Real Estate Malpractice
Buying a home, commercial building, or any type of property can be a stressful—and often confusing—process. You count on your realtor to help you make a good investment based on your needs and the condition of the property you are thinking about buying. You trust the realtor to give you accurate information about the property’s integrity and value. Unfortunately, however, realtors themselves don’t always act with integrity, sometimes going so far as to misrepresent and/or conceal certain issues. We can help you determine whether such misconduct has occurred, and if it has, we can help you obtain compensation for the legal damage which was done to you.
Types of Real Estate Malpractice Claims
Real estate agents must act according to the accepted standard of care in the real estate profession. They also have a fiduciary duty to their clients to represent and advise them about real estate transactions. When a realtor fails to act according to the standard of care or breaches his or her fiduciary duty, the client may have a claim for real estate malpractice. The most common claims made against real estate agents involve the following issues and allegations:
- Breach of duty
- Breach of contract
- Property damage
- Misrepresentation regarding the condition of property
- Violations of the Consumer Protection Act
- Disputes regarding escrow money
- Misrepresentation regarding flooding or leaks
- Misrepresentation regarding the value of the property
Injuries attributable to real estate malpractice vary from situation to situation, but may include diminution of property value, cost to repair a defect, cost to replace a defect, lost profits, closing costs, physical and emotional distress, loss of consortium, and attorney’s fees associated with the claim and/or litigation.
Real Estate Fraud
The most common form of real estate malpractice is fraud. Sometimes these claims involve a realtor purposefully withholding information from a buyer, such as the actual square footage of a building, structural issues, or property line discrepancies. Other times, real estate fraud takes the form of a scheme or scam perpetrated against homeowners and property owners with the specific goal of stealing property or money.
Types of real estate schemes include foreclosure bailouts, home equity and home renovation fraud, rental fraud, and deceptive time shares. Often scam artists deliberately seek out individuals and families with limited means or financial difficulties, betting that people experiencing tough times will be receptive to a proposal that promises fast and large profits. If you believe you have become the victim of real estate fraud, you should contact the police—fraud is a crime—as well as a real estate malpractice lawyer.
Contact Smith & Doran about Real Estate Malpractice
For more information about real estate malpractice, please contact Smith & Doran to talk to an experienced New Jersey malpractice lawyer.