Brian M. Douglas & Associates, LLC.

What Issues Can Come Up In Real Estate Transactions?


What May Be Some Common Title Issues That Would Hold Up A Real Estate Transaction?

Some common real estate issues seen are cases where someone has died and there is an issue in the chain of title, an open mortgage and things of that nature. Two or three people could have purchased the property since but a bank may have had a mortgage on it that they never canceled. Even though it’s believed it has been canceled, the bank won’t let you go forward, so then they have to work to get that canceled.

Liens also happen a great deal of time. For example, somebody has their ex-wife on a title who was sued and didn’t pay her credit card bills and all of a sudden, there is a $10,000 American Express judgment on their credit card bill. The husband, who owns the property from the divorce decree may say, “I own the property.” However, he has to pay a $10,000 judgment in order to sell the house.

Things like past due taxes, homeowner’s association liens, where people don’t pay their HOA dues and then they are liened, those are the common title issues. Sometimes, even bankruptcy is the issue, where people end up in a bankruptcy, and attorneys have to then deal with that.

When It Comes To The Transactions, Do People Typically Go With The Standard Listing Agreement That’s Provided By Realtors Or Do They Go With A Custom Agreement Designed By An Attorney?

In residential real estate, it’s generally the standard contracts and agreements that would be used. These include the listing agreement, the buyer’s agreement, and the purchase and sale agreement for the contract.

You venture into the unknown when you get into ‘special stipulations.’ There is a form contract that everybody uses but that can be amended and special stipulations can be added into it to cover specifics of the property. There are any number of reasons why you would want any special stipulations. A lot of time the agents will just negotiate themselves and write out those terms, which may cause problems. Anything drafted by real estate agents and generally non-attorneys is not technically written in the way it should be. Although you may understand what they are saying or what they are trying to get at, anything that is subject to speculation is subject to two different interpretations.

The seller is going to interpret it in their favor, whereas the buyer is going to interpret it in their favor. This causes problems at the closing table where you’re at a standoff because they both see the same paragraph in two different ways. When you get into those special stipulations, it’s often really good to have an attorney review or write those.

A lot of real estate agents will do that. They have attorneys they work closely with either in their office or they will call the attorney. Real estate agents who work with attorneys can call them and say, “Hey, we’re trying to do this. Can you take a look at some language I wrote?” or, “Can you help me with this and can we talk through it?” The attorneys will them try to draft it in a way that makes it very crystal clear and concrete and not subject to that multiple interpretations.

Title Issues Are Common In Real Estate Transactions. For details, call the law office of Attorney Brian Douglas for an initial consultation at (770) 933-9009 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

Brian M. Douglas, Esq.

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