Barbara Nichols of Nichols Real Estate & General Contracting is a broker, contractor, expert witness, and author of “The No Lawsuit Guide to Real Estate Transactions.” She can be reached at 310-273-6369 or at www.barbaranichols.net.
It’s natural to want to help your friends and relatives buy or sell a home. But just because you’re close doesn’t mean that you can take any shortcuts in the sales process. A transaction for a friend or relative requires the same care that you’d give any other deal.
By properly documenting every step of the repair process, you’ll prevent transaction delays - and quite possibly protect yourself and your clients from legal trouble. To make certain you don’t have to deal with a dissatisfied buyer in court, follow these steps.
Whether you represent the buyer or the seller, looking over the property and providing the findings in writing is a smart way to reduce your liability and protect yourself and your client. Make it your mantra to “ask, look, and recommend.” Otherwise, what you don’t see, and don’t disclose, may hurt you in court.
Have you read the NAR Code of Ethics lately? Maybe you should, before it’s read to you in court. When a real estate licensee’s conduct is questioned, the Code of Ethics is one thing the courts use to determine the standard of care expected of real estate professionals—regardless of whether they belong to NAR.
Hindsight, they say, is 20-20, but it is possible to improve your foresight. You can steer clear of legal trouble if you understand how other practitioners have landed in court. Here are 10 legal pitfalls and how to avoid them.
We refer to them all the time, but what are real estate red flags, and what should we do when we identify them? Calling attention to red flags may make waves in a transaction, but it’s far better than overlooking them, which leaves your client or customer vulnerable and you open to liability.
A stigmatized property puts you in the difficult position of wondering what facts, if any, you must disclose to prospective buyers. It’s important to understand, because failing to disclose a stigma or disclosing it improperly is a frequent claim in lawsuits against real estate licensees.
When they involve property condition, surprises can mean liability for sellers and real estate salespeople. One way to avoid surprises--whether you represent the buyer or the seller—is to stress the importance of a home inspection. Then follow up with these additional risk-reduction steps.