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Hot Disputes in Cooling Real-Estate Market

Posted May 4, 2007 9:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawsuits filed by buyers in a cooling real estate market claim home builders sold them homes they couldn’t afford or failed to meet contract specifications.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) says condo buyers in particular are seeking a legal way out of their contracts, since they often stand to lose deposits as high as 20 percent of the purchase price if they walk away from a deal.

Alexandria, Va., lawyer Beau Brincefield told the newspaper he has settled about 50 contract disputes and has another 50 or so pending. His suits claim developers broke disclosure laws or issued one-sided contracts.

The newspaper quotes one ad by a lawyer in a Palm Beach, Fla., newspaper. It reads: "Do you want your money back? Your contract for purchase of a new house or condominium may be illegal. … To see if you are entitled to a refund, call us for a free consultation."

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