Real estate transactions are rarely straightforward, particularly in Southern California. Sellers may try to back out because another potential buyer offered more money for the property. Buyers may break contracts and not pay what they owe on a property.
In such cases, a court-ordered legal remedy available to both parties is called "specific performance." This solution forces one of the parties involved in the purchase and sales negotiation problem to follow through on what he or she agreed to do in the property sale agreement.
A long list of property sale delays and obstacles can arise: seller's remorse; a defaulting buyer who backed out of a real estate deal due to fear of a slow economy; a survey of a parcel of land shows it has less acreage than listed on the purchase contract; a commercial building has undisclosed construction defects, such as black mold, so it can't be rented; a dishonest buyer lied about his finances on loan application or her down payment check bounced.
There are many property sale problems that can oblige the court to make specific performance demands, whether it's a buyer's remedy or seller's remedy. In some cases, a monetary payment must be made to satisfy specific performance demands—such as following through with a contractually agreed purchase. In other breach of contract issues, the courts force the property title to be conveyed to the buyer by a reluctant seller.
In other cases, hazardous building materials must be replaced before the property transfer goes through. Or the court may allow "lis pendens," or "suit pending," wherein litigation is recorded against the deed of the seller's property in order to force a resolution to the real estate problem.