Watch Out for Contract Traps During Periods of Rapid Development
By: Rachel Kerlek, Esq.
It would be difficult not to notice the rapid growth in a housing development that Naples is currently experiencing. New home construction is popping up in areas that were previously undeveloped. While this is obviously keeping our real estate department busy, it also impacts our litigation team in a variety of different ways.
Read on to understand how growth in the real estate development industry might affect you and your community (and how to make sure you don’t end up in litigation as a result!).
Buying a Home
The prospect of buying in a new community and building your own home is appealing to many of our clients, and it certainly has its advantages. If you choose to purchase a home site in a new development, make sure you read and understand the contract.
The typical NABOR® (Naples Area Board of REALTORS®) contract for resale properties is about ten pages. Compare that with the new construction contracts that can be fifty pages or more!
Many of our clients come to us long after they are already under contract, and are upset because of something that has happened during the construction process (or after) that is the exact opposite of what an on-site sales agent might have promised. Oftentimes the signed contract, not an agent’s statements, will dictate how the issues are addressed, so be sure to consult with a lawyer before signing to make sure you know exactly what your rights are and avoid unfortunate surprises.
Occasionally, something does go wrong during construction. If you find yourself experiencing a problem in your new home, it is critical to making sure to document the problem immediately. Oftentimes, a builder’s warranty will cover any problems, but, if not, there are procedures to help achieve a remedy, whether that is through the court system or an insurance claim. Delays can create problems, and a lawyer can help you make sure you don’t miss a step in what can be a complicated and sometimes frustrating process.
Through our representation of government agencies, our firm is intimately familiar with the attempt to achieve a balance between growth and protecting our remarkable natural resources and wildlife. Often, this is achieved by the governmental authorities and developers working closely with local environmental advocacy organizations.
Occasionally, environmental groups take issue with development by voicing their opinions in public hearings or by asking the courts to intervene and stop growth. Watch for updates about the interplay between government actions and protective measures such as the Federal Endangered Species Act in a future issue of The Sidebar.
Rachel Kerlek is a senior associate attorney in the firm’s litigation department. For more information concerning Rachel please visit her profile page.