real property disputes california

Real estate purchase and sale arrangements are typically complex and involve large amounts of money changing hands, which together can provide fertile ground for disputes. When conflicts arise, creative solutions must be found to avoid disruptive and costly litigation.

Here are some of the most common real property disputes:

  • Contractual disagreements  There are many elements of a real estate contract. The deposits, inspection allowances, buyer’s financing arrangements, timing of the closing and other essential terms must all be included in the agreement. Many states and localities have standard form contracts. However, these do not always address every possible issue, and lawyers routinely add riders that are at times more complex than the contract itself. Buyers and sellers might not thoroughly read and understand the contract before signing, which can lead to disputes prior to or at closing.
  • Undisclosed defects  Real estate agreements require the seller to disclose known defects in the property to prospective buyers. However, some sellers either fail to disclose or deliberately conceal problems with the property. If a condition is discovered prior to the closing of title, the parties may disagree on whether the condition constitutes an actual defect. The dispute can often be resolved by giving the buyer a credit for anticipated remediation costs. If the defect is discovered post-closing, the matter could end up in court as a breach of contract action.
  • Agent’s breach of duty — When a transaction goes awry, the real estate agent may be partly at fault. Some agents, in order to keep a transaction on track, do not fulfill all their obligations. For example, they might allow a sale to go through despite a known and undisclosed defect in the property. In other instances, the agent might make a mistake that causes a major issue. This often happens when the agent fills out a form purchase and sale agreement and inputs a term improperly term or omits an important condition.
  • Boundary and easement disputes  During the course of a transaction, a title survey might reveal a property boundary issue with a neighbor or an easement granting use of the property by a third party. Fixing these problems can be costly and complicated. Whenever possible, the dispute should be handled as a negotiation over the sales price.

For sellers and buyers alike, contractual disputes are best approached by consulting with a qualified real estate lawyer who can determine the most promising options for resolution.

Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC is a full service California law firm with offices in Fairfield and Vallejo. We represent people in all aspects of real estate law throughout the North Bay area. If you have a pending transaction or are engaged in a dispute over real property, feel free to contact us online or call 707-674-6057 for a consultation.