Can I sue my listing agent/BROKER in a short sale transaction in California for failure to excercise reasonable effort and due dilgence?

Asked by Litoran, Santa Clarita, CA Thu Jul 19, 2012

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13
Keisha Mathe…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Thu Jul 26, 2012
Litoran, I found your response under one of the other responses below:

"Litoran, Home Seller, Santa Clarita, CA
Thanks to all the anwers to my question which was general to start with I admit. My short Sale went through but the listing agent/broker did not notify us ahead of time that escrow is closing and that we need to move out in one (1) week which was eventually extended to two weeks but was still not enough time to find a place to rent. We had to move twice and incurred addtioanl moving expenses and had to stay in a hotel. He also did not advise the personal property we can take when we move. We took some which we thought are ours and was accused by the buyer of stealing and was reported to the County of LA Sheriff and I was handcuffed in public. We eventually returned the items to the satisfaction of the buyer and no case was filed but it was traumatic experienc for me and my wife and a public embarassment. My agent/broker did not show up during the incident when we called him. This agent was referred to us by a trusted friend working in a law office witha tie up with the agent."

I hope the attorney reference below will assist you.

Keisha Mathews, REALTOR®
CDPE®, HRC®, HAFA® Certified
The Short Sale Lady(sm)
Century 21 Landmark Network
(916) 370-1803 cell/direct
(916) 405-3886 fax
keisha.mathews@century21.com
http://www.SheSoldItForMe.com
lic#: 01439130
0 votes
Keisha Mathe…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Thu Jul 26, 2012
I agree with Patrick and Tina, your question is can you sue? The answer is, yes. You can sue anyone for anything in California. However, it sounds as if you may really want to know if you have a case in which you may be able to prevail. Now THAT question can only be determined by a qualified professional, such as an attorney who specializes in these matters.

May I recommend the BPE Law group:

BPE Law Group, Inc.
Main: 11140 Fair Oaks Blvd., Suite 300, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Satellite: 9245 Laguna Springs Dr., Suite 200, Elk Grove, CA 95758 (Appointment Only)
(916) 966-2260

Hope that helps,

Keisha Mathews, REALTOR®
CDPE®, HRC®, HAFA® Certified
The Short Sale Lady(sm)
Century 21 Landmark Network
(916) 370-1803 cell/direct
(916) 405-3886 fax
keisha.mathews@century21.com
http://www.SheSoldItForMe.com
lic#: 01439130
0 votes
Patrick O'Ha…, Agent, Citrus Heights, CA
Sun Jul 22, 2012
Actually we are qualified to answer your question because it does not
require a legal opinion. Yes you can----anybody can sue anybody, period.
What we cannot answer for a myriad of reasons is if can you prevail.
You wouldn't ask the first person you saw at a cocktail party to diagnose
a medical issue via cocktail banter----even if they were a MD.....legal
issues are the same; way too many issues to ask the question in 22
words, and the answer from an attorney will be longer and at an expense.
0 votes
Thanks to all the anwers to my question which was general to start with I admit. My short Sale went through but the listing agent/broker did not notify us ahead of time that escrow is closing and that we need to move out in one (1) week which was eventually extended to two weeks but was still not enough time to find a place to rent. We had to move twice and incurred addtioanl moving expenses and had to stay in a hotel. He also did not advise the personal property we can take when we move. We took some which we thought are ours and was accused by the buyer of stealing and was reported to the County of LA Sheriff and I was handcuffed in public. We eventually returned the items to the satisfaction of the buyer and no case was filed but it was traumatic experienc for me and my wife and a public embarassment. My agent/broker did not show up during the incident when we called him. This agent was referred to us by a trusted friend working in a law office witha tie up with the agent.
Flag Mon Jul 23, 2012
Stan Richard…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2012
As you know by now, we cannot give you legal advise and your question has too few details.

You may want to check the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS®

http://www.car.org/aboutus/forconsumers/realtorcodeofethics/
0 votes
Thanks to all the anwers to my question which was general to start with I admit. My short Sale went through but the listing agent/broker did not notify us ahead of time that escrow is closing and that we need to move out in one (1) week which was eventually extended to two weeks but was still not enough time to find a place to rent. We had to move twice and incurred addtioanl moving expenses and had to stay in a hotel. He also did not advise the personal property we can take when we move. We took some which we thought are ours and was accused by the buyer of stealing and was reported to the County of LA Sheriff and I was handcuffed in public. We eventually returned the items to the satisfaction of the buyer and no case was filed but it was traumatic experienc for me and my wife and a public embarassment. My agent/broker did not show up during the incident when we called him. This agent was referred to us by a trusted friend working in a law office witha tie up with the agent.
Flag Fri Jul 20, 2012
Stephanie Ta…, Agent, Shingle Springs, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Again, be aware of UPL. I am curious about the "due diligence" reference, as I don't think its an appropriate term for the problem here, as although it can refer to a standard of care, it's more about the investigation process one undertakes to make a decision, which is what a Seller should do in hiring a qualified short sale agent. Unfortunately for this industry, when clients sometimes do not get a desired result in these tough economic times, they want to lay blame or find someone they can recover their losses from.....forgetting that it was their decision in the first place that got them in the position they are in.....short sales are not meant to be financial windfalls for sellers.....but some relief from the unfortunate situation......the ultimate decision is that of the lender/investor. Not the agent./broker. Since the process takes time, I would question why a failure to perform was not taken up with the agent prior to the failure of the short sale? Just sayin.............
0 votes
Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Jul 19, 2012
That's is a very interesting opening question and makes us all interested in more detail.

First, there appears some disatisfaction with your results. Complaints on a realtor for any reason should be addressed first by the broker, who is actually who you have a 'contract' with. Second, the CA Dept of Real Estate defines what services we need to provide as a licensed salesperson, and the Association of Realtors sets guidelines as to ethics related to a realtor. (those aren't the same thing).

Finding some satisfaction for the service you were seeking is best handled through those channels. However if you want to pay some attorney to sue, understand that any lawsuit requires you to show actual damages for actions a party took. I can answer that far without being an attorney myself.

And last, a short sale requires two efforts. One is the listing of your home for sale. That is a typical effort by which the parties above monitor and define efforts of the agent is negotiating your sale with a buyer, facilitate the sale..... The second effort is to help negotiate the approval of the short sale and terms with your lender. The LENDER defines their policies and offer to you and that second effort should have involved you speaking with an attorney and accountant in that negotiation as well as the realtor.

I'm not sure what responsibility the realtor failed on but it would be easier to answer your question with more detail. And maybe another channel might be more effective than a lawsuit, to obtain your ultimate goal of satisfaction.
0 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Auburn, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Hello Litorian. I am sorry your short sale did not go the way you had hoped for (I am assuming that is the case because you want to sue your agent). You have already heard from the others that real estate agents can't give you legal advice, but frankly even an attorney would not be able to advice you without knowing the facts as there is no law without facts. I am sure you don't want to just know if you can file a lawsuit. The real question is whether your case has merit and whether you can recover damages. One of the challenges you will have is proving that the outcome would have been more favorable had it not been for the actions/inactions of your agent.
0 votes
well put...and good luck on proving that! Like to see case law on this issue.
Flag Thu Jul 19, 2012
Ed Favinger, Agent, Folsom, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Litoran...

I'd like to know the context of your situation. I think it would be of value to those of us that are on here a lot.

While I also agree with the others that we are not attorneys, we need to know what a consumer is going through that would make them want to sue a real estate professional.

Perhaps if you let us in on the context, you will maybe providing some valuable information to those of us in the industry so we can provide a better service to our own clients.

Just a thought....
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
As Eric pointed out, anyone can sue anyone at anytime for anything. Is it worth it, probably not but I'm not an attorney and don't know the details. Your listing agreement should spell out procedures for dispute resolution. If you are using form RLA revised 11/11 review section 20.

That said, proving a subjective claim such as the one you suggest is likely to be difficult. talk to a real estate attorney and go from there.
0 votes
Eric H. Wong , Agent, Albany, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
This is California. You can sue anyone for anything. In your listing agreement you may find that you have to speak to an arbitrator first.

Talk to an attorney to know your rights.
0 votes
Stephanie Ta…, Agent, Shingle Springs, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
We are not allowed to give legal advice so it would be advisable to contact an attorney. It is difficult for a person that is not in real estate to determine if the efforts made on behalf of the client were reasonable.......short sales are not a perfect science and every transaction is different with different players....speak to an attorney and be mindful of listening to friends etc who are not in the industry and do not know what they are advising you about. Good luck!
0 votes
Ed Favinger, Agent, Folsom, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
Litoran...

What happened in your transaction that brings you to the point that you want to sue them....?

I'm going to give you a short answer to your question but it's without context... Yea.. you can sue anyone for just about anything if you hire an attorney willing to take your case.

So give us a little more context... Inquiring minds want to know... and then you'll get a lot more information...

I hope this helps...

Make it a Great Day...
0 votes
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Thu Jul 19, 2012
No one on this site can answer your question, you need to see an attorney.
0 votes
Perfect answer.
Flag Thu Jul 19, 2012
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