Ohio Real Property Lawyers: The Risks of Dual Agency

In Ohio, real estate transactions involving dual agency, where one agent represents both the buyer and seller, are legal but come with significant risks for all parties involved. A recent case (Black v. Stouffer Realty, et al., 2013-Ohio-5723) illustrates some of these dangers:

Mrs. Black sought to purchase a condominium listed with Stouffer Realty, where Ms. Relic represented both Mrs. Black and the seller, Mr. Martha, under a dual-agency agreement. Despite complications during negotiations, a deal was struck with a sale price of $510,000 and a $150,000 down payment. However, issues arose when Mrs. Black failed to secure financing within the agreed timeframe, leading to the collapse of the deal.

Mr. Martha sued Mrs. Black for breach of contract, seeking compensation for his losses. Mrs. Black, in turn, filed a complaint against Stouffer Realty and Ms. Relic, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud. While Mrs. Black settled with Mr. Martha, her claims against Stouffer Realty and Ms. Relic went to trial. The jury found in Mrs. Black’s favor, awarding damages for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and fraud.

The case highlights the risks of dual agency in real estate transactions. Despite its legality, dual agency can lead to conflicts of interest and breakdowns in trust between agents and clients. In this case, Ms. Relic’s actions were scrutinized, with the jury finding violations of specific provisions outlined in Ohio’s Dual Agency Disclosure Statement.

Trust is crucial in real estate transactions, and mistakes can have significant consequences. While dual agency situations may occur, it’s essential for agents to strictly adhere to disclosure agreements and recommend legal intervention when conflicts arise. Maintaining trust between all parties involved is essential for a successful real estate transaction in Ohio. Also, once the parties have agreed to dual agency representation, if a party believes that they need someone to advocate for them regarding any issue with the transaction, the dual agent Realtor should recommend the retention of an Ohio real property lawyer or other professional in the field related to the party’s concerns.

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Avoid legal issues in real property transactions – get guidance from an experienced Ohio real property lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can provide valuable advice, review contracts, ensure compliance with state laws and regulations, and advocate for your best interests throughout the transaction process. Whether you are a real estate industry professional or a first-time home buyer, Northwest Law’s Real Property Lawyers will take care of you. Contact us at (614) 610-4000 to schedule a consultation today to get started.