A front-page article in today’s New York Times reports that a home buyer in California has filed a suit in North County Superior Court, claiming damages because she paid too much for her house. The buyer claims that the broker, in an effort to protect a commission, concealed the fact that comparable homes in the area were selling for less than the price that the buyer had agreed to pay.
This case is worth watching. Frankly, I doubt that the court will award damages to the buyer. After all, isn’t it the buyer’s responsibility to do a market comparison and be sure that he or she is not overpaying? How can a buyer claim that that due diligence is the responsibility of the broker who is, at best, only an advisor in any real estate transaction?
The article predicts that the suit is likely to be “the first of many” times when buyers who bought at the peak of the market attempt to claim damages from real estae agents. If the plaintiff wins, the result is likely to be “open season” on real estate agents across the country.
What do you think? Should buyers be able to sue their brokers because they paid too much? Can they really blame anyone other than themselves?