Some people don’t realize that many licensed professionals can face malpractice claims. When a professional does not fulfill their obligations to their clients or when they significantly deviate from best practices in their industry, they can face malpractice claims in court or against their professional insurance.
Could buyers or sellers hold real estate agents accountable for malpractice if they had a serious conflict of interest?
Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty
The obligation that one party has to another varies depending on the legal relationship that they have with one another. Real estate agents are subject to the highest level of duty required under the law. Fiduciary duty means putting the needs of clients ahead of one’s own needs.
In a real estate transaction, that means helping buyers purchase the right property and avoid mistakes with their offer that could lead to financial losses. When representing sellers, an agent’s fiduciary duty might mean helping them to maximize their returns on the property and guiding them so that they don’t make mistakes with their disclosures.
Conflicts of interest in the real estate world are common. An agent may have a pre-existing relationship with the party on the other side of the real estate transaction. They might be in a position to drive some sort of secondary financial benefit from the sale. Agents should tell their clients about those potential conflicts of interest and refer their clients to a trusted colleague if they can’t ensure they will act in the client’s best interests.
If you believe that your agent had a conflict of interest that compromised the representation and advice they provided you during your transaction, then you may be able to bring a claim against them or their insurance policy. Identifying professional malpractice is crucial to fighting back against it.