Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Can an attorney represent both the Buyer and Seller on the same real estate matter?

This question often comes up when the transaction is between related parties or when one party is simply determined to forego legal representation. In short, it is a serious conflict of interest for any attorney to attempt to represent both parties in a real estate matter. In most cases, inevitably something arises to cause the parties’ respective interests not to completely align. For example, the lender’s appraisal may determine that the fair market value of the property is lower than the purchase price; or, perhaps the home inspection reveals major issues for which the buyer was unaware. In either case, it would not be possible to properly represent the interests of either party vis-à-vis the other. Similarly, the same inherent conflict exists with respect to a real estate broker acting as a dual agent in one transaction.

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