The California Supreme court has made a ruling that may have widespread, if specific, implications for real estate salespeople throughout the state. After ample deliberation, the court has ruled that if a salesperson working with a seller of a property is licensed through the same brokerage as a salesperson working with the buyer, the seller’s salesperson has a legal fiduciary responsibility to disclose all materially relevant information to the buyer.
It is important to note that this ruling does not make dual agency illegal, nor does it change the responsibility that a listing agent has had for some time to disclose to a buyer any information pertaining to the value of the property.
The case in question dealt with a property that had been advertised as comprising approximately 15,000 square feet, while separate documents indicated that the property was several thousand square feet less. The discrepancy apparently arose in the different ways that the city of the property calculated square footage versus the method used by the tax assessor. While the salespeople involved did not intentionally mislead the buyer, the case was used to establish that the parties did indeed have a legal duty to disclose all the relevant information to a buyer, as well as recommend a visual inspection.
If you are entering into any kind of real estate transaction, it always pays to have a team who are invested in your own interests. The guidance of an experienced real estate attorney can help ensure that the property you are pursuing is actually what you think you are getting, and ensure that your rights will remain protected if an issue arises.
Source: Noozhawk.com, “Alec Bruice: California Supreme Court Rules on Horiike v. Coldwell Banker,” Alec Bruice, Dec. 06, 2016