What recourse, if any, do we have to possible sue for any damages regarding a failed real estate deal?

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What recourse, if any, do we have to possible sue for any damages regarding a failed real estate deal?

Recently my friend put his condo up for sale with an agency and did not sign any contract with the agent. This company has had this property up for sale for 4 months now. An offer was made with compromise that the seller repaint and repair some items in the home. The buyer’s were an all cash deal.11 day’s after escrow opened they cancelled with no deposit as well. Does he have any recourse against the agent?

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

On what grounds would your friend sue the realtor? The realtor is not responsible if the other party pulls out of the deal or cannot honor/follow through on it (e.g. does not have the money): possibly the other party (the prospective buyer) is liable, if he/she/they violated the terms of any contract or agreement of sale, but that realtor would not likely be liable for that. As for the lack of deposit, only IF the realtor did something wrong--claimed to the buyer (your friend) that there was a deposit and the realtor had it, but that was a lie; or released a deposit the realtor was holding without good cause--would be the realtor be liable. But if the deal never required a deposit and your friend was aware of that, that may have been a bad way to structure it--and this may be a bad realtor--but there would be no deception, no bad act, and no liabilty; it was just a bad deal. You have to show that the realtor did something intentionally or carelessly wrong, and not just that he or she was a bad realtor, to establish liability.


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