Real estate disputes can be a real bummer. The cost of real estate lawyers and going to court to settle your real estate dispute makes a huge dip into the profits of selling the property if you are the seller, and it adds that much more to the cost if you’re the buyer. Before taking your real estate dispute through the legal process, try these tactics:
Six Secrets for Settling Real Estate Disputes Without Going to Court
- Look at the root of the issue.
You’ve heard the story of how the fire that burned down the entire city of Chicago in 1871 was started when a cow kicked over a lantern. Sometimes the smallest issues can lead to devastating results in the real estate process. Perhaps a slight deviation in the real estate contracts has caused the dispute. Address the deviation and work on remediation for that issue, rather than burning the entire contract. This is a simple approach, but could save you thousands of dollars, and headaches if it gets your dispute settled without going to court.
- Put the issue in perspective.
Sometimes the emotional aspect of a real estate dispute can cloud your judgement. However, in real estate, the main goal is to make money, or spend as little as you can to acquire the real estate in question. It comes down to numbers, not emotions. Yes, making a concession you hadn’t planned to make might cost you a few thousand dollars, but the cost of going through court, having the whole deal fall through, having to relist and show it again will cost far more than that.
- Make compromises.
Most people have a sense of fairness. If you can’t see eye to eye with the other party, maybe it just takes being willing to give a little to meet in the middle.
- Document and then document more.
Real estate disputes, as with marital disputes, most often stem from a break down in communication. The other party assumed that you agreed to cover this expense, and you assumed they were, neither of you ever got it in writing though.
For this reason, the more documentation you get ahead of time, the less likely you are to have a dispute at all. If you’re knee-deep in a disagreement, the more documentation you have, the easier it will be straighten it out. This involves making sure your contract is as comprehensive as you can. In the meantime, always communicate via e-mail. E-mails offer you a convenient, searchable record of any information that was passed between you and the other party.
- Always be respectful throughout the dispute process.
It’s completely normal and acceptable to feel a range of emotions about the dispute. Maybe you feel frustrated, impatient, taken advantage of, and tired of dealing with the mess. However, try to compartmentalize the way you feel with how you handle the situation. If you let your emotions take over and treat the other party aggressively, it will not help you all come to a common solution. In fact, the other party is less likely to be willing to compromise and work with you if they feel combative with you. You should advocate for yourself, and remain firm, but do so while being respectful to the opposing party.
- Know when to obtain a real estate lawyer.
Many people assume that you only need a real estate lawyer if your dispute is headed for court. However, you can save yourself the trip to court, or potentially losing the deal altogether, by harnessing yourself with a lawyer from the get-go. Your real estate attorney will make sure that your best interests are supported through the dispute process, and most of all, that the laws that protect you as a real estate buyer or a seller followed. The earlier you have a real estate lawyer involved in the process, the better. Once you have a lawyer, you should not deal with the opposing party directly at all; that’s your lawyer’s job.
Having real estate disputes can be a big bummer, but they are not uncommon. Every property is unique, and so every real estate deal is unique. Knowing how to handle a dispute before it happens will save you a huge amount of money, and a trip to Johnny Law.
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