Court sides with agent in client legal dispute

In a BC Supreme Court case, a former client alleged the selling agent withheld pertinent market information that led to the sellers receiving substantially less money for the sale of their home.

The sellers had listed with a number of agents with no success; they eventually chose the final agent – the one they eventually sued – because she was the agent for a property that had sold on the same street.

The house was then listed at a $10,000 discount and the owners eventually received an offer $100,000 below the listing price.

“(The sellers) alleged that the listing agent ‘pressured’ them into accepting the low offer. The listing agent deposed that she had told the sellers it was up to them whether to accept, reject or counter the offer,” Attorney Brian Taylor wrote in his analysis for BCREA’s latest Legally Speaking analysis. “Although not known to the sellers at the time, the house across the street sold for almost an identical amount.”

However, following the sale, the sellers learned a neighbouring house had sold for nearly $225,000 more just weeks prior.

They claimed they would not have accepted the offer had they known about that sale. They argued the agent was negligent when she didn’t provide that market analysis. They also argued conflict of interest because the listing agent had two similar properties listed across the street from each other.

The court sided with the agent, finding the sellers did not provide sufficient evidence to prove the agent did not meet the required standard of care.

“The sellers’ main complaint was that they were not made aware of the pending sale, which turned out to be close to $225,000 more than the offer they accepted. However, the Court concluded that those details would not have been available to the listing agent until after that pending sale had become unconditional, which was after the time the sellers were considering their offer,” Taylor wrote. “In dismissing the claim, the Court concluded that “the defendants did not have a legal duty to obtain the best possible price for the property.

“Rather, a realtor has an obligation to act in accordance with the applicable standard of care for giving advice on price for a property.”

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

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