Specific performance demands typically arise from breaches occurring in real estate transactions. Real estate law recognizes that each property is unique, and a contract to purchase that real property can be specifically enforced. Rather than attempt to compensate a party through monetary damages, an order for specific performance by the court states that the contract must be fully executed according to its terms.
SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE BASICS
If both parties agree to a real estate contract for the sale of a home, and one of the parties breaches the contract, then the harmed party can insist on the actual performance of the contract. This means that the contract for the sale of the home must be fulfilled, instead of some alternate monetary compensation. However, for this type of legal remedy to be available to the harmed party, several elements must be met, including the following:
- Valid Contract: There must have been an original valid and legally binding contract between the two parties that can be enforced by a court of law.
- Monetary Damages Insufficient: In order for a court to order specific performance in the case of a real estate transaction, the harmed party must be able to show that the substitution of monetary damages would be inadequate. Either the monetary damages would not compensate the harmed party fully, or they are inadequate given the unique nature of the real estate property.
- Mutual Obligation: Both parties must have had duties towards each other within the language of the real estate contract, which is called “mutuality of obligation.”
- Discretion of the Court: The judge has complete discretion with respect to specific performance for real estate transactions. Again, if the court issues an order for specific performance, it is requiring the seller to give the property to the buyer in accordance with the contract, and the buyer to pay the amount owed in accordance with the contract.
SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE AND THE LAW
A real estate purchase agreement is a legally binding contract and is often called a “purchase contract” or a “contract of sale.” Oftentimes, a specific performance order is the best way to resolve a breached real estate transaction. However, there are other times that a specific performance order is simply not appropriate. If compliance is impossible (such as if a buyer lost his job, or had a loan approval revoked), then a specific performance order would not be the best course of action. Contacting an attorney as soon as a real estate transaction is breached allows you to understand your options and your rights.
CONTACT THALER LAW
Everyone is excited to sell or buy a new home, however, there are times where real estate transactions can get legally complicated. If a real estate contract has been breached by one party, the option of specific performance ordered by the court may be an option available to you. However, before making this request or agreeing to it, you should consult with an experienced real estate attorney. Visiting with an experienced real estate attorney from Thaler Law can help you understand your legal rights regarding any breach of a real estate contract or transaction. Call our Huntington Beach office at 714-869-2900 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.