Buying or selling a home or commercial property can be a complex process. It involves multiple parties and interests as well as intense emotional and financial risk. Buyers, sellers, brokers and bank representatives all seek to benefit from the sales, and real estate transactions often lead to lawsuits over real or perceived violations. Smiley Law’s reputation as a leader in real estate and construction law means that clients who come to us for counsel are satisfied with our successful representation of their various property issues.
Inspect and Disclose in Real Estate Transactions
Knowing the rules and potential pitfalls before you buy or sell a property can save you large sums of money and considerable heartache in the future.
Claims brought against realtors comprise a large number of real estate lawsuits. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates that the majority of these involve misrepresentation, in which realtors allegedly make false statements about the foundation, structural features, property boundaries or other aspects of the property. Realtors are also sued over failure to disclose property flaws such as easements, renovations performed without a permit, environmental problems or title issues.
Here are some tips to avoiding these issues:
- When purchasing a property, minimize the risk of unwelcome surprises by hiring a professional inspector.
- Ask about any potential issues before the sale.
- If you file a misrepresentation or failure to disclose case against a realtor or seller, you will need to prove that a false factual statement or omission was made and identify its source.
- If you are a realtor, use seller disclosure forms, document the seller’s sources of information and use inspectors and attorneys to verify its veracity.
- A court can find a realtor negligent if they failed to disclose a problem due to ignorance, or fraudulent if they intentionally hid information in order to influence the sale.
- A seller can be held legally liable for predictions such as “These beams will never rot” or “This house will definitely rise in value.”
In addition to misrepresentation/failure to disclose lawsuits, cases also frequently arise over dual agency (in which a broker represents both the buyer and the seller) and discrimination against prospective buyers in violation of the Fair Housing Act and similar laws.
Rely on Smiley Law When Buying or Selling Property
In property sales, unforeseen legal issues can arise at any time. Whether you are a buyer or realtor, you should seek legal counsel from the experienced professionals at Smiley Law to maximize your chances of a fair settlement and protect your business or homeowner dreams.