Agent Malpractice

R. Harvey Dye Law, PC is active in real estate agent malpractice, representing either the buyer or seller for an agent’s failure to perform according to professional standards. These cases can involve any aspect of the real estate transaction where a client of the agent was damaged due to the agent’s failure to adequately protect the client’s best interest. The agent owes a fiduciary duty to her client, the highest standard of care. This duty and standard of care is established by the real estate Commissioner’s regulations, state statutes, and the Realtor© Code of Ethics.

An agent’s liability can be based upon her failure to explain or properly advise about the documents in a transaction, especially where certain omissions or errors occur. The most common source of malpractice is found in the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (the SPDS). Inconsistencies, omitted or vague answers in this document must be pointed out and the buyer advised to investigate the omission. Too many agents simply pass the SPDS on to the client without reviewing it carefully.

On the other hand, too many buyers assume the agent is looking out for them and do not read the documents carefully. This, of course, is the agent’s first line of defense, the careless buyer. However, the typical buyer is not expected to be the expert – that is what the agent is getting paid for. Good advice to any person involved in a real estate transaction is to assume nothing, especially that his agent will notice any problems in the documents and point them out to the client.

According to a recent case, a buyer’s agent may be liable to the seller for failing to disclose that his client does not have the financial ability to close on the property. Until this case was decided, it was generally the law that such a disclosure would violate the agent’s duty to his own client, but that limitation no longer applies. This ruling is particularly significant in today’s financial climate.

Please call for more information on Arizona real estate agent malpractice: 602.230.2460

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