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Residential Real Estate Conflicts

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What Are Some Common Residential Real Estate Conflicts?

Residential real estate sales are an important aspect of home ownership. While they are necessary for the transfer of property from one party to another, residential real estate matters can also be a common source of legal disputes. Some types of residential real estate conflicts may include issues like:

  • Disclosure: Property owners are required to make certain disclosures regarding the property they are selling.  For instance, they are required to disclose whether there are major defects with the house that might pose a safety issue, or if there are any encumbrances on the title.  However, this may vary by region, and some jurisdictions enforce a “buyer beware” policy
  • Discrimination: Brokers, mortgage companies, and various other agents are prohibited from discriminating against potential buyers based on their age, race, sex, and other categories. 
  • Appraisal Disputes: There may often be disputes as to the actual value of the house.  In some cases, a professional may need to be hired to obtain a market value appraisal.  However, there are often cases where the appraiser engages in fraud, especially where they act in collaboration with the seller or broker.
  • Fraud: Residential real estate fraud is common and can come in many different forms. For instance, document fraud may occur, as well as mortgage fraud, loan agreement fraud, and various other types of fraud.
  • Overlap with other Areas of Law:  It is common for residential real estate disputes to have their root in another area of law. An example of this is where a property dispute arises as a result of divorce filing.  Or, tax issues may also affect residential real estate as well.

Bear in mind that the laws governing residential real estate may vary greatly from region to region. This is especially true for specific areas of property law such as disclosure rules and professional standards for appraisals. If you are unsure of the laws in your area, you may wish to speak directly with a lawyer for clarification on your issue.

How Are Residential Real Estate Conflicts Resolved?

A main aspect of most residential real estate conflicts is that of the real estate contract. In any real estate transaction, a real estate contract is needs to be used so that the parties have a record of the terms of their agreement. A written real estate contract is generally required by law for the sale to be legally enforceable. 

Thus, most real estate disputes will revolve around an analysis of the contract. If the parties can’t resolve their issues by reviewing the contract, they may have to resort to a lawsuit or judicial intervention. In cases involving mortgage debt or other types of debts, the property may even be sold through the instruction of the court. 

What Are some Typical Remedies in a Residential Real Estate Dispute?

Some common remedies in a real estate dispute may include:

  • Monetary damages for economic losses caused to another party
  • Judicial sale (court-order sale of the home, with proceeds going to t0he creditors)
  • Injunction (court order to compel a party to take action, such as delivering a deed)

Proving damages in a residential real estate dispute may be complicated.  It usually requires much documentation and can involve issues like taxes and mortgage agreements.  In some limited instances, criminal violations can also be involved, for example where one party acts with malicious intent.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I’ve Been Involved in a Residential Real Estate Conflict?

Residential real estate conflicts can often be very troublesome to deal with.  However, there can be a lot on the line in such disputes, and therefore it’s essential to contact a lawyer if you need legal advice.  An experienced lawyer can help represent your interests in the event that you need to go to court.  Real estate laws are different in each state, but your lawyer will be able to provide you with expert legal advice and assistance.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-19-2015 02:24 PM PST

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