Featured News 2013 Five Ways Real Estate Agents End Up in Court

Five Ways Real Estate Agents End Up in Court

Some real estate agents mean well, but one mistake can result in a court case that can be serious. In fact, one in every five real estate agents will be involved in a lawsuit during their career, according to the real estate broker Barbara Nichols. As a consumer that is using a real estate agent, you should be aware of the mistakes and know that you have a right to sue if one of these situations applies to you.

First of all, real estate agents commonly end up in the courts if they fail to disclose property stigmas to the client. If you are prospective buyer and you weren't told about any property stigmas, then you have the right to take your agent to court. Property stigmas can sometimes scare off potential buyers or can hurt a property's resale value. Therefore, some real estate agents choose to omit these stigmas in hopes of making the house seem more appealing. Unfortunately, this is illegal.

One example of a property stigma is the requirement to disclose the fact that a person may have been murdered in the home. Also, if there is a rumored haunting of the home, or if the home has a history of issues with the foundation, then all of these issues need to be disclosed. As well, if the roof leaks occasionally, or if the neighborhood is a Christmas Light display street or a Haunted Halloween street, then these are also stigmas that need to be disclosed. Real estate agents are expected to do their research on a home so that they know all of the details that could come out after a client has already bought the property and is dissatisfied.

Another way that a real estate agent can end up in court is if he or she overlooks property defects. Real estate agents aren't required to do an intimate inspection like a property inspector, but the agent is required to disclose any known or observable defects. For example, if a staircase is broken or an electric gate on the property doesn't work, then it is important to disclose these details. Also, if brick is cracked in the chimney, or if there is mildew on the walls and floors, a real estate agent has the responsibility to point these out. Real estate agents who try to gloss over defects or even claim that they don't see any defects in the home can get into hot water with clients if defects are discovered after purchase.

Real estate agents also end up in court for discriminatory statements in their advertising. Even statements such as "perfect for a young married couple" or "no children" can become cases for a lawsuit. Real estate agents are required to provide fair access to everyone unless the development is in a restricted age community, such as in a senior citizen residence. Real estate agents should never talk about racial or ethnic diversity or the culture of a neighborhood even if clients ask about it. This can be viewed as discriminatory and may violate the Fair Housing Discrimination Act.

When real estate agents fail to meet fiduciary duties and disclose all relevant information during a transaction, this is also grounds for a lawsuit. It is important that real estate agents keep a client's information completely confidential and exercise reasonable care and diligence to account for all money that is used in the transaction.

Lastly, real estate agents can end you in court if they pass along bogus information. If real estate agents verify untrue information for a client, then this can be another reason for a lawsuit. Also, if real estate agents give any incorrect professional advice or repeat bad information that a seller tells them, then you may be able to sue. If you want more information about lawsuits against real estate agents, hire your own real estate attorney to help you with the case today!

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