Specific Performance

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Christopher J. Charles, Esq.
Founder and Managing Partner, Provident Law


Attorney Christopher Charles recently achieved a noteworthy victory for his real estate client in a purchase contract dispute where the buyer sought specific performance of the contract. The threat of specific performance is often an effective tool for buyers when a seller gets cold feet and threatens to cancel a real estate contract. Indeed, “[s]pecific performance is ordinarily available to enforce contracts for the sale of real property because land is viewed as unique and an award of damages is usually considered an inadequate remedy.” Woliansky v. Miller, 135 Ariz. 444, 446, 661 P.2d 1145, 1147 (App.1983). But “[w]ide discretion is afforded the trial court to determine whether damages are an adequate remedy in contracts concerning the sale of real property, and specific performance is never a matter of absolute right.” Id.

In Mr. Charles’ recent case, the buyer and seller entered into the standard AAR Purchase Contract concerning the sale of a luxury home in North Scottsdale. After the buyers’ due diligence period expired, the buyers requested an additional inspection to further investigate the property’s condition. The seller declined the buyers’ request and instead requested that the buyers sign the loan documents and close escrow within the agreed-upon time frame.

Put simply, a dispute arose between the parties regarding their respective obligations in the transaction, and the buyers filed a lawsuit against the seller for breach of contract and specific performance. The buyers also filed an Application for Temporary Restraining Order requesting that the court immediately compel the seller to complete the transaction.

After receiving service of the lawsuit, the seller engaged Mr. Charles to defend her property rights. Within days of accepting service of the lawsuit for the seller, Mr. Charles filed an Answer and Counterclaim against the buyers for breach of contract and damages, including treble damages for the buyers’ wrongful recordation of a lis pendens against the property. Furthermore, Mr. Charles filed an Application for Provisional Remedies requesting an order from the court allowing the seller to immediately garnish and attach the buyers’ non-exempt assets in order to satisfy the seller’s anticipated judgment against the buyers.

Shortly thereafter, pursuant to section 7c of the Purchase Contract, the parties participated in private mediation. At mediation, Mr. Charles successfully persuaded the buyers to capitulate and dismiss their lawsuit against the seller. As a result, and within only 10 days of accepting service of the Complaint, Mr. Charles obtained a complete dismissal of the lawsuit and a release of the lis pendens.

Mr. Charles regularly represents property owners concerning real estate disputes. If you or someone you know has questions regarding a real estate matter, please call or email today to speak with Mr. Charles.



Christopher J. Charles is the founder and Managing Partner of Provident Law®. He is a State Bar Certified Real Estate Specialist and a former “Broker Hotline Attorney” for the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (the “AAR”). Mr. Charles holds the AV® Preeminent Rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system which connotes the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He serves as an Arbitrator and Mediator for the AAR regarding real estate disputes; and he served on the State Bar of Arizona’s Civil Jury Instructions Committee where he helped draft the Agency Instructions and the Residential Landlord/Tenant Eviction Jury Instructions.
Christopher is a licensed real estate instructor and he teaches continuing education classes at the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business. He can be reached at chris@providentlawyers.com or at 480-388-3343.