As a real-estate professional, there are a few ways you can find yourself facing a lawsuit. Not disclosing important information, failing to know a property well and even disclosing client information to the wrong people can create a problem for you.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to avoid a problem. By disclosing what you know about a property, walking through it before bringing in potential buyers and keeping clients' information safe, you'll dramatically reduce the likelihood of being involved in a lawsuit in the future.
1. Disclose everything you can
One of the ways you can avoid trouble when building or showing a home is to disclose any potential problems with the property. Many claims made against real-estate professionals come from clients who were not properly informed about trouble on the property. This can be anything from the home's value to possible future development in the neighborhood. Be as transparent as possible to avoid conflict.
2. Walk through the property with your clients
Another thing you should do is to take the time to walk through the property with the buyers. You want to hear what they have to say and to find out if there are any parts of the property that are obviously hazardous. You should walk through the property before and during showing, so you have double the chances of recognizing problems with the property. Remember, it helps you to be informed, too.
3. Don't disclose client information
You should know that protecting your client's information is essential. Don't allow sensitive information to be leaked or sold, lost or stolen. You should ask clients you are showing a house for to lock up their valuables during showings and make sure you have time to clear the property of hazards, so they don't end up liable for an accident.
At the end of the day, the best things you can do to protect yourself from lawsuits are the same things you'd want if you were a client. Remember that you need to put yourself in each client's shoes and look at the sale of a home with fresh eyes.
Everyone wants to know as much as possible about a property when they're buying it, and integrity and honesty can go a long way toward resolving any possible conflicts that do come up without having to turn to the courts for help.