For most Florida real estate agents, the majority of their obligations to a client end at the closing table. Their role is to guide people during the home search process, help them evaluate counter offers and put together paperwork that adequately protects their interests.
Once the buyer takes possession of a property, they may not reach out to their agent again until they are ready to upgrade to a bigger home when they have children or move into a smaller property when they retire. Agents who hear back from buyers after the closing under alternative circumstances often have to address issues that have arisen with the property. The buyers may have discovered significant defects that influence what the property is worth that the seller did not disclose as they should have. These are the two main ways for a Florida real estate agent to support buyers coping with an undisclosed defect.
Contacting the other agent
When the buyer’s agent has every reason to suspect that the seller’s agent was aware of the defect, reaching out to them is often the first step toward resolving the matter. Their failure to disclose the matter to the other agent or to advise the sellers to include the issue in disclosure paperwork could be an actionable failure on their part. Many agents carry special errors and omissions insurance for these kinds of scenarios that can help compensate buyers frustrated with a property that is not in the condition they expected when making their offer.
Affirming their claims against the seller
Maybe the seller listed the property for sale themselves or intentionally hid the defect from their agent to justify a higher asking price. There are many scenarios where the only party with legal responsibility for a property defect is the former owner. A real estate professional can be an important witness when their clients need to make a claim against the seller of a property. Validating their claims about how the seller explained away or intentionally covered up those defects could help a client show that the seller was aware of the issue with the property and intentionally tried to hide it from the buyer.
Discussing an issue that has reduced a client’s dissatisfaction with a prior real estate transaction can help an agent protect their profession and their reputation.