NY Residential Real Estate Breach of Contract

Jul 5, 2023

signing a purchase agreement to maintain the rights of each party when either party breaches the contractThe process of buying or selling residential real estate can be an exciting adventure. The least exciting part? Contracts. The building blocks of these transactions, contracts lay out the agreed terms and conditions. However, what if one party doesn’t fulfill their end of the deal? This situation, known as a “breach of contract,” is essential to understand, especially in dynamic real estate markets like Albany, NY.

Breach of Contract in Residential Real Estate

A breach of contract in residential real estate happens when a party fails to fulfill obligations as specified in the contract. This could vary from not meeting deadlines to unfulfilled promises.

Breaches are primarily categorized into material and immaterial breaches. Material breaches significantly impact the contract, such as a buyer not making due payment. Immaterial breaches, meanwhile, carry lesser consequences – carrying no damages.

Common Residential Real Estate Breaches

Residential real estate contracts are agreements outlining the obligations of both parties involved in the property transaction. When these obligations aren’t met, it’s known as a breach of contract. Common breaches in residential real estate include:

  1. Failure to Disclose Known Property Defects:  By State law, sellers have a legal obligation to disclose any known defects that could significantly impact the property’s value or desirability. A breach occurs if they knowingly withhold this information.
  2. Inability to Deliver Clean Title: Sellers are required to deliver a clear or “clean” title at closing. If there are liens, encumbrances, or title defects, they constitute a breach.
  3. Failure to Complete Repairs or Improvements: If a contract stipulates that the seller must complete certain repairs or improvements before the closing, failure to do so may constitute a breach.
  4. Buyer’s Inability to Secure Financing: If a buyer fails to secure the necessary financing as specified in the contract, they may be in breach. However, most contracts contain financing contingency clauses to protect buyers in such scenarios.
  5. Breach of Closing Date: If either party fails to complete the transaction by the closing date specified in the contract without a valid reason, it’s considered a breach.

With all the possible breach of contract cases, it’s crucial to seek legal help to ensure compliance and avoidance of such residential contract breaches.

Consequences of Breaching a Real Estate Contract

The repercussions of breaching a real estate contract in New York can be significant for both buyers and sellers.

  1. Legal Implications: The non-breaching party can file a lawsuit against the party in breach if an alternative resolution does not work.
  2. Financial Repercussions: These could range from forfeiture of earnest money (for buyers) to potential losses from having to relist the property and delay the sale (for sellers).
  3. Impact on the Transaction: A breach can cause substantial delays, throwing off timelines for both buyers and sellers. In worst-case scenarios, it could entirely derail the transaction, causing it to fall through.
  4. Reputation Damage: Especially for sellers, a breach of contract can negatively affect their reputation, making future transactions potentially more difficult and less profitable.
  5. Emotional Consequences: While you cannot sue for emotional damages, the stress and uncertainty that come with a breach of contract can cause considerable emotional distress to both parties.

Given these potential consequences, it’s essential to have an experienced real estate attorney on your side to navigate these complex situations and protect your interests.

Legal Remedies for Breach of Contract in New York

In the unfortunate event of a breach of contract, New York law provides several recourse options for the non-breaching party. These include seeking specific performance, rescission of the contract or damages.

Specific performance compels the breaching party to perform their contractual obligations. It is typically applied in real estate matters due to the unique nature of properties.

Rescission cancels the contractual obligations, restoring the parties to their pre-contractual position. Damages, on the other hand, involve compensating the non-breaching party for financial losses incurred due to the breach.

Enforcing these remedies usually begins by consulting with a Real Estate Attorney in Albany, NY.

Preventing Breach of Contract

Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. This adage holds true in contract law. Preventing a breach of contract begins with clearly setting forth the parties’ agreement by defining the terms and conditions of the contract. Ambiguity often leads to misunderstandings, disputes, and eventual breaches.

A competent real estate lawyer plays a vital role here. At The Towne Law Firm, P.C., our team of experienced Albany NY real estate lawyers ensure that all terms are explicitly outlined, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Our Albany NY real estate attorneys are equipped with extensive experience and knowledge to guide you through every stage of your real estate transaction. From clarifying contract terms to safeguarding your rights and interests, we strive to ensure your journey in the real estate world is as smooth and secure as possible. Contact us today to make your Real Estate the home sweet home you were hoping it would be.