Short-sale disputes were designated as the most significant legal issue facing real estate professionals, according to the recent National Association of Realtors' 2011 Legal Scan: Legal Issues Facing Real-Estate Professionals. REO-related issues also ranked high on NAR's Scan.
NAR conducts its legal Scan every two years, combining legal data and research with survey results from key industry participants.
Almost 55 percent of respondents NAR's survey listed short sales as the cause of ""a significant number of disputes.""
More than 74 percent listed short sales as one of the top three current legal issues, and 76 percent predict it will be one of the top three legal issues they face in the future.
""Several real-estate commissions also believe disputes involving short sales are increasing,"" according to the Scan.
One of the major causes of short-sale disputes, according to respondents, is a lack of sufficient short-sale training among agents.
Similarly, respondents saw a lack in sufficient training in REO marketing and contracting processes.
More than 48 percent of respondents believed REOs led to ""a significant number of current disputes.""
Of those, 58 percent ranked the issue among the top three current issues facing real estate professionals.
About 60 percent of respondents believe REO disputes will increase over the next two years, while 76 percent list the issue as one of the top three issues they will face in the future.
In addition to short sales and REOs, agency issues, property condition disclosures, and the real estate settlement procedure act (RESPA) were ranked among the top legal issues real estate professionals face.