When it comes to property or real estate matters, there are many kinds of issues that can come up. From ownership-related issues to breach of contract, there are many things that can lead to real estate litigation if no resolution can be found. Every intelligent buyer or seller should learn the main causes of real estate litigation and how to handle them correctly.
Buying real estate, whether residential or commercial, is likely one of the most significant purchases a person makes. Some people may use their entire savings on their new home or on starting a business in a new space so it is an important transaction.
The buying or selling process requires several steps as per the Texas real estate law, so there are chances that a conflict may occur in this transaction.
In this post, we’ll discuss what real estate litigation is, what the litigation process entails, and the top causes of property litigation. You’ll also find some helpful tips to avoid real estate litigation in the first place.
What Is Real Estate Litigation?
Real estate litigation includes any type of dispute arising out of the real property or one’s interest in real property. This type of litigation could consist of a dispute arising out of the ownership rights, the acquisition of the property, a contract to lease a property, or other interests in a property.
For example, a property dispute arising out of an acquisition transaction could be a breach of contract or not fulfilling the agreements in the contract of sale.
Real estate litigation occurs when one party files a property lawsuit against the other party due to any reasons that revolve around a particular piece of property.
What Does the Real Estate Litigation Process Entail?
Real estate litigation is a complex process and involves multiple steps. When you decide to file a real estate lawsuit against someone with the help of Texas real estate lawyers from a leading law firm, the case progresses as follows:
Initial Review of the Evidence Provided by You
The process starts with our attorneys reviewing the photographs, documents, and other evidence you provide. These essential documents can play a crucial role in evaluating your case.
The attorneys also list additional items they may need from you and gather any other relevant evidence needed to build the case. This might include copies of permits, lot maps, witness statements, and more. The team of experienced real estate attorneys at the Kelly Legal Group will work diligently to make everything go smoothly, with as little work for you as possible.
Quick Search of the Record Owner
Generally, all real estate litigations involve searching the records to obtain the deed to determine who has the title to the property. Moreover, this step makes it easier for the attorneys to ensure that you hold possession of the property and are, in fact, the owner of it.
Attorneys don’t research or find the property’s title, and you might need to engage a company that specializes in finding titles. The attorneys help you understand if the titles are clear or if there are some encumbrances on the title.
Once our real estate lawyers read through the documents and evidence submitted by you, we schedule a meeting with you to go over everything. In the meeting, our attorneys learn what outcomes you wish for and tell you the realistic resolution you can expect based on our experience in handling real estate litigations in Austin, Texas. We will develop a strategy to present your case in the best way possible in order to reach your desired outcomes.
The case evaluation phase does not guarantee an outcome, but it aims at providing you with an in-depth analysis and the potential outcomes you can expect.
Sending a Demand Package to the Other Party (party at-fault)
After our attorneys are clear on your position and accumulate the facts to support your claim, we prepare a demand package based on the evaluation of the case. The Kelly Legal Group will take care of the formalities required to reach out to the other side, and our lawyers will inform you once we receive a response from the other party or their legal team.
Response and Negotiations
Not every real estate dispute settles before a trial, still, we still try to negotiate with the other party to help you both come to an agreeable conclusion. After we hear a response from the opposing side, we schedule a date for the negotiations.
In case when we don’t hear a response from them, we commence the process of filing a case after your approval. The negotiation phase could take several months and we will continue the negotiation even after filing a lawsuit.
Our lawyers go above and beyond to bring out a resolution from the negotiation that is fair for you, else, we proceed to the next step. We are not afraid to argue a case in court.
Filing A Real Estate Lawsuit
If the negotiations don’t reach a satisfying conclusion, we help you file a case with the appropriate court and start the process of what’s known as real estate litigation. Our attorneys go to the trial on a regular basis as asked by the court. As a reliable real estate legal services firm in Austin, we ensure that you get the justice you deserve.
Discovery and Trial Preparation
Filing a real estate lawsuit takes time; meanwhile, our lawyers commence the discovery and trial preparations. This process involves exchanging documents and consulting experts to build a strong case to present to the judges.
The Kelly Legal Group schedules meetings to review the response, and after we receive it from the other party, we provide you with some sample questions based on the problems in the case.
The Final Negotiation
We again try to help you end the dispute by negotiating with the party at-fault to come to a favorable outcome for you. Our experienced team of real estate lawyers works hard to reach a fair compromise that can result in the final settlement.
However, if the negotiation does not reach a settlement, we move into litigation, and our lawyers will work with you toward winning the case.
The trial is the last step of real estate litigation and can last for several months, depending on the complexities involved in the case. This is the phase where you present your case and all your supporting evidence to the court. The jury or the judge listens to you and the other party before announcing their final judgment.
At the Kelly Legal Group, we offer every service you could need from a real estate litigation lawyer in Austin or the surrounding area. From evaluating your case and collecting evidence to filing a claim and arguing in court, we do everything that helps you get the judgment in your favor.
Our real estate lawyers are experts in negotiations, so chances are we can help you resolve the dispute before it reaches the trial phase. It’s the right time to take action against the at-fault party before things get out of hand. Call us at 512-505-0053, and we’ll get to work on your real estate disputes.
10 Causes of Real Estate Litigation: Why Does It Happen?
With the real estate in Austin, Texas selling like hotcakes, disputes surrounding the property closing process are getting more and more common. There isn’t just one reason but a plethora of situations that can end in real estate litigation.
Below are some common causes of real estate litigation that every buyer and seller should know about.
Failure to Disclose Construction Defects
At the time of showing or selling the property, a seller or the real estate agent must disclose any known or un-evident defects that could leave a dent in the property’s value. If the property buyer finds an undisclosed property defect after closing, they have the right to sue the seller because they failed to disclose the issues.
However, for a “failure to disclose” lawsuit to be successful, the buyer or the plaintiff must prove to the court that the seller knew about the defects and intentionally concealed them.
The “failure to disclose” lawsuit can be extremely complex because it is hard to prove that the seller did the whole thing intentionally and knowingly. Therefore, it makes sense to appoint the best Texas real estate attorneys from the Kelly Legal Group to prosecute this case.
Breach of Contract
One of the most common reasons why people go to court for real estate cases is a breach of contract. There are multiple terms in a real estate contract, such as closing date, clearance, assets included, and more.
When the buyer or the seller fails to fulfill any of the promises mentioned in the contract of sale or another real estate contract, it is considered a breach of contract.
If one of the parties is able to prove that a breach of contract occurred, that party can claim compensation by showing the damages they suffered because of the breach. Or because of the failure of another party in fulfilling the promises.
Breach of Duty or Negligence
Breach of duty or negligence cases usually occur when real estate agents get involved in the transaction. The real estate agents must act in their client’s best interest and not in the interest of the seller or any other third party. Moreover, real estate agents are required to keep their client’s sensitive information, such as financial details, private.
Another duty of a real estate agent is to disclose any information regarding the property or the seller that may help their client make a decision or can benefit them in some other way. The culmination of this sensitive information and requirements means that the realtors or realtor should perform all their services to the best of their abilities and knowledge.
Failing to do so, going against any of the rules, or acting negligently may result in a breach of duty, which opens the scope for real estate litigation.
For example, if the real estate agent knows that the property has several defects/issues and they fail to tell their client about the problems because they were getting a commission from the sale or any other reason, it can be considered a breach of duty.
After consulting the lawyers, the client or the buyer has the legal right to file a lawsuit against the realtor or seller for unlawful practices.
If the buyer and seller involved in a real estate transaction do not correctly set forth the property lines, it can lead to real estate litigation. In many cases, property boundaries are not properly registered. The practical property lines that are used by people living around the property are not consistent with the legally registered property line, which could lead to a dispute.
However, there’s an easy way a seller can opt to fend off any kind of real estate dispute – researching the legal boundaries of the property. After researching the boundaries, you can talk to your real estate attorney about pursuing action to make sure you are allowed to use all of your legal property and can stop any neighbors from overstepping.
Building inspection companies have made it easier for buyers to find defects in a property. In most contracts of sale, the sellers agree to make the repairs as the buyer requests. However, the quality of the repairs made to the property may not be sufficient in some cases.
Faulty or improper repairs can lead to real estate litigation, as the buyer can file a lawsuit against the seller claiming they acted fraudulently. If the realtor is also involved, the seller can file a lawsuit against them as well if they didn’t tell them about the quality of the repairs.
An easement is a pre-existing agreement pertaining to a specific property or a piece of land. If an entity or any person has an easement on the property, they have the right to use the property for a certain time and specific purpose, no matter who owns the property or piece of land.
Before completing a real estate transaction, the seller must disclose any easements to the buyer as it can affect their purchasing decision. Undisclosed easements can result in the need for real estate litigation because the buyer was unaware the entity was lawfully granted access to the property until the end of the easement.
The title of a property can have encumbrances such as a mortgage or lien associated with it. It becomes difficult for the seller to sell the specific property with these encumbrances because other parties, such as the lender, can claim the ownership if they fail to repay the mortgage.
According to property law, the title cannot be transferred to another entity without disclosing these encumbrances. Also, the real estate closing can’t be done before getting the title checked, so the buyer is safe, but these factors can have an impact on the value of the property.
The sellers must disclose encumbrances that might affect the title of the property and give the right to some other party to claim ownership.
Breach of Construction Contract
Landowners and real estate investors enter contracts with their construction companies. The construction contract outlines the scope of the work the construction company is obliged to complete. Additionally, the document outlines the risks and legal rights of both parties.
Any failure to fulfill the duties outlined in the contract can lead to real estate litigation.
Sometimes, lenders may seek ownership of a property if the mortgage is deemed to be in default in a process called foreclosure. The property owners can fight back against this process by filing a real estate lawsuit against the lender if there are some violations of foreclosures.
These violations can be cited as a reason for halting the foreclosure process. However, you need a professional real estate attorney to help you understand the violations and whether they apply to your situation. The attorney will help you file a lawsuit against the lender, and fight for your rights throughout the case.
The approach to buying a condominium in Austin is slightly different from buying a house. There are several responsibilities involved depending on the condominium associations. Any failure to meet these responsibilities can lead to real estate litigation.
Such scenarios commonly include common area responsibilities, deceptive practices, contract disputes, and more.
Some other causes of real estate litigation in Austin, Texas, include:
Real property with more than one owner can be an object of a dispute when the joint owners, co-owners, joint tenants, co-tenants, or other partners disagree over a broad array of issues. These disputes may only be resolved through real estate litigation.
Real Estate Fraud
Real estate fraud involves a variety of situations, such as one party threatening the other to sign the contract of sale or the seller misrepresenting their right to the property. Such scenarios can attract litigation, and the affected party can file a lawsuit against the party at fault in order to protect their rights.
When one of the parties involved in a real estate transaction fails to perform a duty outlined in the contract and a specific performance action forces the other party (affected) to make a decision that may involve extra expenses, it can result in real estate litigation.
6 Tips to Avoid Real Estate Transaction Disputes and Prevent Litigation
Whether you are the buyer or the seller, real estate litigation can be a taxing and exhausting process. It would be great if you could avoid the disputes, which would make the real estate transaction a smooth process.
Here are six tips everyone involved in a real estate transaction should follow:
Appoint and Involve a Real Estate Lawyer from the Beginning
If there is someone who knows everything a successful real estate transaction needs and is well aware of the disputes that can arise, it’s an experienced Texas real estate lawyer. Whether you are a seller or a buyer, you must have the best property lawyers by your side to ensure your interests are covered.
A real estate law firm ensures that you are doing everything according to the law while reducing the risks of property litigation. Attorneys will review the contract of sale and other documents to ensure that everything is correct as stated by the seller or realtor.
Kelly Legal Group is a trusted name when it comes to the best real estate attorneys in Austin. Our lawyers will assist you throughout the buying or selling process while protecting your legal rights and looking out for your best interests.
Call us today at (512) 505-0053 to discuss your case and to speak with the most experienced attorneys for your real estate transaction.
Put Everything in Writing
Usually, verbal statements are not considered solid ground to litigate against someone. Therefore, everything should be put in writing. Whether you are asking the buyer for some repairs or anything else that both parties mutually decide, it should be put on paper and signed by both parties to be legally valid.
A real estate attorney can help you create contracts or add clauses to an existing contract for your benefit.
Document Every Step of the Transaction
Before the transaction reaches closing, it has to go through several phases such as negotiations, disclosures, inspections, and more. You must document every step in order to make sure you are getting everything you requested.
Suppose you speak to the seller about something over the telephone, and those instructions aren’t mentioned in the contract. You can keep notes of the call and ask your lawyers to add a clause then send the amended contract to the seller for review.
You are going to spend a large amount of money, so it’s imperative to communicate openly to learn everything in detail. Whether you are a new buyer or a seasoned one, there may be some things you’d hesitate to discuss, and that’s where real estate lawyers can help.
A Texas attorney can help you throughout the process and will review every single document so you understand every aspect of the purchase. You will learn about all laws and legalities required to make a sound financial decision.
Consider Mediation to Settle Disputes
Real estate litigation can last for up to several months, depending on the complexity of the case. A better way out of this situation is to take the dispute to a mediator who can help you settle matters.
Our extensive experience in the real estate industry makes the Kelly Legal Group an excellent choice for your real estate legal services. Buyers and sellers can hire us to serve as mediators, and we will help you settle the case without filing a lawsuit.
In addition, if things don’t come to a conclusion, you can file a lawsuit against the other party with the help of our experienced attorneys.
Follow the Right Approach
Buying or selling a real property involves multiple steps, and there’s a specific approach to navigate the transaction successfully. Some sellers or buyers try to cut corners in order to save time or money, which may lead to litigation in the end.
You should follow the correct approach by completing all steps to ensure you don’t miss anything. A real estate lawyer will have the skill, training, and experience to guide you through the entire process with the correct approach.
Kelly Legal Group: Making Real Estate Transactions Smooth, Hassle-Free, and Easy
At the Kelly Legal Group, we are the best real estate law services firm to help you understand each step of a real estate transaction while protecting your interests throughout the process.
Whether you want help with a real estate closing or to file a property lawsuit against another party, our attorneys help Texas real estate investors protect their current and future property transactions from unforeseen issues. We offer free consultations for new clients so they can learn about our proven track record and robust services before deciding whether to hire us. You will not regret choosing us!
Call us at 512-505-0053 or contact us online to speak to a seasoned Texas real estate attorney, and get the legal services you need.