Purchasing real estate requires the largest investment most people make, and the market is massive. According to The Hill, Americans borrowed $1.61 trillion to purchase residential real estate in 2021. With this volume and the complexity of real estate transactions, contract disputes are bound to occur. When they do, The Law Office of Andre Clark is here to help. Read on to learn about the most common contract disputes where the expertise of a real estate attorney can help.
Common Contract Disputes and How an Attorney Can Help
Failure to Disclose
Imagine the horror of purchasing your dream home only to discover the roof is leaking, you have horrible neighbors, or your new home was once the site of grisly murders. Unexpected property issues are the most common cause of real estate contract disputes. State laws vary widely on what sellers do and do not have to disclose.
If a seller fails to disclose important information, you may be entitled to compensation. In some circumstances, sellers do not need to disclose defects. A real estate attorney can determine whether the seller should have disclosed the information and what recourse you have.
Breach of Contract
Breach of contract occurs when one party fails to meet all the conditions of the transaction within the specified timeframe. Most often, the buyer or seller fails to close on the property by the agreed-upon closing date, or in some cases, fails to complete the sale at all. This is costly to both buyers and sellers.
Buyers can lose thousands on inspection and appraisal fees. Sellers lose out on valuable marketing time while the property is tied up in the transaction. Sellers can also lose out on their own purchase transaction if the purchase of their next property depends upon the sale of their current property.
Almost all real estate contracts contain contingencies (escape clauses) that allow buyers to get out of the contract. However, these contingencies usually have deadlines or other limitations. If a buyer or seller fails to close on a real estate transaction, a real estate attorney can review the contract to determine what recourse you have and get you the compensation you deserve.
Disputes can arise with unclearly defined or encroached property boundaries. New buyers may face the unpleasant surprise of easements that affect their use of the property or allow others to pass through the property. A neighbor may keep some of their property on your side of the property line. The title company may fail to properly convey all or part of the property to you, especially if it sits on two lots or more lots.
While most of these situations should be revealed during the inspection period, this does not always happen. The seller, real estate brokerage, and title company could all be liable. These are issues only an expert real estate attorney can advise you on.
Agent Breach of Duty
The public relies on the expertise of real estate agents to make important financial decisions. So the law holds them to high standards. Real estate agents and their brokers are liable when agents fail to act in the client's best interests. This is whether through incompetence, negligence, disclosing confidential information, or other misconduct. If the agent's misconduct leads you to make a decision you later regret, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against the brokerage.
Real estate agents can advise you about the real estate market and help you negotiate and fulfill the terms of the contract, but the law prohibits them from offering legal advice. Only a qualified real estate attorney can provide reliable legal advice when you face a contract dispute. Better yet, you can prevent contract disputes by hiring a real estate attorney to review your contract before disputes occur.
If you are facing any issues with a recent real estate transaction, contact us today. We are here to help.