So, you got yourself a buyer and you’re planning to sell a property. It sounds pretty much like a walk in the park. You’re thinking you can earn a few thousand dollars for flipping an old house. Well, it’s certainly possible. But do be careful. Real estate lawsuits are nothing new. And in a society where there are over 40 million lawsuits filed in just a year, you could be facing legal trouble, biting off more than you can chew.
Of course, there are ways you can steer clear of legal trouble. Think of the time when you’re in grade school. There are those students who for one reason or two always make it to the principal’s office. They cause trouble. Then there are also students who are teacher’s pets. They are trusted and are given authority. All this tells you who you’re dealing with can go a long way in staying out of a tight situation. Here’s why.
Why a Lawsuit is the Last Thing You Need?
Proceed with caution. If you think a lawsuit won’t be able to bring you down, think again. If you’re not careful, it could.
The story of a property owner who for some reason was unable to pay a hired roofer the agreed amount of $3,500 on contract. Wanting to recover his losses, the roofer went to court. After legal proceedings, the court passed judgment telling the owner to pay the roofer $3,500. All seemed well but no.
The roofer wanted to be compensated for attorney’s fees and other costs. In the end, the homeowner had to pay $35,000, an amount ten times the original bill.
Now, the court found a way to help itself to the owner’s money which could include doing away with his home.
Take note that when you lose in court, you’d be asked to disclose everything you own, all of your assets. And that means your car, your life savings, and your home.
Now, you might think that you can lie to the court of your assets. No, sir. A creditor may seek an asset hearing where you’ll be made to appear in court. Then, you’d be asked about your various assets under oath. Worse, you’d be made to produce documentation. Submitting forged documents could lead you to more legal troubles.
And that’s not all. All the legal proceedings could mean you won’t have total command on your schedule. The court can schedule you to appear, giving your business a hard time.
How Not to Be Sued?
The first big step you can do is to consult the experts every step of your real estate transaction from start to finish. A trusted civil litigation lawyer should come in handy. Not only can a good lawyer defend you well in court should cases arise, but he can also ensure that you never get into legal trouble, real estate, and otherwise. In short, the legal professional can guide you every step of your real estate deal.
Know that there are unscrupulous people whose main agenda is to leave you dry of precious cash. It’s paramount therefore that you chose your clients carefully. Watch for telltale signs of possible trouble ahead. People with anger management issues, for one, may not be worth locking your horns with. In this regard, due diligence should be done prior to taking on a buyer or a seller. If you think, they’re not a good fit, decline properly for you part ways amicably.
Another key aspect you should avoid is expectations. You should aim to clarify expectations right from the onset. If you want to sell a property that has issues, you could be sued if you don’t disclose such issues from the get-go. A good way to ensure communications are done with transparency is to keep things in writing. Don’t just rely on verbal communications.
So, if you have new updates about a property you’re selling or you’re buying, ensuring that your buyer or seller knows about it via email is wise.
Your Intention Matters
What is clear here is you should not be duplicitous. That means you should not seek ways so your actions can be misconstrued. Be transparent as possible. Don’t aim to mislead the other party. Instead, act in his best interest.
Take note that “failing to disclose important information” is grounds for a case against you. At the top of this list is not being candid about property defects. Then, there’s a breach of duty and breach of contract.
And yes, if things don’t pan out, learn to settle disputes out of court. And never initiate a proceeding. A legal dispute is bad for business. Your reputation can take a dive, not to mention exhaust you emotionally and financially.
Speaking of financial obligations, taking up liability insurance is essential. It’s for your own protection. Know that liability insurance is like a shock absorber. Should you lose a case, it can cover payouts to some degree.