Realtor® Legal Tip – What are some things Realtors® sometimes do that can create unnecessary liability?
March 14, 2019
Author: Curtis Bullock
Personally testing for radon. Testing for radon requires specific training and knowledge. If a Realtor® tests for radon and gets the wrong reading, there is increased liability for that Realtor®. Suppose the reading comes in low but is actually higher. That can be problematic. Testing for radon goes outside the scope of what we as Realtors® should do. Instead of testing it yourself, invite your client to get it tested by a home inspector or someone else and don’t forget to review the Buyer Due Diligence Checklist thoroughly with your client.
Personally testing for meth. This is the same as testing for radon above. Avoid doing this yourself and point the Buyer in the right direction and to hire the appropriate professionals.
Saying the fence is in the correct location. Many times fences are not on the survey line. Instead, invite your client to get a survey if there is any question about the boundary lines.
Personally measuring square footage. Avoid this at all costs. Measuring square footage is such an inexact science which can bring on too much liability. Two people can arrive at completely different square footage numbers. As Realtors® we do not receive training on how to properly measure for square footage. Instead, simply state the source used for the square footage measurement (i.e., previous appraisal, building plans, etc). Don’t be the source of that information yourself. Many lawsuits are filed throughout the country each year because of square footage discrepancies.
Encouraging a client to not get a home inspection. In most situations, buyer’s should get a home inspection. If there is a problem after closing with the home, you don’t want to be the one blamed for the defect. Protect your client by advising them to hire a home inspector.
Giving tax or legal advice. This is a no brainer. Avoid this.