Many real estate agents are consummate professionals. They follow the legal and ethical requirements of their profession. Others, sadly, are not nearly as careful.
Buying and selling Florida real estate – whether it’s a home or a commercial property – can involve a significant amount of money. A real estate agent’s negligence or mistakes can cost buyers and sellers a lot of money and time.
In some cases, clients (or possibly even another agent’s clients involved in the same transaction) may be able to sue them for professional malpractice, which can cost them their license. Let’s look at some of the most common bases for malpractice suits.
Breach of duty
Like doctors, lawyers and many other professionals, real estate agents are required to act in their clients’ best interests. If they fail to do that, either intentionally or unintentionally, they have breached that duty. You may be able to sue them for economic damages.
Breach of contract
The first document you sign when you retain a real estate agent is a contract with them. They’re bound by that contract (as are you). If they fail to abide by any of it and it costs you money, you may be able to sue them for breach of contract.
Other potential grounds for lawsuits
Some other examples of errors and negligence that could warrant a malpractice suit against a real estate agent include:
- Providing false or misleading information about a property
- Not disclosing a property defect they knew or should have known about
- Not protecting a client’s personal information
- Providing advice in areas outside their scope of knowledge
That last one often involves legal and tax advice. Too many real estate agents think they know more about these things than they do. That’s why it’s always best to consult with professionals in these areas if you have specific questions.
Malpractice suits against real estate agents often involve more than one of the issues listed above. If you’re not certain whether your agent’s actions or failure to act rises to the level where they’re liable for damages, it’s wise to seek legal guidance.