Real estate disputes are common in Florida and throughout the United States. Whether it’s a disagreement over property lines or a realtor failing to disclose defects of a home, these disagreements can easily blow up into lengthy and costly legal battles.
Usually, these conflicts are entirely avoidable, but knowing how to avoid them is not always clear. Read on to learn more about the three top reasons a real estate deal goes to litigation and what you can do about it.
Breach of Duty
Under Florida law, realtors and their agents have a legal duty to act in the best interest of their clients. This means they must provide their services to the best of their ability for their clients at all times. If they focus on the benefit of a third-party or sales agent, they are breaching this duty. For example, they would violate this requirement if they fail to inform their clients of all offers made or receive fees from other agencies in exchange for not negotiating for a lower price.
Not Disclosing Defects of the Property
Another common source of real estate litigation is a seller failing to disclose known property defects, even if these issues are not readily evident at the time of sale. If you’re a buyer that has found such a defect after closing on a new home, for example, you may have grounds to take legal action. For instance, if your basement floods after heavy rain and the seller knew of this issue but did not mention it.
Breach of Contract
Finally, breach of contract suits is another frequent reason real estate disputes develop. These often arise when promised repairs are not completed, or another real estate transaction agreement provision is not fulfilled.
Tips to Avoid Real Estate Disputes
With everything that can go wrong in a real estate deal, how can one avoid a dispute? Fortunately, there are several steps you can take before entering any sales, rental, or repair agreement to spot issues before they cause a problem:
Before You Buy, Do Your Research
A title search is critical before purchasing any property. Knowing that the title is free and clear of any liens, tax obligations, or deed defects can help you uncover potential landmines before you buy and hopefully resolve them with the seller. Make sure that any search your real estate attorney conducts goes back at least 25 – 30 years.
Check the Deed for Errors
Whether you’re buying a foreclosed property and will use a sale deed or purchase your first family home and need a warranty deed, make sure these are accurate! Check and double-check all the information on these important documents, including the dates, spelling of names, and other related documentation. One mistake can cause significant trouble years later if you decide to sell.
Get Licensed Before You Build
The property you intend to build on may be subject to local zoning regulations, building codes, and construction licensing. So before you go out and purchase your supplies, make sure all of your plans and builder services have the necessary permits from your local municipality.
Inherited Property? Use Caution
Inherited property comes with its own unique issues. Whether you plan to bequeath your home, just received real estate as a gift, or are buying someone’s family home they were left by a relative, make sure the beneficiary name is correct on all relevant paperwork.
Always Have a Contract with Any Co-Owners
For situations where you share ownership of a property, have a contract in place on how it is to be managed, who has what obligations, and what each other’s rights are.
In a Property Dispute? Contact a Skilled Real Estate Litigation Attorney
Have you found yourself in a challenging real estate dispute that you aren’t sure how to resolve? Hiring a skilled real estate litigation attorney can make all the difference in these situations. The law office of Marc Brown, P.A., has extensive knowledge in the area of property disputes and the Florida laws that govern these issues.
Trust us to handle all of your real estate law needs, including litigation, quiet filings, demand letters, and mediation. Get more information today about your legal rights and what steps you should consider next. Contact our office and set up a free consultation today to learn more.