How to Avoid the Most Common Complaints Filed Against Real Estate Agents

Being a real estate agent can be an exciting and rewarding job in California. Helping people find their perfect home requires someone who listens to their clients and who is tenacious, patient, and quick to act when needed. However, even the most dedicated and talented real estate agent is not immune from client complaints. 

Understanding how to avoid the most common complaints that can be filed against you as a real estate agent can help you effectively protect your license.

Common Complaints Against Real Estate Agents

A real estate license defense lawyer can assist you in responding to a variety of complaints before they become disciplinary investigations. These include the following common complaints:

Trust Fund Violations

Real estate brokers that hold or receive monies that belong to a client, which includes, but is not limited to, initial good faith deposits, rent monies, down payments, escrow funds, etc., are required to properly account, record, and maintain the monies in properly designated trust accounts.  Real estate agents and brokers that engage in property management are particularly susceptible to trust fund violations.  You should consult an attorney about such requirements.

Conflict of Interest

A real estate agent should generally avoid situations where they have an interest in the outcome of the sale. For example, you may have a conflict of interest if you are closely related to the seller but represent a potential buyer.

If there is a conflict of interest, the best practice is to acknowledge and disclose it as soon as possible to all parties. If the parties do not consent to you continuing to be involved in the deal, withdraw and allow another agent to handle the matter.

Failure to Disclose

Real estate agents can also face complaints and disciplinary actions if they withhold vital information about a property from potential buyers. This could include information about known defects or other issues affecting the buyer’s willingness to pay.

These complaints can be avoided by periodically reviewing and reminding yourself what disclosures you must make according to the law. If you realize you forgot to make a disclosure, correct the oversight as quickly as possible and document when you do so.

Failure to Obey Instructions

Keep in mind that as a real estate agent, you are bound to follow your client’s lawful and reasonable instructions. Failing to carry out your client’s instructions — or not doing so in a timely manner — can be grounds for a complaint. 

Such a complaint can lead to sanctions and disciplinary actions if the failure to obey was unjustified and led to financial harm or lost opportunities for your client.

Speak with your client to confirm you understand their instructions and let them know when they can expect you to complete the requested task. If you run into any delays, communicate this information to the client.

A Real Estate License Defense Lawyer Can Help

You may not be able to avoid having a complaint filed against you as a real estate agent, but you can affect how the complaint is resolved. A real estate license defense attorney from S J Harris Law can advise you on how best to protect your real estate license and can craft an effective response to any complaints you encounter.

Contact S J Harris Law to learn how we can help safeguard your license today.

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When dealing with these complex issues, you need legal representation that has a long track record of success in these types of cases. Scott Harris and the rest of our team at S J Harris Law will be ready to help you pursue any option available that allows you to keep your license and continue working, no matter what industry you are in.


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