Home Buying in 30513>Question Details

Rita Dobbins, Home Buyer in Arab, AL

can i sue the realtor that priced the home wrong and make them sell it to me for the price they listed?

Asked by Rita Dobbins, Arab, AL Thu Jan 27, 2011

century 21 listed a house for 14,490. it was actually 144,900. can i sue them and make them bite the additional cost on the home and buy it for the wrong price they listed

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John’s answer
Joe Folsom You might want to read my post from last january . Funny thing is I am not a realtor. I am still wondering how idiotic of a question can be posted here without about fifty realtors answering it?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 6, 2012
I can't believe some of the agents on here actually think there is even a case here based on the wording of this question. He is asking if the Realtor, assuming the agent in question is a member of NAR, can be made to sell a home for the price that was entered into the MLS.

I can look at this two ways. Case one Rita is the owner of the property which is listed wrong and case two Rita is the potential buyer of a home listed wrong by another agent.

Lets look at option one. The agent has listed the home only and from this stand point he/she has not bought the home. Rita is still the owner of the property in question. How the hell is the agent going to have title to this house from just listing the property wrong and have legal right to sell the property to the original owner for the 14.5k. If the agent is not changing the price in the mls then this is a different story, but according to the "question" at hand here you are asking if you can sell it for the incorrect price listed and then try to sue for the difference as damages. Technically if you sell him the house at this price then you are to blame for not getting a higher price you wanted from the agent/buyer. You still own the house!

Now lets look into option two. Just because a house is listed for a wrong price does not make it automatically sold. If you look at disclaimers at the bottom of mls it says something along the lines of , "all information provided considered accurate, but not guaranteed. Also, you would have to sign the purchase and sale agreement according to the terms in a written offer. A contract has to be in writing, offered and accepted to be considered valid and enforceable in a court of law. Just cause it is written wrong in the MLS does not mean it is written wrong in the exclusive listing contract.
10 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Are you a professional? Because you sound like a layman.
Flag Thu Oct 15, 2015
I was just wondering-how idiotic of a question can someone post before people will stop answering as if the post is a rational question? (Most likely the offer would be refused in this case?) ( I expect you will be disappointed?) Holy crap let her go to a lawyer-it will keep her too occupied to post anymore dumb questions.
7 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
What are your damages? It was a typo - are you looking to pay fair market value for a home or are you looking to take someone to the cleaners over something that caused you no harm?
7 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
I once put a listing on MLS with central air that didn't have central air. I printed out the listing and showed it to the homeowner, who corrected it and i changed it. It was a typo. Do you think I should have paid for central air if someone saw it? There is a reason why most MLS systems have a disclaimer that states that the information may contain errors.

On another note, do you know that if a house is listed for 150,000 and you offer the owner 160,000---the owner does not have to sell it to you? It is up to the homeowner to decide whether or not to accept your offer.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Rita Dobbins please find a better way to spend your time. Wish you the best of luck with your law suit and buying a home now. I hope every REALTOR in Arab AL runs when you approach them now wanting to buy a house.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Look, Rita:

First, Century 21 can't sell you the house. They don't own it. John and Mary Smith own the house, and Century 21 is incapable of forcing John and Mary Smith to sell the house to you.

Second, if you sue for damages--as the others point out--what are your damages? Likely, nothing.

Third, you're assuming that the gap between $14,490 and $144,900 is the amount of your . . . not damages, but justifiable compensation. But who's to say the house really would sell for $144,900? Have you made an offer on the house? Likely not.

Fourth, just a personal quibble: There's a reason the "CAPS" key is on your keyboard. It's to capitalize words such as "Can," "I," Realtor, "Century," and so on. And I won't even get into the grammatical errors. Think clearly. Speak clearly. Communicate clearly.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
I'm sure it was a typographical error. I doubt you have a case.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
thank you all for your responses...lol actually when i saw the ad i contacted the realtor and brought it to their attention. they blamed trulia for the error, saying they retyped the info, and got it wrong.

i don't get a kick out of sueing people. i am an honest person. i just wanted to know what the rest of the public would advise.......lmao

too bad it wasn't for that price, cause it was a beautiful home, and some unfortunate person would have loved to own it for that price these days with the economy situation.

it's like buying something in a store that was priced wrong, they do have to honor the price as advertised. how many times have you insisted that the wrong price be honored? hmmm...think about it

peace, rita
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Rita, what's your rationale here? Would you tell a judge that you were harmed because you couldn't buy the house? Can you demonstrate that you would have been the only potential buyer for the home?

What's your case, other than, you'd like to buy a home for 10% of market value?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011

The realtor is not selling the home, the homeowner is. You can't force a homeowner to sell their home to you if they don't want to. You can't ask for damages unless you have a fully executed contract. If you look at most publicly posted property listing information, you will likely find the phrase,

"All data subject to ERRORS, OMISSIONS, or REVISIONS and is NOT WARRANTED."

or something similar. There is always some kind of a disclaimer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
It was a typo. You don't deserve $100,000 for a typo. Why would you even want to sue? Do you really think you can get free money? Somehow you are entitled because someone made a mistake? I hope you never make a tiny mistake and have someone come at you this way. You really ought to re-think this.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Rita- By the way, have you thought of the flip side? You want an unfortunate person to be able to get a "steal/ deal". What about the owner? Do you want them to get the shaft? Besides, the buyer makes an offer and the owner can choose to accept, refuse, or counter-offer. Most likely, the offer would be refused in this case.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Many realtors do not enter the MLS listing information themselves, so they are not solely responsible for typos. Errors happen, and they are corrected quickly when spotted. It is also up to the seller to check the listing info. for errors as well.

Real estate does not work the same way as retail. If there is an error in a store ad, the store manager will usually make a price adjustment to satisfy a customer. In real estate, the agent or brokerage does not own the property. The sellers must agree to the offer that is presented in order for the house to be sold. If you offer $14, 490 for a house that should be listed for $144, 900, the sellers do not legally have to accept your offer. They are not bound to anyone with whom they are not under contract, and they will probably be offended. In fact, even if you offer list price or over, but the terms are unfavorable, they do not have to accept your offer.

I am an honest, hard-working agent, and I have chosen my occupation to help people and to make a living at the same time. Most of us are not rich. We have families, and we work hard just like anyone else out there. I do not spend my time thinking of ways to cash in at the expense of others, and I am somewhat surprised that anyone else would have the time and energy to spend doing just that.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Where do you get the idea that stores "have to honor the price as advertised" on something that is clearly priced wrong, Rita? I have never seen that law written or quoted. What if an unscrupulous consumer switched the prices before attempting to check out? Or a disgruntled employee purposely mis-priced items? Many stores may well honor an ad with a typo for PR, but am pretty sure they do not HAVE to.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Nice try. Even if it was listed at 14,490 do you think you would be the only buyer interested in buying that home. Have you heard of bidding wars? When homes are priced well they often sell for more than list price and the buyers that were out bid have no reason to sue, because their offer was not accepted. Are you trying to buy a home, or just looking for reasons to sue agents?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
actually, I got a kick out of this question - I needed a chuckle - it was a long day!

Why do so many want to sue people right away?

Rita - just curous - did you ever make a mistake or perhaps a typo?
Hope no one ever sues you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Just call the realtor and have the errors fixed.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
A house in Arab AL isn't a carton of diapers at Walmart.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
I would definately sue, sue everyone from the agent, broker, company, internet, the power company, State of AL and I'd even file against FNMA and the feds. Please let is all know how you like the house, you're going to be handsomely rewarded for being so astute.

This just in - Century 21 will be filing suit against you for not capitalizing the "C".

Web Reference: http://www.hrmiller
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Actually that sound like a great idea. Hire a lawyer tomorrow and let us know how you make out.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Realtors have "errors and ommissions insurance" to protect them from typo's like thid. I am not sure how much you were damaged. I am sure it was fixed as soon as it was discovered.

That being said. If the agent did not make a typo and put in the wrong price to get calls like a "bait and switch" and you could prove it, you may be able to get them on false advertising. I don't think that was the case here.

There is no way you can sue and get the house for the 14,900. I can't imagine a judge ruleing in your favor.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Do you honestly think a property would be listed that far below the market value of other homes in the area? The Seller has just cause to be affected by the mistake. How long was it priced before you or your Agent was informed about the error in price? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Remember, the Seller does not have to agree with the price you offered for the home (especially if it is nearly 100k lower than what was intended. It is un-fortunate the error was not caught sooner, sounds like the Listing Agent has some explaining to his Client.

Best of luck,

David Jaffe-Realtor
Coldwell Banker
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011

The simple answer is that you can sue anyone for anything. Whether you can find a lawyer who is willing to file a suit on something that is obviously a typing error, and if you did, whether you would prevail in a court of law is the larger question. And, as Tony says, "only a lawyer can really answer your question."

If you do not have a lawyer, I'm happy to refer you to three good ones up here in the mountains.

Purely out of curiosity, I have a question: Did you find the listing at the low price in Trula? Or someplace else?

The reason I'm asking is that checked the MLS and none of the $144,900 Century 21 listings that I can find were entered into the MLS at $14,490. That makes me think that the data was probably entered incorrectly in Trulia. If my research is accurate, then I'm thinking that you might want to make an attorney aware of that fact in discussing the viability of your case.

Gary Kaupman
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
My sister saw a house advertised $100,000.00 less than the home was suppose to sell for. She demanded the home at the price it was advertised for. They said "no". She took them to court and won. This was four years ago in Rhode Island. So don't try to tell people that this can't be done.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2015
I can say no you can't buy the home for the wrong price that was advertised. You should however be able to sue the agent, broker, and agency for either fraud or dereliction of duties. That is what is wrong with today's business owners and workers. They are directly affecting others lives and seem unable to measure twice and cut once. They need to take the time and effort to insure every move they make is correct, and if not pay for it. That's why I think realtors need to go away. Making good money and can't do the job and they suffer nothing when they don't do their job right, all the others involved do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2014
While I agree that this question is ill stated and not well thought out and that Rita does not have a case here, does this act of misrepresentation put damage unto the Realtor with this omission (i.e. give them a bad rep)?

Real estate listing mistakes are very common, much more common than some may think, and when they occur and have to be reported by a consumer the referral for that Realtor or agent becomes smudged.

Realtors and agents need to be careful out there in the world that we live in today. Insurance can only go so far for them. Their professionalism is always at risk and their core product (the listing information itself) needs to be handled such that it can make or break their career.

I have spoken with numerous real estate agents about this exact topic of poor quality listing information and have been met with passionate responses. Don't be the lazy Realtor out there not checking your product for bad information, it can give you a bad name, your brokerage and the entire industry - let alone cost yourself and brokerage thousands and thousands of dollars.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 14, 2014
People make mistakes and Realtor's have error and omissions insurance. Having said that, why would you want to sue someone for making an honest mistake? It does not speak well to your character.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 8, 2014
When an agent makes this "Honest Mistake". Is the principle left to the damages? It's an "Honest Mistake", so the agent has no responsibility in it??. The agent should ignore, lie and deflect until the principle goes away?? I Suggest Rules are Rules, and laws are laws but for exactly this very senerio. Whose character is in question? An Agent is always going to suggest it's the principle who should be questioned when the agent makes an "Honest mistake"..
Flag Wed Jan 8, 2014
I'm not a R.E. Agent, nor am I an attorney. I can not speak with authority to legal Yes or No or how any court might decide any specific case... I do have some experience with Misunderstandings between R.E. Agent and Buyer/Seller (Principal) Relationships.. Understanding the aforementioned facts, My opinion is:, As I understand the relationship between Agent and Principal. The Agent has a legal obligation to the Principal known as fiduciary. The Agent can bind the principal without the Principal(s) consent once a contract exist between the parties. That is why you (Principal) are forced into an Exclusive Contract with your agent. If the Principal has given Power of Attorney to the Agent, (IE the contract) The principal has no recourse to stop a sale. The Principal only has recourse as a legal matter for damages if the Agent Mis-Represents his/her Principal. This goes for both buyer and seller as Principal. Again, I am not an authority in this area, I'm speaking solely from my own experience. That experience tells me that Being an Agent, Representing others interest under contract carries with it a legal obligation. I don't believe the law anywhere allows for negligence as an defense for damages to another. And I Think some states require honoring Advertised price as a remedy for Bait and Switch. In my opinion, The agent has legally represented the principal, The Agent was Negligent in representation, IE: Listing the property at 10% of the Principals requested amount, Consequently, the Agent is Responsible for the Error..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 8, 2014
Multiple Listing Services of Greater Cincinnati / All Information is believed accurate, but is NOT guaranteed.
Flag Wed Jan 8, 2014
My point exactly. It took 15 months and 65 responses for someone to step up say "Hey buddy, what you are trying to do here is wrong". I know we live in a litigious society and times are challenging so people are looking for ways to get more and/or cost less. Having said that, we get to choose how we respond to these times and our choices are revealing of who we are. The person that asked the original question chose unwisely.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 6, 2012
Joe, I am sure this person is long gone, as he asked this back in Jan. 2011!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 6, 2012
Does anyone here take this guy seriously? If this yahoo wants to force someone into selling him a home for less because the listing agent made an honest mistake, then he is morally bankrupt. I wouldn't give this guy the time of day.

Real Estate Agents have "Errors and Omissions" insurance to protect them in a situation like this anyway.

Get a life buddy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 6, 2012
I found a home that was listed for 10% of the appraised value on Zillow. Figuring that was a mistake... I check on the listing realtors web site... it was also listed there for 10% of the appraised value. Come on now folks, how many mistakes do you think you can make and still beg off in a court of law. You might want to check some previous cases where incorrect listing prices lawsuits were upheld. Typos on a 2nd hand listing is one thing, but on a realtors home page? That stupidy should not be rewarded. Now, do you really want to contest that in court? Yes, you do not own the property but your are the legal representatives for the property. Can you be held liable... you damned right you can. If you are sloppy and negligent, you can be held liable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 25, 2011
"You might want to check some previous cases where incorrect listing prices lawsuits were upheld."

That would be never. As a matter of fact, if you listed your home for a million dollars, and someone offered you a million, you wouldn't have to sell it.
Flag Mon May 7, 2012
I had a listing that was 1 million dollars , somehow trulia posted the price at 1 dollar. No fault of mine, I had the price listed correctly on the listing agreement and on the listing sheet. I got all kinds of calls and finally got someone to send me the link and was able to contact trulia nd get it fixed. Bottom line is "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 6, 2011
No, I don't think so. Please check with a lawyer for proper legal advice. As a practical matter I wouldn't look to sue as a first resort to solve your problem. Homes, if properly marketed, should sell for their best price in the end.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 29, 2011
Rita, (responding to your reply time stamped 5:17)
you bring up an excellant point which is, "Is a real estate professional, or anyone for that matter, responsible for information appearing in aggregate websites of which the originator has no control?"

Usually a real estate agent enters data into the local MLS. The MLS then sends this information to Realtor.com, then on to Trulia, Zillow and nearly countless websites, many of which a real estate agent has no knowledge of.

Then Realtor.com and Trulia strips the agent informaton from the data they received and compels the real estate agent to PAY to have the agent information restored! Some aggregate web sites actually CHANGE the description section.

Clearly, the data displayed by these aggregate websites IS altered for their financial benefit.
Who should be held responsible for data appearing on websites where the content has been modified without the originators consent or knowledge?

Rita, I woud advise that reliable information is only available through those closest to the subject. That would be your local real estate agent. Those who choose to rely on Trulia and Zillow have, wether they know it or not, elected to make decisions based on data for which no one will assume any responsiblity. Contact your local real estate agent to get information that you can rely on.
Web Reference: http://www.mydunedin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 29, 2011
auction houses list properties at 9000 or 19000 all the time. Do you get to buy it at that price, only in your dream. Worst yet, you can bid it up to a price but still less than their hidden approved price, they still reject your offer a few weeks later.

You can curse at them if you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 29, 2011
We're still some distance from getting full use of this asinine question so let's go....

Sue everyone, for everything, all of the time...It's the American Way.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
All humans are subject to error. This is obviously just a data entry error. If you look at the listing it probably has something to the effect of the following: Information is deemed to be accurate but is not guaranteed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
First thing any attorney will tell you in response to your question. "Anyone can sue anyone in this country". Now, if you win or not, that is another thing. I would start off with speaking to your Agents broker and go from there. After that, I would seek legal council, not the advice of other Realtors on a forum board.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
I like Debbie Rose's answer. Maybe it should be listed at $14,490 for real. The price would be bid up to value anyway. Many banks purposly put the price low expecting a bidding war. And, like others have said, you don't get a house automatically at listing price, all contracts need to in writing and that was just an ad.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
It was probably a typo and human error and we are all human. You may have a new job opportunity perhaps the agent and C-21 could use a fact checker and micro manager.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Thanks Rita,

It's nice to see this from the consumers perspective.

I frequently get calls on rental properties that somebody has picked up as a for sale or for some reason the fields didn't match up when it uploaded from one place to the next and a rental was picked up a sale. I was incredulous that people really believed someone was "giving" their house away, and did not realize this was an entry error of some type.

I read the entire thread and have picked up copyrite instead of copyright, lots of folks picked up on the "C-21" thing and I know that there were several more, but my point is we all make boo boos. Technology helps but it even creates some issues for us.

Our MLS has " Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed", but Trulia feeds from lots of different sources, not just MLS. I looked for a disclaimer on Trulia, but could not find one. Maybe they should put a disclaimer on the "for sales"

They say you can sue for anything. Doesn't mean you will win. But if you do, let us know how it turns out!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Are you kidding?????...It was a typo. Get over it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
No. (Since the website insists on a mimimum number of characters-no, no, no)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Maybe we have hit on something here.

Maybe the house should be priced at $14,490, and buyers would possibly bid it up to way over 144,900! (Remember Rita, that price was the LIST price, not the selling price, and you would be competing with others to buy it - not like mismarked boxes of crackers that are piled in the store's inventory ).

Isn't this how many auctions on Ebay work? Some items are listed at a ridiculous $.99, and wind up selling for 10 or 20 times that!

Well, it was just a thought, although underpricing a home, can still result in a higher selling price!

The idea that Trulia made a "typo" is amusing, too - I can just see it now, some little employee locked in a room, inputting the thousands of listings as they come in.......pretty good if he or she only made this one "error" ha
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
You can sue anyone, what is important is how likely the effort and expense will pay off. The standard disclaimers in the original listing database and all the online outlets that pick up that information PROBABLY (not certainly) preclude any chance of achieving success. Start by looking at the disclaimers on the site where you found the information originally. I expect you will be disappointed.

You are on the right track by asking about the Broker, since that is where the mistake probably took place - data entry. The seller is probably indemnified several times over, so actually getting a house is out of the question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
It's doubtful (although I suppose remotely possible) that Trulia made the typo, since Trulia simply accepts feeds from different MLS's across the country.

They don't re-type the listings when they come in... they don't have the staff to re-input thousands upon thousands of listings. Emily, Rudy, et al, must be shaking in their boots at a thought like that.

Sounds like whomever you talked to was attempting to shift blame. As for forcing them to honor the advertised price. Real Estate agencies don't have the same policy as Target, and K-mart... it was a typo, and you can't force them to sell for the advertised price. It's a nice thought, but if that were the case, we could put RealtyTrac out of business for advertising all those $1 homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Rita someone printed Realtor® and Century 21® without following proper copyrite proceedures. Can they be sued for copyrite violations?

I believe if this ever got to court a judge would have to use the standard of a "sane and reasonable man" and rule that the property was not being offered for that and that a sane and reasonable man would realise that the price printed was a scriveners error.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 28, 2011
You can waste your time and money on anything you want to waste it on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
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