Real estate transactions are complex undertakings involving a range of legal issues, contracts, and negotiations. Buyers, sellers and agents all hope for a smooth process, but there are times when fraud or breaches of contract can cause problems during the proceedings. In such situations, it is essential to work with the right attorney. Here are some examples of common types of fraud claims that can arise during a transaction.
Misrepresentation of Property
Misrepresentation is misstating the facts about a property during a real estate transaction. For example, the property listing might claim that the property has a new roof or electrical system, or might exaggerate the square footage of the property. If the seller has provided false information about a property, the buyer may be able to file a fraud claim.
Failure to Disclose Defects
The Illinois Real Property Act requires sellers to disclose any known defects in a property that could affect its value or safety to potential buyers. This could include issues like past flooding, code violations or boundary disputes. Failure to do so can result in serious legal consequences. If a buyer discovers undisclosed defects after closing, such as a hidden termite infestation or structural issues, the seller can be held accountable for their omission.
Real estate transactions are primarily governed by contracts, and any breach of contract can lead to disputes. In some cases, a contract breach can also include allegations of fraud. Contract fraud occurs when one party to a contract uses information that is false, misleading, or deceitful in order to persuade the other party to sign, or that results in them signing without fully understanding the obligations or risks. For example, one person might mislead another by telling them they need to sign their property over in order to avoid foreclosure. Fraud claims of this type often result in the contract being voided.
Mortgage fraud can occur when a buyer or lender deliberately misrepresents information on a mortgage application. For example, a buyer might exaggerate their income or assets, while a lender may try to hide unfavorable loan terms. In some cases, a corrupt appraiser may intentionally undervalue a property in order to assist an investor to purchase at a low price, or overvalue a property in order to increase the selling price and related commissions. These fraudulent actions can lead to severe legal consequences for all parties involved.
How our Attorneys Assist in Resolving Fraud Claims
There are a number of advantages to working with one of the experienced attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Hamilton & Van Donselaar, Ltd. if you discover a fraudulent action during a real estate transaction.
- Legal Expertise – Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the complex laws and regulations governing property transactions. They can interpret contracts, assess the legality of claims, and provide expert guidance.
- Negotiation Skills – Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who can work on your behalf to reach favorable resolutions, whether through settlement or litigation.
- Protection of your Interests – Throughout the entire process, our main objective is to protect your interests and ensure you’re not taken advantage of during a real estate transaction.
Real estate transactions do not always go smoothly, and when fraud is involved, it is essential to have the right attorney representing you. In Illinois, fraud cases must be proved with a higher degree of certainty than is required in other civil lawsuits. Therefore, experience matters if you want to see a successful outcome. Contact our office at 847-223-1500 to learn more or to schedule a consultation.