Why an agent could get caught in a real estate dispute

Real estate agents are heavily involved in helping people buy and sell homes and in doing so, they can also be in the center of some disputes that happen as a result. In some cases, the agents may be targeted by these lawsuits for what they did or what they failed to do.

For example, one agency was sued by people who bought a home in Pennsylvania -- not because of something that they told the buyers, but because of something they left out. A murder had been committed at the home as well as a suicide. These disturbing details were never brought up, but they resulted in a case that took years to resolve.

As this story shows, a real estate dispute can come out of nowhere. This is a rather rare reason, of course, but disputes also arise for many other reasons. For example, people may feel that a home was not represented correctly when it was put up for sale and advertising material was created.

Three of the main reasons for litigation of this type revolve around things that are supposed to be disclosed -- if the seller has knowledge of them -- before a sale is made. The first is damage that was caused by termites. The second is mold that is growing anywhere in the house. The third is water damage from leaks or floods.

In many of these cases, homeowners who are selling are the ones who need to know about their rights when it comes to real estate litigation, but it is important for agents to also be aware of their rights and potential legal action.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Why Real-Estate Agents Should Consider Insurance" Jacob Gershman, Sep. 04, 2014