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When Real Estate Deals Go Wrong

In general, real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their clients, which includes diligently representing them during negotiations.

Negligence occurs when someone breaches their duty of care, causing harm or financial loss to another party. The National Association of Realtors has a Code of Ethics which lays out the duties of Realtors towards their clients. The first duty (No. 1) is to diligently and accurately represent their client. If your realtor fails to negotiate diligently on your behalf, and as a result, you suffer financial losses that could have been avoided with proper representation, you may have grounds to claim negligence.

To establish negligence, you typically need to demonstrate the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: Your realtor had a duty to represent your interests diligently during negotiations.

  2. Breach of Duty: Your realtor failed to meet the standard of care expected of them during negotiations, either by not being thorough, not advocating for your best interests, or not using their skills and expertise effectively.

  3. Causation: The realtor's breach of duty directly led to financial losses or damages for you.

  4. Damages: You suffered actual financial harm or losses as a result of the realtor's negligence.

It's important to note that real estate transactions can be complex, and not every unsuccessful negotiation can be attributed to negligence. Sometimes, market conditions, the property's desirability, or the counterparty's position may limit the success of negotiations.

If you believe your realtor has been negligent, it's essential to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney experienced in real estate law. They can help you assess your situation, determine if negligence occurred, and advise you on the best course of action, which may involve filing a claim against the realtor or their brokerage. Keep in mind that real estate laws can vary by state, so the specific rules and standards of care may differ depending on where you are located.

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