development is an exceedingly complex process with many constantly moving parts but also many parts that involve different aspects of the law. Real Estate Law: Fundamentals For The Development Process is the first to use the development process as the structure for a textbook on this topic, which makes comprehension far easier and organized. Professor Smirniotopoulos also takes the enlightened approach that there are appropriate times to use a lawyer and times that having a comprehensive knowledge of the law by the developer is sufficient…necessary to keep pursuit and soft costs under control. Finally, this textbook recognizes, for the first time, that today’s real estate development is predominantly "walkable urban", a far more complex development process than the "drivable sub-urban" development of the past century. This textbook is destined to be the standard for real estate law for many years to come.

    Christopher B. Leinberger, Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate Chair, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis


    Peter's book provides students with a disciplined introduction to the topic combined with a feel for how it all comes together in practice

    Peter Linneman, Principal and Founder of Linneman Associates and Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.