Buy Land – Not Law!
Each transaction in the field of real estate poses potential legal issues. Sellers and buyers sometimes sue real estate agents or brokers, based on common or statutory law. If a property is misrepresented to you, or an important defect is not disclosed, this means that your broker or agent has not handled his job in a lawful manner.
The Housing Market Today
The real estate market is stronger today than it has been recently. This gives sellers some advantages, but buyers have rights, too. Several claims are listed below.
- Misrepresentation – This is a more common type of lawsuit than any other, when it comes to brokers. It involves misstating some feature of a property or not revealing a problem.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Agency Problems – These may arise if a transaction problem leads one part to seek legal advice. The attorney may ask who represented the party, and this may lead to suits against brokers and salespeople.
- Fair Housing Law Infractions – These lawsuits only account for about one or two percent of cases, but judgments can be quite costly. Local or state laws may add new classes to discrimination laws passed by the federal government.
- Antitrust Suits – This type of law prevents restraint of trade. They include group boycotts and price fixing. Brokers who compete for your business should never discuss commission rates or compensation offered to cooperating brokers.
- Misleading or False Advertising Suits Antitrust Suits – These suits address some Internet advertising, which is hot right now. All advertising must comply with applicable regulations or laws, and the Code of Ethics for Realtors®. Some states have already adopted new rules that govern Internet advertising and the use of online bulletin boards and email.
Buying an Infamous House
You probably have a long list of the things you want in your next house. You may desire:
- Lots of room
- Adequate distance from neighbors
- Ground level master bedroom
You would be happy to be shown a 2,000 square foot home with acreage for a lot less than you expect. If it sounds too good to be true… you know the rest. As it turns out, the house may be priced low because a crime occurred there, or a criminal lived there. In some cases, houses where people have died, even of natural causes, are harder to sell if buyers know about the death.
If you are superstitious, the thought of someone dying in a house may cause you to look for a different home. It affects some people that way, but others may snag the house at a bargain price.
Looking at crime houses in a different way, you will see that it is harder to sell homes with a stigma attached. They generally sit on the market longer, and usually sell for less than the average price in the area.
Sellers of houses with a history of crime have a disadvantage, even in today’s market. If you don’t mind the extra psychic baggage, you can offer even less than a low asking price, and purchase a larger house for less money.