What is a Deposition?


A deposition is a formal legal interview performed before a case goes to court.

In real estate, a deposition is a formal, out-of-court testimony pertaining to a specific real estate case, given to attorneys to establish the facts, or as part of discovery. You are asked to give a deposition either as a party involved in a lawsuit or as an independent person (such as an expert witness) before the trial.

This usually happens before the start of a trial and in a less formal setting than a courtroom, like the attorney’s conference room. Lawyers for both parties and a stenographer will most likely be present. The latter will administer your oath (“Do you Jane Doe, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, etc.”) and record your statements. The collected documentation from your deposition can be used as evidence in the trial, so it is vital to be prepared before giving your statement.

There are several reasons why you may be asked to provide a deposition. You could be the plaintiff or defendant. You might have neglected to do something as an agent or made an error. Or, you could just be involved in a transaction where one of the parties is suing the other, therefore they need information from you as a witness.

In any case, you have to remember that anything you say under oath will be recorded and used for the trial. Therefore, you should make sure you are providing truthful and accurate information. If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. If you don’t know the answer, don’t pretend that you do then guess or speculate. Remain cool and calm, and bring only documents that you wouldn’t mind having to share or submit as evidence.

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You can deal with a deposition better when you know how to handle yourself, so take enough time to prepare.     


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