There’s a lot at stake when dealing with real estate matters. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of dollars can be on the line, and commercial developers and business owners can have their future prospects jeopardized if a real estate deal goes bad. Therefore, individuals who are in the real estate markets, whether it be commercial or residential, need to ensure that they are protecting their interests as fully as is possible under the circumstances. This means understanding the law, how it applies to them, and how to navigate real estate disputes in a way that best positions you for the outcome that you want.
This is no small task, especially considering the fact that there is a wide array of issues you could face during the real estate closing process. Title issues, financing concerns, and other issues can arise at any point on the long road to closing. Perhaps one of the most common issues, though, is misrepresentation.
In its broadest terms, real estate transactions are contractual in nature. Real property is being exchanged for a sum of money based on terms agreed to by and understandings amongst the parties involved. Far too often, though, agreements are reached based on a lack of information or inaccurate information. This can leave one party to the transaction feeling cheated, and his or her financial position might reflect the reality of the damage once all is said and done.
Misrepresentations, which include failures to disclose, can affect any aspect of real estate. Property boundaries may be misidentified, a building’s structural integrity may be worse than presented by a seller or real estate agent, and pest and termite damage might exist even after being told that it doesn’t. While these are concerning issues, they should be addressed during the inspection phase. Other, more serious, issues may be looming in the wings, though, such as problems related to title, easements, and environmental issues.
The ramifications of these issues can be enormous. A title defect, for example, could jeopardize your ability to fully own the property. This means that if you don’t have clear title to the property then you might have paid full price for a piece of property that doesn’t even belong to you outright. Your property might be subjected to other uses you didn’t bargain for, too, which can seriously hamper your intended uses for the property.
So how do you deal with these issues to protect yourself? On the front end you can engage in thorough research. For titles, you can ensure that there aren’t any liens or other encumbrances on the property and, if there are, you can attempt to cure the defects. These can be complicated matters that take a lot of time and effort to resolve. As frustrating as that can be, it can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches further down the road. This same upfront research can help you avoid surprises when it comes to environmental issues, easements, and other restrictions on the property in question.
If you’ve done your research but still run into real estate issues as they relate to misrepresentations or failures to disclose, then you might need to consider additional legal action. Parties that have suffered harm due to a misrepresentation or a failure to disclose may be able to present evidence of negligence or fraud that can lead to the recovery of compensation in hopes of making things right. But, again, these matters are highly complicated and require a sound understanding of real estate law.
To outsiders, real estate closings seem easy. Some documents are signed, handshakes are given, and property is acquired in exchange for money. But to those who are familiar with this area of the law, the potential for derailing issues arise every step of the way on the path to closure. So, if you want to make sure that you have all of the protection you need, whether its from misrepresentation, failures to disclose, or dealing with title, environmental, or easement-related issues, then it might be time for you to sit down with a real estate attorney who will put in the hard work to put your interests first.