What are the causes for real estate litigation and how can you protect yourself?
Real estate litigation can happen to just about anyone. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or even a real estate agent, every single real estate transaction has the potential to end in a lawsuit.
Here are the three most common reasons for real estate litigation, and how you can avoid them:
- Failure to disclose a defect on the property. In other words, if you know something is wrong with your home or property, you are obligated to disclose it. Defects can include things like poor construction, mold, leaks, non-permitted additions or improvements, and much more. If a buyer can prove a seller or agent should have been aware of the problem, and they didn’t disclose it prior to closing, then they have grounds for a lawsuit.
- Breach of contract. When you sign a contract to sell or purchase a home, the terms and conditions associated with the sale are disclosed in the contract. Terms can cover a variety of things including closing date, title clearance, financing, items included in the home purchase (fixtures, appliances, etc.) and much more. Failure to comply with any of the terms set forth in the agreement may be grounds for filing litigation based on contract breach.
- Negligence or breach of duty. A real estate agent must always act in their client’s best interests. Realtors even sign a Code of Ethics when they pass their examinations; an artifact that has real, binding legal implications if they are found to have violated it. Negligence, whether intentional or not, can be grounds for litigation. If a realtor fails to take “reasonable and appropriate action”, then a buyer or seller may file suit.
Pro Tip: Protect Yourself in a Real Estate Transaction
The best way to protect yourself during the buying and selling process is to document everything. You must obtain all required signatures, and keep copies in a safe place.
This documentation will form the basis of your defense in case you’re sued, or provide the grounds for your lawsuit in instances where someone has violated their binding agreements. However, if pieces are missing or signatures are overlooked, you can find yourself at the mercy of the court, engaged in a long and costly legal battle, or worse.
In Need of Real Estate Litigation Assistance?
Wondering if you have grounds to file a real estate lawsuit? Or are you in the middle of being sued by someone else? Get representation immediately. Your lawyer will be able to review all the documents and facts associated with your case, helping you make a determination on the best way for you to proceed.