Tempting Your Legal Fate

Tempting Fate with Poor Real Estate Advice

The World Wide Web has opened the doors of information for real estate consumers. The possibilities are almost limitless. Online home searches are a breeze, public and tax information is a click away and even community information, walk-ability statistics and crime rates are at the other end of a mouse.

Where the self serve portion of home buying or even home selling should end is when there is an issue. The “issue” is whatever is not going according to plan and is interfering with the close of sale of the property.

Since there is so much available online it’s the first go-to place for the consumer experiencing issues. Unfortunately, most of the time the web is not the best possible place for consumers when matters with the law are concerned.

That purchase and sale contract a buyer or seller has signed is, of course, a legal document. Most of the contracts used locally are boiler plate fill in the blank contracts which covers most circumstances which could arise in a home sale or purchase. The difference that occurs from contract to contract is how well it is or is not filled out and which extra clauses or addendums were added as supplements to the contract.

My quiet little world of real estate has been visited a few times this week by folks looking for help with their real state problems. As usual, what most consumers think is a real estate problem is actually a legal problem. Whether it’s an email or a phone call the answer has been the same; I can’t help you, you really need to contact an attorney.

It sounds simple enough but for some reason there are consumers that risk their transaction, their escrow or their liability by skirting proper legal advice.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been contacted by consumers who found my blog through Google search and asked me “how to get out of their contract” because they have cold feet, how to get a short sale deficiency judgment removed from of their credit because it was put there in error and how to get their escrow returned since the home they in contract to purchase was foreclosed upon during the process and the home owner can’t be located.

Mr. Chilly Feet was down right miffed that I wouldn’t tell him what to do to get out of his contract, even though I was not involved in the transaction, didn’t know the details of the contract and the whole sordid mess was occurring in Washington state.

Why, I was almost downright crushed when he hung up on me for not practicing law in the great state of Washington.

I’m not sure why he wasn’t consulting the agent who was the blank-filler-inner of the sale and purchase contract. Maybe his agent was smart enough to not dispense legal advice so he just started Googling. The mistake he made was not Googling for a name of really good attorney who specialize in real estate … in his state.

So, when do you know when you definitely need an attorney? When whatever predicament you’re facing is going to risk your finances, your credit or could possibly strap you with a judgment or tax liability.

Contacting anyone other than an attorney when a problem arises would be no different than asking your dentist or gardener for legal advice.


Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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