By Lorne Welwood
Real estate transactions usually involve a lot of money, often representing the most expensive transaction a person ever enters into.
Problems may arise with the potential for the deal to fall through and/or lead to losses. If the parties are cooperative, they may resolve these problems. Today’s column will introduce a few issues that I plan to address in more detail in future columns.
Unlike many other kinds of contracts, binding contracts for the purchase and sale of real estate must be in writing, contain all the essential terms and be signed by the parties.
Failure to Disclose
One of the top disputes between buyers and sellers is the alleged failure to disclose defects or material facts that may have affected the buyer’s decision to purchase the property or the price they would pay.
Purchase Contract Issues
Many realtors use standard forms which include sections that need to be filled in. However, there are matters that are not easy to word in a contract of this nature which can sometimes lead to inaccurate information.
Not Acting in Best Interest
Sometimes a real estate transaction involves a third party: disputes involving realtors. A buyer or seller may believe that an agent is not acting in their best interest.
Another issue confronted in real estate transactions is disputes over the deposit. If the transaction does not go through, the parties may disagree as to who should retain the deposit. This is a legal issue that must be determined under provincial law.
There may be some other type of legal issue such as a restrictive covenant that impacts the property or an easement may be requested. The boundary line may be in dispute. Certain provisions may be requested by the buyer or seller that are not part of the standard real estate purchase contract.
Disputes between Owners
In some situations, the dispute is not actually between the buyer and seller but rather between multiple buyers. Parties may purchase real estate as tenants in common, through a trust, as joint tenants, as a partnership or through a corporation. The parties may not have a clear understanding of their rights and duties to the property.
Hire a Real Estate Lawyer
Many real estate transactions are not routine and require the assistance of a real estate lawyer. A real estate lawyer can prepare a purchase contract or review an existing contract to explain the buyer or seller’s rights and duties.