Real Estate Law

Are you purchasing or selling property in Southern Maryland? Our office will assist you with your personal and commercial real estate transactions.

We offer a broad spectrum of real estate services, from drafting documents such as sales contracts, deeds, and leases, handling residential and commercial closings and like-kind exchanges, and advising on zoning matters.

For Sale by Owner Contracts

Selling a house independently can be a lucrative way to save money. However, it can also lead to a multitude of legal issues.

We’ve helped thousands of individuals buy and sell their homes independently by simplifying the process for our clients.

At the same time, we protect you from potential liability. Numerous laws in Maryland regulate the sale of a residence. For example, the contract of sale must be in writing to be enforceable. Additionally, if the contract does not contain certain disclosures, even a written contract may not be enforceable by a seller.

Let our real estate legal team help you avoid these and other pitfalls and streamline the process.

Residential Closings and Escrow Services

When it comes to real estate settlements, we don’t mess around. Our office has performed over 15,000 real estate settlements and counting.

We can assist you with purchase and sale settlements, refinances, and new construction.

We handle cash settlements and settlements involving conventional financing, FHA and VA financing, and reverse mortgages.

We prepare the documents required for seller take-back financing.

Our team of experts will:

  • Review your contract of sale for you
  • Order the title abstract and check the title
  • Coordinate settlement with your lender, real estate agent, and other parties
  • Prepare the necessary settlement documents
  • Conduct the closing

Commercial Closings

Our firm offers a wide range of commercial settlement services.

Our services include:

  • The purchase and sale contracts
  • Loan document preparation and review
  • Title Examination
  • Title insurance issuance
  • Closing

We have handled commercial closings ranging in value from $100,000 to $30,000,000, including conduit financing, SBA 504 loans, HUD financing, construction loans, A&D loans, builder loans, and commercial office building financing.

Our attorneys are familiar with commercial loan documents and processing. We often prepare the documents for commercial lenders and advise them on commercial closing issues.


Our firm offers deed preparation services.

A deed generally transfers one of your most valuable assets: real estate. So in preparing deeds, we will ensure that clients understand some of the complexities of deeds, such as if gift tax issues arise as a result of a deed transfer or if a deed will trigger a default of a mortgage.

Title Certifications

A variety of transactions require title certifications.

Lenders require title certifications for certain loans. The Department of Public Works and the Metropolitan Commission require them in connection with public works agreements and property dedications. Planning and Zoning and the County Attorney’s office may require them in connection with the certification of transferable development rights.

Our office can order the title abstract, review the title, and issue the certification in the proper format required by these various parties.

Commercial Leases

Commercial leases substantially differ from residential leases.

One difference is that they are not subject to consumer protection laws. They are also not standardized and often subject to extensive negotiation.

Attorneys in our office have over twenty years of experience representing landlords and tenants in drafting and negotiating commercial leases. We negotiate leases ranging from single-tenant commercial leases to multi-tenant office building leases and shopping center leases.

If you are a tenant, we can ensure the lease is suitable for your business. If you are a landlord, we can prepare leases for specific tenants or prepare a form lease that you will be able to use for multiple tenants.

Residential Leases

Many individuals use online form leases for their residential leases, thinking these are “good enough.”

These forms may work until an issue with the tenant arises, and you need to enforce the lease in court. Our office has experience representing landlords in court and knows what provisions you should include in your lease. We can prepare a specific lease with provisions tailored for a lease with the option to buy or prepare a more generic lease that you could use over and over for a property you intend to lease over a period of years.

It is crucial that you remember to periodically have your lease updated and reviewed, as you should be providing all necessary disclosures to your tenant under the law.

Like-Kind Exchanges

Dugan, McKissick & Longmore, L.L.C. represents clients in all aspects of “Like-Kind Exchanges,” also known as “Tax Deferred Exchanges.”

In the appropriate circumstances, like-kind exchanges allow individuals selling investment and business-related property to defer capital gains taxes that otherwise would be assessed as a result of the sale of such properties.

We assist clients by giving them general advice regarding whether a like-kind exchange would be appropriate and drafting the necessary agreements and related documents to effectuate the exchanges.

Environmental Law

A simple misstep involving an environmental legal issue can cause significant problems.

Our attorneys have the means to represent clients in a wide array of environmental law matters.

Our services include assisting clients with the legal aspects of obtaining permits and approval for development and specific activities. In addition, we represent clients in disputes with local and state agencies for alleged environmental violations.

In this role, we work with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Soil Conservation District, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Maryland Critical Area Commission, and similar local and county agencies that address these issues.

Land Use and Zoning

We represent property owners and other clients in various zoning and land use-related matters.

These matters range from assisting clients in understanding how their property is zoned and what it means for their intended use of the property, to representing clients before various county agencies and boards, including local Planning Commissions and Boards of Appeals.

We assist clients in seeking and obtaining zoning approvals, including site plan approval, subdivision approval, general and critical area variances, special exceptions, and conditional uses.

We also represent clients in appeals and judicial reviews in instances when the county or state renders decisions that are adverse to our client’s interests.

Our clients include individuals developing their personal property, business owners building a new commercial building, large-scale residential subdivisions, and commercial office and shopping center developers.

Maryland Critical Areas Law

If you own property located within 1000 feet of the head of tide in Maryland, you are subject to Maryland’s Critical Areas Law.

This law is designed to improve water quality and protect wildlife habitat in Maryland’s tidal shorelines and is regulated by local and state laws.

The law imposes severe restrictions on building and construction activities through limits on clearing and lot coverage and the location of structures.

Activities in the critical areas buffer, which ranges from a minimum of one hundred feet to several hundred feet, are more restricted. Any disturbance in the buffer, including clearing brush or grading, is prohibited.

We can assist you both in ensuring that the use of your property complies with the regulations or obtain variances from the regulations.

Our attorneys work with local zoning departments regarding critical areas issues and can represent you before the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and other regulatory agencies.

Transferable Development Rights

In certain instances, an owner can sell their property’s development rights to a third party, allowing the third party to develop their property to a greater density than would usually be allowed.

These rights are called “transferable development rights” or “TDRs.”

For example, in St. Mary’s County, you have one TDR for every five acres of undeveloped land you own that is zoned Rural Preservation District.

Conversely, in St. Mary’s County, you need TDRs to subdivide your RPD property after your first lot or increase the allowed amount of commercial development in other zoning districts.

Individuals in our office helped draft the current TDR ordinance in St. Mary’s County and are familiar with the nuances of the regulations. In addition, we have handled numerous TDR transactions in St. Mary’s County and Calvert County. We can help prepare the contract for the sale of the TDRs, the instruments necessary to sever and transfer the TDRs, and the required title searches and certifications.

Eminent Domain

If the state or local government takes your land, the United States and Maryland Constitution requires the government to give you fair compensation for your property.

The process of when the government takes your land can be confusing.

The process is different for each government entity and depends on whether they are taking land for a road or other public purpose.

In certain instances, you may be able to challenge the taking of your land. It is vital to have competent legal counsel to assist through this process. Our attorneys can help you ensure the government compensates you fairly for your property.

Get representation precisely positioned for your case.