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Let the Buyer Beware: The Perils of Real Estate Transactions

Posted on 11 March, 2018 at 0:20

By Daniel Greanya


When purchasing or selling a home, it is very important to have the advice of qualified real estate and legal professionals. A home is the largest purchase that most families will make in their lifetime. A real estate transaction is a very serious endeavour, which is fraught with risk. Now I have to disclose that I am not a real estate lawyer, and I do not help people complete real estate transactions. I get involved as a part of my civil practice, after a problem occurs with the transaction, such as where the transaction falls through, or where there is another dispute related to the transaction that is small enough that it goes to the Small Claims Court.


Real estate law is one of the last frontiers of the legal maxim caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware”. This maxim refers to the legal proposition that a buyer must take all steps to protect themselves and to ensure that they are making a smart purchase. A seller could not mislead a buyer, but the buyer was expected to satisfy themselves as to the quality of the purchase made. This legal principle fit well with the laissez-faire economy of the 19th century, however most people would consider it unduly harsh in the modern world. That is why in many cases, it no longer applies, and a deluge of legislation and case law has been developed to protect consumers.


Of course, the nature of real estate transactions make it tough sometimes to protect oneself. Problems often are concealed, for instance where a real estate transaction includes a backyard pool which is closed for the winter. As a result, there are a number of ways that buyers should protect themselves, including home inspection and warranties, or terms that are included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to protect the buyer.


In my next post, I will continue to talk about home inspections and warranties and how they protect buyers.


DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as general information, and does not replace the advice of a Licenced Paralegal or Lawyer. For advice on your specific case, contact Greanya Legal Services directly.

 

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