What are My Remedies When a Real Estate Deal Falls Through?

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Few types of investments can carry more financial risks, consequences, and potential pitfalls than a large-scale (or even small-scale for that matter) real estate deal. Whether you are acting as an investor, outright purchaser, or seller in a real estate deal, you have the potential for high returns, but you also face much more room for complex and unintended issues than when investing in, say, stock or debt-based investments in a Fortune 500 company. Oftentimes, litigation – or at least the threat of litigation – is necessary for achieving your intended outcome when a real estate deal goes south. Contact an experienced real estate attorney to discuss your options and likelihoods of success for your particular challenge, but below are the basic types of remedies you can pursue when another party breaches his duties or obligations on a real estate deal.  

Specific Performance

Specific performance is an equitable remedy by which a court requires that another party to a contract follows through on his or her obligations pursuant to the contract. Specific performance is not available as a remedy on most contracts, but the law views real estate purchases differently. Because every piece of real estate is unique, a court may honor the rights of either the intended buyer or the seller under a real estate contract by requiring that the party attempting to skip out on the deal follow through with its obligations under the real estate transaction.  

Money Damages

As an alternative remedy to specific performance, a party who has breached on his or her obligations under a real estate contract – which could include anything from failing to go through with the transaction to making representations about the property or financing which turn out to be false – may be required to pay money damages to the non-breaching party which provide that party with the financial benefit they would have received had the deal gone through as intended and represented in the contract.


Another option that a court has in resolving a real estate transaction or transfer is partition, which means to divide the property between the parties in conflict. This is more likely to come into play when the property consists of multiple buildings and/or units, or contains a large plot of land. The court can also order partition with regard to proceeds arising from use of the land such as rent or resource extraction. Typically, this remedy is applicable when there is a dispute among multiple owners/claimants of a previously undivided piece of property.

Resulting Trust

A resulting trust is a remedy that a court can award when an investor has devoted funds towards the purchase of a property but has not been placed on the title of the property. A resulting trust means that the court will consider the owner who is on the title to be holding the property wholly or partially in benefit of the investor who is not on the title.

Contact the Real Estate Litigation Attorneys at Wagenseller Law Firm

At Wagenseller Law Firm in downtown Los Angeles, we provide full legal services to individuals and businesses in business and real estate litigation matters. Contact Wagenseller Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your real estate matter.

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