How Should Buyers And Sellers Of Real Estate Address Issues With Properties?

One of the most basic legal requirements that come with selling real estate is the requirement to disclose any issues with a property. This presents challenges for both buyers and sellers. Take a look at what both sides should do if there are issues with a location.

Have a Professional Assess the Situation

Hiring a home inspector for residential needs or a property condition assessment consultant for commercial ones is a good starting point. Until you've fully documented what might be wrong with a property, it's hard to provide a detailed accounting of issues. If there are problems that go beyond the scope of the inspector's talents, such as roofing or foundation issues, you may have to hire an inspector with special knowledge in that field to dig deeper into the problem.

Bear in mind that neither side in a real estate deal should take the other's word for it on the condition of the property. This applies even if they've had an independent professional check the place out. You should always hire someone to conduct an inspection on your behalf, especially if you're ready to close the deal.

Retain Counsel

If there are problems with a property, it's best to contact a real estate law firm once they're known. An attorney can help you understand what disclosures you must make and how you ought to make them. The wording is important for sellers because these details can come back on them if a buyer makes an insurance claim or sues.

On the buyer's side of the equation, the same need for counsel from a real estate law firm applies. Ask a lawyer to review the supporting documents with the disclosures to determine if you have a case.

Address Concerns in Good Faith

The best strategy is to air concerns as soon as they're discovered. Ideally, a seller properly discloses everything so a buyer understands the situation before they make a purchasing decision. The two sides can then hash out who will need to fix what, and they can then put that language into the deal for the property.

Be aware, though, that the world isn't always ideal. Even if you try to make disclosures in good faith, problems can sneak past. You still want to make the other side aware of the problem as soon as possible after it becomes known. This will give you a leg up on remedying the situation, which might include the seller paying damages, sending someone to rectify the problem, or taking back the title and returning the buyer's money.