The most common issue that I see when it comes to real estate purchase and sale agreements are disclosures. Oftentimes, a party in one of these agreements will fail to disclose the true nature of some part of the property. This might be a known defect, like an easement, electrical easement, or water easement. This may be water damage from a flood, or an ongoing electrical problem.
It is a violation of Arizona law to fail to disclose something on your required disclosures. However, just because someone doesn’t disclose something doesn’t mean the entire transaction is voided. Sometimes there are other potential remedies, including having the party who failed to disclose the defect pay to have it fixed.
One of the most common undisclosed defects we encounter in these cases are cracks in a foundation. If we find that there are undisclosed cracks in a property’s foundation, we can work with the buyer and/or a seller in order to resolve those issues. By doing so, we can facilitate the sale of the property as planned, providing the issues get resolved. Eventually, the buyer will receive the property in the condition they expected when they first purchased it: that is, with a solid, firm foundation. My firm works with clients in order to ensure that they get what they expected, which in that case means making sure the foundation is properly taken care of.
Can a Buyer or Seller Back Out of Buying or Selling a Property After Signing a Purchase Agreement?
Any party can back out of buying or selling a property, even after signing a purchase agreement. There are provisions within the standard Arizona Buyer and Purchaser Agreement that allow parties to back out, in addition to other avenues. Disclosure issues, for instance, can be cause for a party to back out of a deal if no alternative is possible or palatable. Some disclosure issues really go to the heart of the deal. For instance, let’s say the seller claimed that the property’s roof was repaired six months ago. If the buyer’s inspection revealed that not only had the roof not been repaired in 20 years, but that it needed to be repaired immediately, that might cause the seller to back out of the entire deal.
What are the Steps Involved in Resolving a Dispute Between a Buyer and a Seller?
The first step in that any of these processes, with any client, is to determine what the client wants. It is essential for an attorney to establish what the desired outcome is for their client.
Right now in Arizona, housing prices are going up very quickly. If, for instance, there is a disclosure issue—even a very large one—buyers may not want to back out of their established deals, because then they would be on the hook to find another property, which would probably already have risen in price. In the sort of market that exists in Arizona right now, buyers often would rather have the seller resolve the particular problem, whether it be a plumbing problem, an electrical problem, a zoning problem, or a permit problem, than lose the house completely.
Those are remedies that we can seek, but it really depends on what the client’s needs and desires are for their particular case.
How Can Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement Issues be Avoided?
The best way to avoid real estate purchase and sale agreement issues is to have an attorney review your contract before you actually sign it.
Lots of people shy away from hiring lawyers for these things, because they assume lawyers will cost them thousands and thousands of dollars. In fact, a typical real estate purchase agreement can be reviewed in a matter of a few hours. Depending on the attorney, this will run you $500-$1,000. This is a worthwhile cost for a professional to review and explain the contract, including all the necessary provisions. Many common issues that wind up actually costing people thousands and thousands of dollars can be easily avoided by investing in an attorney’s review.
This can be compared to purchasing a used car. If you are smart about purchasing a used car, you will take that car to be examined by a mechanic for around $300-$400. It’s worth it to invest in that mechanic’s services, because now you know what the issues are, what things you should look for, and any potential problems or hidden defects.
The same concept applies to an attorney for purchase and sale agreements. Invest that money so that a professional can take a look at things from the outset, and so that you can avoid any outstanding issues going forward.
What Can Hiring Your Firm do to Protect Our Interests in the Purchase or Sale of Real Estate?
The biggest advantage of hiring my firm is that we actually litigate cases, and we take a lot of cases to jury trials.
Many lawyers say they have a lot of litigation experience, but what they don’t have is actual trial experience. Litigation experience isn’t very useful if you don’t have actual trial experience. In the end, these issues will be decided by a jury. If your attorney’s entire litigation strategy is not based upon how you’re going to present your case to a jury in a way they can understand, and generally around what works in front of a jury, then you’re spending money that you don’t need to spend.
I’ve taken almost 50 cases to trial before a jury, including criminal, civil, federal and state issues in multiple states. I’ve seen many types of juries from all different types of communities, whether it be tribal cases, state cases, out-of-state cases, or federal cases. I know how to present cases to a jury. I know how to prepare my clients for speaking in front of a jury. I know how to prepare the issues and jury instructions to ensure that you will be able to present the best case possible.
For more information on Real Estate Disputes in Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 637-0240 today.