Real Estate Agents and Brokers
It is true that many real estate brokers and their agents are simply unaware of the various types of liability to which they might be exposed over the course of their professional careers. The attorneys at POLING can assist the real estate professional to a broader understanding and appreciation of these potential risks and, when necessary, cooperatively partner with you in the defense of any claim or licensing dispute.
Most standard real estate listing agreements require that the seller’s broker exercise “best efforts” in an effort to locate a ready, willing and qualified buyer. Unfortunately, an interpretation of the phrase “best efforts” is usually driven by the unique facts and circumstances of a particular situation. There is no bright-line test. Consequently, and ever more frequently in today’s economic climate, when a listed property is not “moving”, many sellers are electing to pursue their listing brokers and agents, alleging claims of breach of contract and arguing that their listing broker and agent have failed to use their “best efforts” to locate a potential buyer. Many times there are legitimate legal and factual defenses to such claims, and our attorneys have nearly fifty years of combined experience successfully assisting and defending real estate professionals in the defense of these types of claims.
Real estate brokers and agents are also subject to defined and statutory standards of professional conduct, a breach of which might subject a broker or agent to liability, or even a license suspension or revocation. All states also have licensing Boards which govern and “police” the practices of the real estate industry, and have adopted their own rules and regulations by which every active real estate broker and agent must abide in order to maintain their license. A violation of a statute or of a state board rule or regulation will result in a notice and an opportunity to be heard before the administrative licensing body. Often, these administrative actions run concurrently with or generate a separate law suit by the disgruntled buyer or seller. We have been here many times with our clients. We know the particular venues; we understand now the law, and we know how to successfully defend these claims or, as necessary, work to obtain the best possible and fairly compromised resolution for our clients.
May times, disgruntled buyers and sellers pursue damages from their real estate brokers and agents based upon common law claims of negligence and breach of duty. Because of their training, special knowledge and experience, real estate brokers and agents are required to pursue their work in respect of a particularly high standard of care. In other words … ordinary care is not enough when it comes to their professional activities, and can be sued for malpractice if they fail to meet this standard. With our combined experience and familiarity with the real estate industry, The POLING real estate litigation team can capably assist you in the defense of such claims.