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4 Ways to File a Complaint Against a Real Estate Agent

Camila Lopez - Real Estate Agent - July 9, 2024

Start by writing a strongly worded letter to the real estate agent using our free tool.

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Contents

    ‍Buying a property or selling your home should be a process you look forward to and real estate agents are there to support you. Unfortunately, in some cases, real estate agents falsely represent the property in some way or fail to disclose a defect. In this article, we go over 4 ways to file a complaint against a real estate agent.

    Did you know that we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter to a real estate agent?  Check out our demand letter tool.

    Common Types of Complaints Against Real Estate Agents

    Some of the most common reasons to sue a real estate agent are: 

    • Dishonesty (intentional or negligent misrepresentation)

    • Failure to disclose a property defect

    • Failing to keep confidential data safe or misusing data 

    • Incomplete land contracts

    • Failure to review or recommend land surveys

    • Contract drafting errors 

    • Failure to review title 

    • Loss of earnest money

    Option 1: Send a Demand Letter

    A demand letter outlines the problem you are having with the real estate agent, what action you would like the real estate agent to take, and a deadline for when they need to take that action. 

    Here is what you can consider including in your demand letter: 

    • How much money you are owed.

    • Why are you owed money.

    • Where to send payment. 

    • A deadline when you expect a response. 

    A demand letter is an effective way to let the real estate agent know you are serious about your complaint and are willing to escalate the problem until they have resolved it. 

    Did you know that we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter to a real estate agent?  Check out our demand letter tool.

    Here is how our demand letter tool works:

    Option 2: File a Complaint Against the Real Estate Agent with the Appropriate State Licensing Agency

    Your state likely has a licensing agency or Real Estate Commission that allows you to file a complaint against a real estate agent. Once a complaint is filed an investigation will occur based on the claims written on the complaint.   

    Option 3: File a Complaint Against a Realtor with the National Association of Realtors

    The term real estate agent and realtor may seem interchangeable but in fact, they mean different things and have different legal ramifications.

    A real estate agent is a licensed real estate professional. Real estate agents help prospective buyers and sellers market and purchase a property. Real estate agents can also help arrange property inspections, write sale of land contracts, and negotiate property prices. 

    A Realtor is a term trademarked by the National Association of Realtors, so only real estate agents registered with the National Association of Realtors can call themselves a Realtor. Realtors have to participate in regular training and continuing education. Realtors are also subject to a code of ethics from the National Association of Realtors. If a realtor has violated one or more articles of the Code of Ethics, you can file an ethics complaint through the local association of Realtors where the realtor holds membership. 

    Option 4: Consider Suing the Real Estate Agent in Small Claims Court 

    If your previous attempts at resolution have been unsuccessful, it may be time to take the real estate agent to small claims court. 

    Each state has a different process for small claims court, so make sure to check out our 50-state guide to small claims court

    Here are some quick facts about suing an real estate agent in small claims: 

    • The maximum amount you can sue for ranges between $2,500 and $25,000. 

    • The filing fees range between $0 and $125.

    • You may also need to pay to notify the real estate agent about the lawsuit (serving), and this can range from $0 and $125. 

    Checklist of potential evidence you may need for your small claims hearing:

    • Any agreements signed 

    • The sale of land contract 

    • Communications with the real estate agent or their office

    • Pictures of property defects 

    • Pictures of the property in question 

    • Declarations from witnesses

    Did you know that one of the first steps most individuals take before suing is sending a demand letter? We have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter to a real estate agent.  Check out our demand letter tool.

    Author

    Camila Lopez

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Camila holds a law degree and is a certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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