Common Real Estate Disputes And How To Avoid Them
Property disputes happen more often than we’d think, due to the numerous issues and complexities that can arise between neighboring properties. Whether they involve boundary disputes, zoning issues, or some other problem, property disputes can flare up from time to time – often when purchasing or selling real estate.
A property dispute typically becomes a legal dispute involving real estate in some capacity. Obviously, this is something every property owner, neighbor, or potential buyer hopes to avoid at all costs. Resolving a property dispute can be time consuming and costly. The best way to address property disputes is to keep them from coming up in the first place.
Below are some common real estate disputes, and ways to avoid them:
- Property Line Disputes. In urban and rural areas alike, property boundaries can get blurred or mistaken over time. Property owners might plant trees or build fences over sections of property they (and even their neighbor) believe was on the correct side of the property line. Later on, they might find out they were wrong the whole time and a fence must be moved, or trees cut down. When property owners don’t take the time to make sure improvements are made on their own side of the property boundary, the cost to fix the mistake later can be far more expensive than the cost to have a property survey done beforehand. Ideally, neighboring property owners will clear up any property line issues between themselves, rather than leaving it for a future buyer to discover a costly error.
- Non-Disclosure of Defects. In a perfect world, buyers could expect complete transparency and honesty from sellers when it comes to known defects on the property. This is especially true for defects that are difficult to detect on a walk-through of the property (for example, issues with plumbing, wiring, or a home’s foundation). Unfortunately, sellers might intentionally overlook certain issues in their eagerness to unload a property to the potential buyer. If a defect is discovered after the sale closes, the seller could be subject to a lawsuit as a result. Property condition disclosure laws in New York seek to safeguard buyers and sellers in real estate transactions – presuming that both parties to the sale due their due diligence. Clearing up issues related to defects before a sale closes can be critical to avoiding long-term legal headaches down the road.
- Contract Disputes. A contract to purchase a home is a binding legal document that requires both parties to meet certain conditions within the contract. It also sets rules and requirements that both parties must follow to make the sale happen and hold up, legally, after closing. These terms can include purchase price, contingencies, description of the property, financing, the closing date, and other critical terms. If one party fails to follow through in any of these aspects, part or all of the deal can fall apart. In more serious cases, it can lead to a lawsuit between one party and another. Other real estate contracts – such as commercial leases or broker agreements – are also legally actionable documents that can lead to litigation if either party fails to follow through on the terms. It helps in these situations to gain legal advice during the contract process instead of requiring legal help after a contract is breached.
Our Bronx and Westchester Real Estate Attorneys Can Help You Avoid Property Disputes Before They Start
Real estate transactions can be rewarding for buyers and sellers alike, but they can also involve potential pitfalls that frustrate a sale or even lead to a lawsuit. Our proven Bronx & Westchester real estate attorneys at Cavallo & Cavallo have decades of experience in the New York real estate market and can help identify potential problems in a real estate sale – and prevent a dispute before it starts. Contact us today for help.