Can a real estate inspector/agent be sued for negligence?

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Can a real estate inspector/agent be sued for negligence?

My wife and I bought a house 2 years ago. Upon trying to make some changes, we have found that several issues are not to code, i.e. plumbing, electric, etc. Our real estate agent saw these in the inspectors report and failed to use them in negotiation with the seller. Can we sue and/or how can we file a claim against them?

Asked on March 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The real estate agent is not under a legal obligation to get you the best price possible. If the defects were in the inspector's report, *you* could have taken action based on that report--you could demanded price concessions, that the defects been repaired, possibly walked away from the deal. As the prospective homeowner, it's up to you to tell your agent what to do, and if you don't provide instructions, the agent is almost certainly not liable to you--the agent presents your offers, but does not decide what they do. Sure, a good agent would have made recommendations to you, but just because this agent was not good does not mean there is a cause of action.

If the inspector found the items, there is no liability there, either--he was not negligent. He did his job. That nothing was done with the report after the fact is not his responsbility.


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