Albert Moore, Attorney at Law

What Are The Typical Reasons For Real Estate Disputes?

A great deal of disputes in real estate arise once the real estate contract for a purchase or sale has been signed and then people started to fight over the terms and from the buyer’s side, typically you can have issues where there is buyer’s regret. All of a sudden they realized that this may not be the house that they want to purchase or there is too much money or they make it contingent upon financing and they get the financing but the terms are not exactly what they thought the terms were going to be and all of a sudden they want to back out of the contract. Typically there is a deposit that is involved and there are fights if one side or the other terminates the agreement whether or not the deposit is to be paid to the buyer or if the seller gets to keep the deposit. Those are usually kept in escrow accounts by either an attorney or a title company.

Once there is a dispute then there are some procedures in the contract for how to determine what to do with the deposit. Sometimes the seller has regrets and decides that they don’t want to sell the property or if between the time that they’ve executed the contract and are closing and all of a sudden their house is appreciated, we are not in that market right now but a few years ago we were, where if you signed a contract and it took 2 months to close, all of a sudden your house might be worth 10% or 20% more on the market. If the seller wants to back out and the buyer either wants to keep the deposit based on the liquidated damages or they want to sue for a specific performance which is basically saying to the seller that they have to sell you the house.

So those are some of the standard disagreements that come up. Also, you have issues involving who is to pay what type of closing cost. In a standard real estate contract they are pretty clear but I can’t tell you the number of times that clients have come in and said, I didn’t think I had to pay for this or I didn’t think this was a “closing cost” because that definition varies greatly depending on your circumstance or the contract that you’ve signed. That’s before you close. After closing you still can have issues especially if the buyer feels that the seller did not represent certain things in regard to the condition of the house. Even if it’s just an as is type of contract, the seller has certain duties to reveal defects that they know are present and if they don’t lawsuits stem from that as well.

Those are typically the disputes with the terms of the agreement before closing and once closing happens, assuming all the numbers are right and you either have a title company or an attorney to check over those numbers or you should anyway, once closing takes place then typically it’s a question of what was disclosed and if there were issues that were not disclosed then the buyer may have some recourse.

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