Buyer Beware: Common Legal Real Estate Issues After a Home Sale
In an ideal situation, your real estate transaction would go off without a hitch. The reality is that many real estate transactions may have tense moments and heated negotiations, but both parties typically walk away happy. In some cases, however, a legal real estate issue develops after closing. This type of issue can create a nightmarish situation with costly legal fees and various other issues for the seller or buyer to deal with. If you are preparing to move forward with the purchase or sale of property, it is wise to explore every possible legal real estate issue that may develop. These are among the more common issues that you may be faced with.
Easements and Right-of-Way Issues
Easements can impact how you use a property after you purchase it, and they can present a potential legal real estate issue that you need to learn more about. You can typically learn about easements on a property you are purchasing by reviewing the title documents that your title insurance company provides to you. Many title agents or real estate agents will clearly point out the easements to you and will take time to answer questions about them before you finalize your purchase. However, this is not always the case. Ultimately, it lies on you to read through the title documents you receive and to fully understand them before you sign off on your purchase. If you have already purchased a property with a burdensome easement in place, you can hire a real estate lawyer to help you remove the easement.
Failure to Disclose Property Issues
Sellers are required to disclose many details about the property through a specific disclosure. As a buyer, you are required to sign this disclosure. Some buyers will sign the disclosure without taking time to read it fully, and this can be dangerous. A property disclosure may provide you with information about mold growth on the property, previous water damage, damage to the foundation, and more. There are instances when the seller fails to disclose this information, and this creates a legal real estate issue if the buyer finds out about it after the sale is finalized. If this is the case with you, you may consider suing the previous owner for damages. Your attorney can provide you with more information about this option.
Claims to Your Property’s Title
Most properties have a clear chain of title that shows the transfer of ownership from one party to another over the years. However, in cases of divorce, death, and more, the chain of title can become fuzzy, and this can create a legal real estate issue. One individual may discover that he or she has the rights to the property and may lay claim to it. In many cases, the original or earliest valid claim to the property will be upheld in court. If this happens to you, you may lose the property. This can be stressful and costly to deal with. Title insurance is usually purchased during the real estate transaction that provides you with compensation for losses such as these. However, you and your family may find yourselves without a home for a period of time until you can make other living arrangements.
Fraud on Mortgage Documents
Any documents you provide to a mortgage company may be used for the lender’s decision-making process. This includes tax returns, pay stubs, divorce decrees, business income statements, and more. Some people will alter their documents intentionally in order to get approved for the loan. This is an example of fraud, and it may be a legal real estate issue for you to handle. If the lender determines that you committed fraudulent activity during the loan process, they may cancel the loan immediately. You may be faced with a housing issue as well as financial loss and criminal charges. If you have been told that you are being investigated for mortgage fraud, it is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible for this legal real estate issue.
The Assumption of Liability
Property owners assume significant liability in various ways. For example, if someone is injured on your property, such as through a dog bite or slip and fall accident, you may be required to pay for that individual’s medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Home insurance typically has a liability clause, so your insurance policy may pay most of these expenses. As a new property owner, it is important that you inspect your property carefully to determine if any potential liability risks are present. For example, is there a secure fence around your backyard pool? Is the fence gate secure and locked so that dogs cannot get out and neighborhood kids cannot get in? Is there a large crack in your front driveway that may be a tripping hazard? Take time to analyze the property carefully to determine the level of liability you face through the property and to rectify an area of concern before it becomes a legal real estate issue.
Homeowner’s Association Issues
A homeowner’s association is a legal entity, and it does have specific rights. When you purchase a home or condo in a community with an owner’s association, you are required to abide by its rules and pay associated dues and fees. If you fail to do so, the association can take legal action against you. For example, the association may be able to place a lien on your property if you fail to pay association dues. In most cases, association dues are brought current from the previous owner. However, if there is an oversight, you may find yourself in debt to the association immediately and facing pending legal issues as a result.
As you can see, there are numerous legal issues that you could face very soon after a real estate transaction in Long Beach has been completed. A legal real estate issue can be stressful and costly to deal with. You may avoid having to deal with a legal real estate issue yourself when you hire a skilled, experienced real estate agent to assist with your transaction. Evergreen Properties and Investments can assist with your upcoming transaction, so contact the office today to set up a consultation.
From the Author: My name is Dan Barcelon and I believe that Real Estate can be one of the most valuable assets you’ll ever own. I’m dedicated to educating and guiding my clients on how to manage and leverage their homes to create an Evergreen legacy for themselves and their family. I primarily consult both home buyers and home sellers on reaching their personal and financial goals through Real Estate in the following cities of Southern California: Long Beach, Carson, Cerritos, Signal Hill, Torrance, Lakewood, Cypress, Downey, Bellflower, Norwalk, Wilmington, La Palma, and Artesia.
If you’d like to discuss if buying, selling, or investing in real estate is right for you at this time, feel free to reach out. You can call/text me at 562-270-5812, or you can e-mail me at danb@EPIrealestate.biz.