Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys
Whether you are the buyer, seller, or owner of real estate, the Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys, here at the law firm of Eason & Tambornini, are here to assist you in assessing your rights and responsibilities under the law. We are not just lawyers, but active property owners and managers ourselves. Thus, we have a full working knowledge of California real estate law, not just as lawyers, but as owners.
Real estate is often your largest personal investment. Handling a real estate transaction without proper professional advice from one of our attorneys puts not only your real estate investment at risk, but potentially your personal assets as well.
Single handedly, the most common questions we receive from buyers after the purchase of real estate relate to failure disclose and/or fraud. The duties to disclose in a real estate transaction are broad and sweeping. The California Department of Real Estate publishes a handy guide on real estate disclosures, and yet that guide alone is almost 80 pages!
While an overstatement, there is a rule of thumb when it comes to a residential real estate disclosure: “If you have to ask if it should be disclosed, it should.” While a good starting point, the law is much more complicated than that. The items that must be disclosed can range from the obvious (water damage, electrical problems, pest infestation) to the less obvious (recent death in the home, noise pollution, septic tank system), to the surprising (existence of local ordinance regarding metal bars on windows).
If trying to determine what has to be disclosed isn’t difficult enough, trying to determine who has to disclose and what transactions are subject to and/or exempt from disclosure is equally as complicated. For example, some commercial transactions may either be exempt from disclosure, and/or have a much more limited requirement to disclose. This is consistent with the theory of buyer beware in a commercial environment. However, many people are not aware that there are many other exemptions and/or limitations to disclosures. While there are exceptions to exceptions, some transactions that may not require disclosures, or have limited disclosures are foreclosure sales, court ordered sales, and sales from one spouse to another.
Besides determining what transactions require disclosure, and determining what items must be disclosed, there are additional issues over who has the obligation to disclose that a Sacramento Real Estate Attorney can provide assistance with. In most instances, the seller has the affirmative duty to disclose, but the law also places certain obligations on the real estate agent, the real estate broker, and sometimes even the real estate appraiser. Likewise, title companies have various duties to disclose unique to their obligations in handling the transfer. And of course, not all obligations are solely of the seller and his/her agents; there are obligations to investigate on behalf of the buyer.
If you were the purchaser, seller, or otherwise involved in the sale of real estate in California and there are concerns that items were not disclosed to you, you should contact one of our Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys for a consultation to see what your rights and liabilities may be in the transaction.
Real Estate Fraud/Non-Disclosure Damages
The Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys at Eason & Tambornini have considerable experience in determining the correct calculation of “damages” in a real estate fraud case. Calculating the correct measure of damages can sometimes be more difficult and important than determining whether a claim for fraud even exists.
Often, we are confronted with straight-forward claims of non-disclosure. Purchasers regularly call us having found mold, dry rot, or infestation in their purchases. Likewise, we regularly see very valid complaints for improvements not performed in accordance with the building code, or with proper permits. On the face, each of these matters very well could support valid claims.
However, sometimes determining the amount of damages for the claims is the bigger question. There are various theories of damages that may apply to cases. There is what is known as the “benefit-of-the-bargain” rule. Under the “benefit-of-the-bargain” rule, our Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys seek the difference in value between what the plaintiff actually received and what they were led to believe they would receive. While this seems simple enough, complications arise when the person bought the home at a below market price.
In addition to the theory of damages based on the benefit-of-the-bargain, there is another rule referred to as the out-of-pocket damages. This theory of damages looks more at the cost to fix and/or repair the problem instead of the value of the property itself.
Besides the issue of determining the correct calculation of damages, there are issues about possible claims for rescission of the contract. Some purchasers would rather rescind the contract and have a full return of their money. This theory is much like returning retail items to a local store for your money back. Unfortunately, it is not as simple. In most residential real estate transactions, the seller used the proceeds from the sale to pay off a large loan. The seller’s lender was not part of the fraud, and thus the seller’s paid-off lender is not necessarily obligated to refund the money. Consequently, there are often cases where rescission on paper is the best remedy but in practicality it fails for lack of funds on the part of the seller to fund a recession.
Determining which theory applies to the facts and which theory of recovery of damages is best for a particular situation are questions that we would be glad to assist you with.
Real Estate Transfers
The Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys at Eason & Tambornini are well versed in handling California deeds and California real estate transfers including partition lawsuits. Besides the claims that can arise out of real estate transfers for a fee, there are many more issues that surround a simple real estate transfer between family and friends.
In particular, the title held by the transferor, the language in the deed, and the manner of title held by the transferee can have huge implications. Some problems may not come to light for years, and as such, speaking with one of our Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys at the outset can prove to be very valuable.
Typical situations that we deal with are the rights created under a quitclaim deed which is often mistakenly referred to as a quick claim deed. Some the most common issues with a quitclaim deed are when there is an outstanding loan on the property. Understanding the responsibilities for that loan in relationship to a quitclaim deed is very important.
Our Sacramento Real Estate Attorneys also regularly handle questions related to joint tenancy, tenants-in-common, rights-of-survivorship, deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, life estates, and illegal lock out. If you have any questions about the type of title you have or the type of title that best suits your personal desires, please do not hesitate to give us a call.