A career in real estate sales can be personally satisfying and financially rewarding. However, it also comes with a long list of legal responsibilities. When an agent strays away from ethical and fiduciary duties it means trouble. Yet, some agents to find themselves in a legal quagmire due to negligence, ill-intent, or errors. When such a situation arises it can be helpful to have an experienced attorney at your side. A real estate lawyer can be a great benefit to a realtor in the following types of lawsuits.
Crossing the Line With Legal Advice
Realtors are not attorneys and may not give legal advice. Yet, sometimes hard-working sales agents overstep their boundaries when discussing a transaction. When a realtor interprets the law and applies it to a set of facts this constitutes the practice of law. Many realtors are knowledgeable about property law. Yet, their advice can never substitute for that of an experienced lawyer. Furthermore, when a client relies on a realtor’s advice to their detriment it can serve as the basis for a lawsuit.
Realtors can avoid these types of lawsuits by working with a real estate lawyer. Whenever questions of law arise the realtor can refer the client to a trusted attorney for help. A realtor can also use an attorney for assistance in contract matters.
Fiduciary Duty Issues
Realtors commonly face lawsuits arising out of the breach of a fiduciary duty. These duties ensure that realtors represent their clients with honesty and care. Violations of the duty include misusing funds or disclosing confidential information. In either case, the client has the right to sue the realtor for damages. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that a realtor remain scrupulous when acting on behalf of a client.
It can help to have a real estate attorney who can review your contractual obligations. You will also need to retain an experienced lawyer when a client sues you. All in all, you can limit your liability by working with a legal professional.
Failure to Safeguard
Another responsibility of a real estate agent is to protect the client from liability. This obligation encompasses several of a realtor’s duties. A real estate agent must safeguard confidential information provided by the client. Also, an agent must safeguard funds and maintain accounting records. Finally, a realtor needs to preserve all pertinent documents (i.e. deeds) for the client's benefit. When a realtor fails to safeguard property it leaves him or her vulnerable to a lawsuit.
Obtaining Legal Help is Necessary
Real estate is a high stakes game. As such, you need to be prepared to accept the good with the bad. If you are being sued by a client, or need legal counsel contact the law office of Spencer and Collier, PLLC. Speak with a real estate attorney who understands the nuances of property law and contract litigation.