Realtors are like people. There are honest ones and dishonest ones. There are those that follow the rules and do what is right and then, there are realtors who shade the truth and manipulate sales. Statistically, you have a low percentage of being involved in a real estate transaction involving real genuine fraud.
What is far more probable is that you are involved in a real estate transaction involving deceptive trade practices. Violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act occur when anyone, including a real estate agent, make a false, misleading or deceptive statement or act. The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act considers representing that a realtor's services have characteristics and qualities they do not have to be a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
What does that mean in laymens' terms? A real live example from one of my clients involved a house that had an odd odor. The seller did not disclose anything about the cause of the odor on their Sellers' Disclosure Notice. When the buyers asked about the odor, they were told it was just "an old lady" smell. They buyers were not interested but were brought back to the house after "air scrubbers" were used in the house. During the time before the sale to my clients, the house's owner had multiple email communications between herself and the realtor about the odor. The seller directly informed the realtor that the odor was caused by pesticides. The realtor even indicated she would have an industrial hygeinist inspect and sample the house. Despite these emails, the buyers, my clients, were never informed of the pesticides or the industrial hygeinist. My clients bought the house for their daughter and her family and so she and her 4 month old baby moved in. After a few months, the odor gradually returned and one day the son-in-law became ill. After going to the hospital, the family suspected mold. They had the house tested but with no mold findings. Then, a neighbor suggested it might be pesticides. The home was tested and massive quantities of Ethyl Parathion, a cotton herbicide so dangerous it has killed more agricultural workers than any other pesticide including DDT was found in the house. Ethyl Parathion has never been licensed for use in homes or urban environments and was banned by the EPA in 2003-2004.
Did the realtor intentionally mean to potentially injure my clients? We will never know. What we do know is that she did not tell everything she knew because of one simple fact:
Realtors don't want to spoil a deal so they never give bad news after a contract is signed.
For more information on what realtors can be responsible for, click on a link below.