Buyers and Sellers sometimes get in disputes over misunderstanding how they recall a real estate transaction progressed. Within these circumstances, they often feel wronged to the point that they end up in court asking a judge to decide if there is a case where compensation is necessary.
When a real estate licensee has a claim that’s heading to litigation, and that ultimately will be decided by a judge, the documents that they have in their possession can make the difference between winning and losing. Keeping good records at the time events occur, and then making them available to a defence lawyer, may help you win. It is my opinion that buyers and sellers should keep equally good records to avoid the stress, cost, and ultimately wasted time that is taken in court actions. This may include faxes, Word documents, letters, memoranda and, most importantly, email and text messages. These can be stored electronically with little effort, cost or storage required, and this should be practiced by all parties.
The Provincial Court recently determined a case in favour of a seller’s agent in no small measure because of the email and text message records available at trial. The judge held that the seller’s agent wasn’t liable in a case where a seller claimed the licensee had agreed to a selling price without her authorization. Each of the parties had very different, and seemingly irreconcilable, versions of several key phone calls and meetings, as well as differing accounts of what instructions were given on price. The email and text messages confirmed what was discussed and when and, despite allegations by the seller, the records indicated the contrary. The documents assisted the Court in deciding that the licensee’s story was to be preferred.
Often at the time of purchase or sale, documents timelines and instructions move so quickly the transaction may not be remembered precisely. As we are dealing with situations that can be emotionally charged it is even more important to communicated clearly. Emails and texts confirming instructions between all parties can often allay the necessity of proceeding to a court case. Communicating accurately and keeping good records could keep all parties from having disputed interpretations of how events transpired and ultimately save everyone from unnecessary stress and grief.
In another recent case, emails and text messages were used to assist the Court in determining whether architectural plans were included in a contract. In all versions of the contract, the inclusion of those plans had been manually struck out. However, the fourth and final version of the contract was a bit faded. The buyers maintained that the plans were included; the seller and seller’s agent maintained the opposite. The records clearly showed no mention of the plans around the time of the contract, but did show a litany of messages well after the contract in which the buyers were looking to purchase the plans. The Court found that the plans were not part of the deal. Although you may not think the records you keep will be useful, if you ever find yourself in a dispute over facts, they may help you prove your side of the story.
Sutton Premier Realty
15483 104 Ave Surrey