Real estate transactions involve various variables that must be taken into account and resolved before a successful closing. Despite this complexity, most clients don’t appreciate everything that goes on behind the scenes when buying or selling a house.
Real estate professionals are often managing a business, representing multiple clients and properties, evaluating contracts, running open houses, marketing, and managing employees. Issues are bound to arise, most unintentional, but malicious or not, mistakes can cost both the client and the real estate professional time, money and possible legal recourse.
In this article, we will explore real estate negligence and malpractice, what constitutes a violation of the statutory duty imposed on agents and brokers, what information should be included in a negligence claim against an agent or broker, and how real estate professionals can avoid a lawsuit for negligence.
Negligence in real estate can be considered a type of malpractice and is different from fraud. Negligence occurs when the cause of action (the thing the agent or broker did that the client felt was negligent) was unintentional and a result of the agent not doing proper due diligence, versus fraud which supposes the agent willfully misled or deceived the client. Even if an agent acts in good faith, carelessness, failure to act, taking the wrong action, or a simple error in judgment can result in a lawsuit for negligence.
Negligence by a real estate agent can also be known as real estate malpractice. In Illinois, the Illinois Real Estate Act was created to address many issues pertaining to homeowners, real estate transactions and professional responsibilities which may be used as a cause for a negligent claim on your real estate agent.
Many of the claims of negligence against real estate agents deal with failures to disclose pertinent information on the property in question that can have a potentially large impact on the appraised value of the property. This includes hidden, undisclosed and purposefully hidden information that causes the client to pay unexpected and unanticipated additional costs that weren't known or anticipated before signing an agreement with the real estate agent.
During any residential or commercial real estate transaction, real estate agents have duties that are given to them under the agent/broker client agreement. This includes the price of the property and terms of the ingredient (time, tenants, additional lease agreements, move-in condition) and if your real estate agent fails to perform even any of these duties, then they can be potentially held as negligent under Illinois law.
A real estate agent can be held negligent in Illinois by not seeking the price and terms stated in the real estate brokerage agreement that are not acceptable to the client.
Unless otherwise directed by a client, Illinois real estate agents must communicate all offers to their clients. This means that unless you specifically request a certain minimum amount, or other conditional offer to your real estate agent, they must communicate and inform you of all offers.
A real estate agent must disclose any and all known information on the current condition of the property. Now, this does have a potentially wide-ranging scope. Scenarios could include the real estate agent being made aware of a structural issue (that may have been missed during inspection) and failing to inform their client unless the information could be classified as confidential (under attorney-client privilege).
A real estate agent in Illinois must give their client information including updates in an appropriate time-frame in regards to offers, events and other facts of discovery.
When a real estate agent directly disregards oral or written directives that aren't in violation of the law or otherwise unable to be realistically achieved, they can be held liable for negligence. This includes blatant disregard to the reasonable exercising of their duties.
An agent knowingly or negligently giving their client false or misleading information or a history of treating clients unfairly.
If a real estate agent puts any broker, or party of interest other than the client first can result in negligence as well.
Unless given authorization, at no point is a real estate agent allowed to release your personal confidential information.
This includes communicating, offers, counteroffers and assisting the client in receiving offers as well as assisting them through the process of a successful transaction.
If you believe your real estate agent is or has acted with negligence in regards to your real estate transaction, when requesting relief, it's important to document everything including:
If you believe that your real estate agent has been negligent, it's essential to seek legal advice from an experienced real estate attorney. At Zara Law Group, we have the expertise and experience necessary to represent you effectively. Our team of attorneys is skilled at handling various real estate legal matters, including real estate malpractice, business law, estate planning, and probate. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and determine the best course of action.
If you believe that your real estate agent has been negligent, contact Zara Law Group for a free consultation to learn how we can represent you. Our attorneys have the experience and expertise necessary to provide effective legal representation and fight for your rights. Call us today at 708-365-8411 or visit our website to schedule an appointment. Let us help you navigate the complex world of real estate law and ensure that you get the justice you deserve.
Ensuring you have the best representation for your real estate transaction should include an experienced real estate attorney with extensive experience in residential and commercial transactions.
If you would like to schedule a free real estate consultation, Zara Law Group is your partner in handling all of your real estate legal matters. For a free consultation, please contact us at 708-365-8411.
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