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Protecting yourself from liabilities as a Realtor®

by Leighton, Kelly on

What can you do to best serve your clients without putting yourself into legal limbo?

Jason R. Rittie, Esq., partner and chair of the Real Estate and Land Use and Zoning Practice at Einhorn Barbarito Frost & Botwinick, is a presenter at this year’s Triple Play conference and he has advice for you.

“Unfortunately, in today’s society where lawsuits are brought against all parties for any number of reasons, Realtors® need to be extra diligent and careful in their efforts to assist either a buyer or seller, meaning verifying certain property information and/or requesting the proper documents from the municipality that the property is situated in. A mistake could be costly and potentially expose Realtors® to liability,” said Rittie.

Rittie suggested Realtors® be proactive in identifying potential zoning issues during the pre-closing process and also in protecting themselves from potential lawsuits.

“My class will provide, among other things, educational information on land use and zoning, including the background and purposes of zoning, the process for seeking approvals and different types of approvals and variances. More specifically as it relates to Realtors®, I will discuss real life case examples that will illustrate the practical complications that may affect residential purchase and sale transactions, both before and after a closing,” said Rittie.

Realtors® should properly request zoning-related documents from the municipality prior to closing and verify information relevant to the property. If you’re looking for extra help in this area, Rittie said his class is the one to take.

“I believe my class will be beneficial to all Realtors®, with both education and practical recommendations to enhance and improve the profession,” Rittie added.

Rittie will present How Land Use and Zoning May Affect Residential Purchase and Sale Transactions: A Primer on Land Use and Zoning at Triple Play on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. Registration remains open.


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Andrew Wetzel

Great topic!~

Finding a balance between protecting ourselves, including our Broker, and our fiduciary duty to our client should not as complicated as some make it.

Two issues I see often that cause me to wonder what agents are thinking, respecting different “business models of course, are buyer agents refusing to attend property inspections and agents refusing to attend mediation conferences. I am told that agents tell their clients that their company policy prevents them from doing these things and wonder if they are not “exposing” themselves” more than if they had assisted their client. On the other hand, some who attend these probably should have slept in.

Either way, be the “source of the source” and (1) do not practice law or (2) exceed your level of competence EVER.