Real Estate

Crane Dunham PLLC has provided legal advice and experienced counsel to all parties in real estate transactions: seller, buyers, landlords, tenants, lenders and borrowers, homeowner associations and others. We also provide legal advice and advocacy at all phases of real estate acquisition, ownership and disposal, including formation of joint ventures and partnerships, purchase and sale agreements, lease negotiations, land use and entitlement, financing, buy-sell agreements, business disputes, receiverships and litigation.

Most people quickly learn that the cost of litigation is often much greater than the cost of having an attorney review the documents prior to completion of a transaction. We therefore recommend that clients come to us first to make sure that to the extent possible risks and potential problems are anticipated and dealt with in advance, thereby minimizing costs of litigation later.

Earnest Money Deposit Recovery

Recovery of disputed earnest money deposits for over 130 buyers of a dozen newly constructed condominium projects in downtown Seattle and Bellevue, representing purchases of over $100M in residential units.

Construction Disputes

We have represented both commercial clients and homeowners in construction disputes, as well as contractors and subcontractors in payment disputes and lien foreclosures.

Representation of Homeowners Against Their HOAs

Frequently, owners of condos and single family residences have disputes with the governing boards of their homeowners association (HOA) over matters big and not so big, ranging from their rights as owners to rent their units to others without unreasonable restrictions, to what colors they can paint the exterior of their residences. Crane Dunham PLLC has successfully sued HOAs to overturn illegal restrictions on the rights of property owners, resulting in clients’ recovery of both monetary damages and their legal fees.

Among successful results obtained by Crane Dunham PLLC include the following:

  • Rescue of an expiring master use permit for a proposed full-service hotel in downtown Seattle, the W, and the first acquisition of transferrable development rights from the City of Seattle to add additional floors to achieve a height of 25 stories.
  • The assemblage and rezoning of 13 parcels of property located in SW Snohomish County for creation of a new “urban center” adjacent to Interstate 5 and a designated shoreline of statewide significance and associated wetlands.
  • Representation of landowners seeking annexation to the City of North Bend and relocation of Interstate 90 to allow for creation of a major outlet mall, high tech headquarters and associated retail.
During the real estate crash of 2008, Steve Crane represented me and the buyers of more than 18 new luxury condominium buildings in downtown Seattle. He was able to recover all of our earnest money deposits from the seller, who had refused to return them prior to hiring Steve. The deposits recovered totaled more than $1.2M for this one project.

Steve also represented a large number of other buyers that wanted to recoup their deposits in several other newly constructed buildings across Bellevue and Seattle. In total, he secured more than $5M for more than 85 buyers.

Steve was able to find a creative and persuasive basis to promptly force sellers to return our deposits. As a retired real estate attorney and developer, I appreciated the skill, focus and tenacity that he brought to bear to the representation of me and the other large group of buyers.

I highly recommend Steve and his firm on all matters relating to retrieving earnest money deposits, as the most successful advocate for buyers who find themselves unable or unwilling to close their transactions.

Joe Polito

Retired Attorney and Developer