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The Remedy of Specific Performance for the Breach of a Real Estate Sales Contract

August 1, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

Our recent Blog posts on real estate law have discussed the claims a seller of property can bring against a buyer who breaches a real estate sales contract and also the claims a buyer may bring against the seller when a breach has occurred. One post has also covered the seller’s disclosure obligations when entering into a real estate sales contract. These posts have peripherally mentioned the remedy of specific performance without giving much additional detail. This post will delve further into this remedy and discuss when specific performance is available to a buyer or seller when the other party has breached the real estate sales contract.

Legal Actions the Buyer of Real Property can Bring When a Seller Breaches a Real Estate Sales Contract

July 22, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

In a prior post, this blog discussed the legal claims a seller of real estate can bring against a buyer when that buyer breaches the real estate sales contract. A buyer, on the other hand, also has various legal and equitable claims against the seller of real estate when the seller is unable to convey marketable title or if the seller has a duty to disclose certain defects but fails to make those disclosures. When the seller breaches, the buyer’s claims will largely depend upon the terms of the sales contract, along with the buyer’s underlying goals. This blog post will describe the various legal actions that buyers of real estate can bring against a seller when that seller breaches the real estate sales contract.

A Seller’s Disclosure Obligations When Entering Into a Real Estate Sales Contract

July 16, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

Before entering into a contract to sell a piece of real estate to a prospective buyer, a seller is obligated to disclose certain things to the buyer. When the seller fails to make those proper disclosures, the buyer has available several legal and equitable remedies that he or she can bring against that seller. This is because, under Florida law, a seller’s failure to disclose certain conditions is considered a breach of the real estate sales contract. But a seller does not always have a duty to disclose, meaning the buyer is still subject to the doctrine of caveat emptor in some situations. This blog post discusses when the seller of real estate is under a duty to disclose, what the seller is required to disclose and under what circumstances the seller has no obligation to disclose.

Legal Actions the Seller of Real Property can Bring When a Buyer Breaches a Real Estate Sales Contract

June 24, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

It is not a situation that sellers of real property want to find themselves in, but it is a situation that could easily happen to anyone. After months of hard work getting a property in pristine condition to lure prospective purchasers, and then finally procuring a buyer, the entire transaction suddenly unravels. Despite signing the real estate sales contract, the buyer decides to walk away or, worse yet, fails to show at closing. What is the seller to do? This Blog post will discuss that very scenario and describe the legal actions that sellers of real estate can bring against a buyer when the buyer breaches the real estate sales contract.

The Enforceability of Liquidated Damages Clauses in Real Estate Sales Contracts

June 18, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

Real estate sales transactions, and the underlying contracts precipitating those transactions, are constantly the source of litigation. Usually, the real estate sales contract will attempt to either limit the remedies available to the parties involved or specifically provide a predetermined amount for any monetary damages awarded through litigation. When a contract contains a provision for a predetermined monetary award for damages, that provision is called a “liquidated damages clause.” This Blog post will discuss the enforceability of liquidated damages clauses as they pertain to real estate sales contracts.

Real Estate Contracts, the Statute of Frauds, and Exceptions to the Statute of Frauds

June 11, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

The “statutes of frauds” is a doctrine of law that requires certain contracts to be in writing and signed by the person to be charged in order to be enforced. One such contract that falls under the statute of frauds is a contract for the sale of real property. Fla. Stat. § 725.01. Case law has placed additional requirements on contracts for the sale of real property, requiring them to be specific as to the parties involved, the subject matter, the parties’ obligations and the consideration. Minsky’s Follies of Fla., Inc. v. Sennes, 206 F.2d 1, 3 (5th Cir. 1953). If the underlying real estate sales contract is not certain and clear as to all of those items then it is unenforceable. The reasoning for this was articulated by the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: “In order that there be a contract [for the sale of real property], the parties must have a definite and distinct understanding, common to both, and without doubt of difference.” Id.

Identifying and Resolving Common Title Defect Issues in Florida

May 12, 2014 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

Owning property is a major step in life, and part of the American Dream. Having marketable title to the property is vital to achieving this major step. There are many common title defects that can be avoided with proper due diligence. When real estate titles are defective, or unmarketable, the value is substantially diminished; that is, until the title issue is resolved. This post will discuss common title defect issues, and ways to resolve these issues.

How are Property Taxes in Florida Calculated and How Can I Challenge or Appeal Property Tax Assessments?

August 9, 2013 Real Estate Development, Sales and Leasing Industry Legal Blog

Every August Florida Property Appraisers will send out their TRIM notices, or Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, advising all tax payers of the proposed assessment on their properties. It is crucial for land owners to critically review this Notice and determine whether the assessment is fair and accurate, as the mailing of the notice commences a very short window in which a tax appeal must be filed. Very often these Notices are inflated to require payment of more taxes than should be assessed.

The county assessed value of your real estate should equal what the property would easily sell for in an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and seller (Market Value). As often occurs, the true number that the local real estate market will bear is a lower number than what the county property appraisers value lists because properties are not impervious to natural variables that diminish value. If the property has been affected by a diminution in value caused by declining prices and market conditions, detrimental conditions (i.e. cracked slab, landslide, construction defects, condemnation, environmental problems), or other causes, the property owner should consider filing an appeal. Property tax appeals can be filed on any real estate including a home, ranch, vacant land, apartment building, commercial, industrial, or special use property.

Property owners are often shocked when receiving annual notices attempting to re-valuate their property because their property tax values often rise dramatically from a previous valuation (increases in value by 40% or more are not uncommon in some jurisdictions). This Blog post will attempt to answer two common questions we are often asked by Florida land owners: “How does the property tax process work and What can I do if I think my property has been over-valued by the tax man?”

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