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Aranki v. RKP Investments, Inc.: Contract Clauses Releasing Brokers from Liability Found Unenforceable by Arizona Court

June 1, 1999: 

A decision from the Court of Appeals of Arizona found the broker exculpatory clauses in a form purchase contract were unenforceable and also clearly distinguished between the disclosure duties owed to a home buyer by the listing brokerage and those owed by the brokerage representing the buyers.

Bortz v. Noon: Listing Broker Not Liable for Sales Associate’s Misrepresentation to Buyer

May 1, 1999: 

An April, 1999 decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Bortz v. Noon, addressed the issue of misrepresentation in the context of a licensee acting as an innocent conduit of information from a third party.

Darby v. The Furman Company, Inc.: Commission Must Be Disgorged Where Licensee Did Not Disclose His Interest in Transaction

May 1, 1999: 

In 1999 the Supreme Court of South Carolina decided the case Darby v. The Furman Company, Inc. In this case, Gwendolyn Darby (the “Seller”) owned a large tract of land located in Greenville County, South Carolina. She contacted a real estate brokerage, The Furman Company, Inc. (the “Brokerage”), spoke with Bill Fogleman, one of its salespeople, and listed a 53 acre parcel for sale with the Brokerage.

Telluride Real Estate Company v. Penthouse Affiliates, LLC: Colorado Statute Governing Brokerage Relationships Does Not Abrogate Colorado Common Law of Procuring Cause

May 1, 1999: 

A Colorado procuring cause case, Telluride Real Estate Company v. Penthouse Associates, LLC, addressed the claim that state statute governing real estate brokerage relationships abrogated Colorado common law (case law) of procuring cause. In this case, Steve Hilbert, a licensee affiliated with Telluride Real Estate Company, showed the Revenue Penthouse, a condominium located in Telluride, Colorado (the “Penthouse Unit”) to Mr. and Mrs. Furland (the “Buyers”). They were interested in the unit and had Hilbert show it to them a second time.

Hilbert v. Hough: Specific Performance Denied Where Land Description Too Ambiguous

April 1, 1999: 

A 1998 case from the Court of Appeals of Idaho, Hilbert v. Hough, addressed the important element of certainty in a contract. In this case, the Hilberts (the “Buyers”) entered into an agreement (the “Agreement”) to purchase a parcel of land located in Bannock County, Idaho from the Houghs (the “Sellers”).

Cantrell-Waind & Associates, Inc. v. Guillaume Mortorsports, Inc.: Property Owner Cannot Deliberately Hinder Closing to Avoid Owing a Commission

April 1, 1999: 

A 1998 case from the Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Cantrell-Waind & Associates, Inc. v. Guillaume Mortorsports, Inc., addressed a real estate broker’s right to a commission in the context of an option to purchase and the property owner’s duty of good faith and fair dealing.

Field v. Century 21 Klowden-Forness Realty: California Court Distinguishes Between Limited Inspection Duties Owed to Buyer by Seller’s Broker and Fiduciary Duties Owed by Buyer Broker

March 1, 1999: 

The California case, Field v. Century 21 Klowden-Forness Realty, found that a broker in a fiduciary relationship with the buyer may be required to examine such things as public records and title documents for the buyer, as opposed to a seller’s broker, who has no such duty.

Wardley Corporation v. Welsh: Utah Court Holds Broker is a Finder

December 1, 1998: 

In Wardley Corporation v. Welsh, the Utah Court of Appeals found that the real estate broker did not have an agency relationship with the seller, and instead, was acting as a finder. This unusual case involved Grant Welsh, a developer (interestingly, he also was a licensed real estate broker and a real estate training class instructor). Randy Young, a real estate salesperson affiliated with Wardley Corporation, a real estate brokerage (together referred to as the “Broker”), inquired whether Welsh wanted to sell any property.

Shapiro v. Sutherland: Relocation Company Not Liable to Purchaser for Failure to Disclose Noise Problem

December 1, 1998: 

Shapiro v. Sutherland, a decision from the Court of Appeal of California, addressed disclosure obligations of a relocation company and the prior homeowners. David and Mary Sutherland had lived in their home in Burbank, California for 15 years when Mr. Sutherland’s employer, IBM, relocated him to another state. IBM had a relationship with a relocation company, Prudential Resources Management (“PRM”), and when the Sutherlands were unable to sell their home in a satisfactory manner, PRM stepped in and paid them $349,000 for the house.

McFarland v. Associated Brokers: Inspection and Discovery of Leak by Buyer Does Not Protect Licensee From Misrepresentation Claim

December 1, 1998: 

In McFarland v. Associated Brokers, a case involving a leaking roof, the buyer claimed that the listing broker knowingly concealed the extent of the problem. In this case, Bruce McFarland (the “Buyer”) bought a home listed by Associated Brokers (the “Listing Broker”). According to the decision, he was “assisted” in the purchase by another brokerage (the “Selling Broker”); there is no specific mention of whether the Selling Broker represented him or was acting as a subagent.

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