In order to purchase a home, you will have to go through the process of completing a residential real estate sale. Depending on your state’s laws, you may have different requirements and steps to follow when completing a residential real estate sale.

Generally, both the seller and the buyer will have a real estate agent represent them in the sale. Some states will also require each party to hire an attorney. Before buying a house, you should be aware of common legal disputes that may come up during the process.

What are Some Common Residential Real Estate Disputes I May Encounter?

During the process of a residential real estate sale, you may encounter issues that could hold up the sale. Some situations that you may encounter which can cause a dispute between the buyer and the seller are:

  • Disclosure issues: Property owners are required to make certain disclosures regarding the condition of the property they are selling. If something is discovered that has not been disclosed both during or after the sale, you may be able to take legal action against the seller.
  • Discrimination against the buyer: Brokers, mortgage companies, and various other agents are prohibited from discriminating against potential buyers based on attributes such as their age, race and sex. If you think you have been discriminated against, you may be able to take legal action.
  • Appraisal disputes: Sometimes, a dispute will arise regarding the value of the house. If this happens, a professional may need to be consulted about the true market value of the property. Unfortunately, you could also face a situation where an appraiser fraudulently reports the value of a home. However, this is not as likely to occur.
  • Fraud: A sale may be held up by several types of fraud, such as document fraud or mortgage fraud.

How are Residential Real Estate Conflicts Resolved?

If any issues arise with the sale, you may be able to take legal action in order to resolve the dispute and complete the sale. Your real estate contract will outlines the terms of the sale and will govern many issues that could arise. Oftentimes, your contract will contain a section that dictates how disputes will be handled. Some common ways disputes are handled include:

  • Further negotiation, such as offering a credit or some other type of incentive to push the sale through;
  • Arbitration;
  • Mediation; or
  • Filing a civil lawsuit.

Keep in mind that determining damages in such a case could be very complex. However, if you take legal action, some remedies that may be available are money damages, a court order sale of the home or an injunction.

Do I Need to Contact an Attorney?

If you do not already have an attorney assisting you with the sale of your home and an issue arises, you should contact a local real estate attorney. An experienced attorney can help explain the laws of your state and represent your interests if you go to court or attempt mediation.