Real estate litigation commonly arises from “self-help issues”, or a situation where an individual attempts to resolve a dispute through their own unsanctioned action. This is never advisable, as it can easily lead to further escalation and potentially less civil confrontations. In the video below, Mr. Gupta discusses a situation where a disputed property line ran through one party’s driveway. In order to block this access point the other party erected a low cinderblock wall along the property line. This action only exacerbated the situation, as the erection was unsanctioned in first place, but even its removal would be grounds for further dispute.
One must weigh their options carefully in this or any similar scenario. Attempting to resolve the dispute on one’s own is unwise and possibly even dangerous. Additionally, litigation can be costly, protracted, and may not even produce a desirable outcome. In addressing a property line dispute it is always important to consult one’s title company. While they may not be able to directly intervene, they may be able to provide relief depending on one’s policy, property type, etc..
It is important to remember that, while these scenarios may seem uncommon, any property purchase is a major investment and significant legal process, so steps should be taken to guard against any eventualities. Mr. Sewing cites an enlightening statistic: of the top five legal issues in a recent study real estate disputes were the most common, with 21 percent of respondents reporting issues in that category. One should start by considering if they will need an attorney for their buying process, though some states mandate this regardless. This is, of course, a product of the very nature of real estate deals, wherein all parties have a vested financial interest in the deal closing. Thus, a neutral party can be invaluable in ensuring propriety and avoiding future issues.
Particularly for one’s first property acquisition, it is essential to recognize the moving parts that may cause problems. H.O.A.s are a major consideration. It is highly recommended that a potential buyer review their C.C.R. and even the association’s meeting minutes in order to ascertain exactly the standards that must be followed, the general attitude of the community, and potential issues inherent in neighboring properties. Joint purchasers should always protect themselves and each other through legal representation, as well as those purchasing commercial property (link to partition actions post). An attorney can also mitigate risk by helping draft a trust and examining one’s title policy and mortgage agreement to ensure all due propriety. It is well known that much trouble can come from signing unread contracts but it continues to be a problem for the average consumer who is not necessarily well-versed in the language of these documents.