How Not to Get Sued as a Real Estate Agent
It’s a realtors worse nightmare. You sell a property and earn your commission, only later to be sued for all of that and more. All because you fouled up on something. This is an issue a lot of real estate agents deal with at some point in time. There have been instances were home buyers sued realtors for millions of dollars.
Take for instance a couple that bought a home in Carlsbad, California. They sued the realtor they worked with for $1.2 million of the hom because they misrepresented the true value of the home. This was during the time right before the housing market crash. So many of the property values were dropping drastically. Many of their neighbors’ property values were $100K lower than theirs.
This is a nightmare for everyone involved, which is why you need to do your best to be as straightforward as possible. The more the buyer knows, the lower the chances of you getting sued. Here is a quick list of mistakes you should avoid making that could land you a lawsuit.
Not Disclosing Property Defects
Having your properties thoroughly inspected by a professional is key to finding all the defects within a property. This way, you can let home buyers know what problems the home has. If you sell a home without disclosing the defects, the home buyers can hold you liable for the debt they now have to pay to fix the defects. Make sure they sign a document saying they understand the defects that have been disclosed, so they can’t lie about it later.
Giving Out Misleading Info
Your top priority is to make a sale. But not at the cost of your dignity. Make sure you’re giving details about the property that are accurate. If you mislead a buyer into purchasing a property and they later find out you over-exaggerated features and other tidbits, you could end up with a misinformation lawsuit.
Breaching Your Contract
There are multiple contracts being signed at the time of a property sale. Make sure each one is updated with correct information about the house. You also have to pay attention to time frames of the clients for finding a home. If you include certain terms in the deal, make sure to abide by them.
Not Safeguarding Personal Info of Clients
Since this is a financial transaction, you have to collect all types of personal information about your prospects. Make sure you’re protecting their sensitive information by shredding papers, placing passwords on documents and using secured networks when transferring files.
What if you didn’t have an inspection done, so you didn’t really know what defects it had? Well, you could still be held liable, but this time for negligence. This is a big deal that could land you in hot water with the courts.
Not Posting Warnings
If there is a mold problem in the home, broken stairs or other hazards, make sure to post warnings. If someone ends up developing respiratory issues or falling and getting injured, then you could get into trouble.
Whatever profession you enter into, you should make sure you’re well-versed in the laws surrounding them. Make sure to keep your license up-to-date as well. If you enter into a different field, such as personal training, you can become ACE Fitness certified.