lawsuit: Just got another lawsuit as an expert witness - Agent's screwed up bigtime! - 11/14/09 03:25 PM
Imagine this.  The client (relatively unsophisticated) owns a little renthouse.  It goes up in value and down in basis because of depreciation. Their accountant tells them it is not doing them much good and that maybe they should consider trading up.  They contact their agent who sold them the house.  The agent convinces them that real estate is where all the action is.  He convinces them to take $500K out of their house (yes,  we are in California) and they put it and the proceeds from the rent house down on a large commercial building in Mississippi.  No reason to grown.  … (11 comments)

lawsuit: Don't let your client go to the wrong attorey - Expert Witness - 11/14/09 09:23 AM
If you have read my past blogs,  you know that I am a frequent expert witness in cases where real estate agents get sued. I am either hired by the Buyer, the Seller,  the Listing agent or the Buyer's agent to testify as to whether the agents met their "standard of care" during the transaction.
Too often,  the buyer or seller has chosen the wrong attorney.  I probably should say they are not qualified,   because they have a law degree but think about it ...............just because your California real estate license allows you to sell homes, apartment houses,  development project,  … (1 comments)

lawsuit: Would you like to help the public?? and me?? - 08/31/09 10:22 AM
If you read my blog a couple of posts back,  you will see an article.  Actually what it is,  is the first chapter in a book I am writing with the idea of helping the consumer to avoid getting ripped off by really bad agents.
It is a protection book on buying and selling homes.  In my classes I teach at various colleges and my work as an expert witness in litigation cases,  it is amazing to me how little the public knows about how to find a good agent and the red flags that should alert them to bad agents … (2 comments)

lawsuit: I need your help!! - 08/31/09 07:21 AM
I am in the midst of writing a consumer protection book on buying and selling homes.  In my classes I teach at various colleges and my work as an expert witness in litigation cases,  it is amazing to me how little the public knows about how to find a good agent and the red flags that should alert them to bad agents ...... and unfortunately,  we have too many.  My whole thrust is to have buyers and sellers learn how to spot the integrious and competent agents,  and there are many of those.
Here's how you can help.   As I teach … (2 comments)

lawsuit: Here's the Introduction chapter to my new Book, How not to get ripped off when buying or selling a home - 08/31/09 07:11 AM
One of the co-author’s favorite movies is the Wizard of Oz and his favorite scene in the movie is when the characters arrive at the Emerald City and are ushered in for an audience with the Wizard.  The Wizard is this big scary head suspended in mid-air, surrounded by geysers of smoke and a thunderous voice .  Toto the dog goes over and very skillfully tugs and pulls open the curtain, exposing a little man who’s frantically manipulating a machine that’s created the scary image.  Next, the Wizard, trying to make excuses for the little man says the classic … (6 comments)

lawsuit: I guess I shouldn't, but I feel depressed about our industry!! - 07/26/09 03:48 PM
Sometimes I feel tainted by my expert witness work,  where I see agents that are involved in lawsuits.  So, often they are untrained and just not ready to do the heavy lifted that is needed in today's real estate.  This is especially evident when agents get outside their residential home sale area.  Too often they run across a client that wants to buy a business,  an office building,  raw land,  and income property and the list goes on.
Instead of being honest and telling their client,  that they are not specialists in that area,  they dive in the pool and usually … (5 comments)

lawsuit: AGENT BEWARE!!! When selling a business isn't good business - 04/30/09 04:07 PM
If you have read my blog, you know that I do expert testimony in real estate litigation cases.  I just got a new one which I wanted to share with you.
It seems an agent sold this lady a deli.  She had no experience in the food business but wanted to try her hand at running her own business.  She paid $90,000 cash.   Here are a few of the things that the agents (double ended) did to her:
Didn't show her comps or why it was worth the money didn't help buyer to analyze income and expenses Didn't advise to get … (2 comments)

lawsuit: I'm involved in another lawsuit ..... - 01/23/09 04:38 AM
......not as a defendant,  but as an expert witness.  I can't give you names (to protect the guilty and innocent) but I think it would be worthwhile to tell you some of the lessons comng out of it.
It involves a property that did not have their final road and easments recorded but they were to be done before close of escrow.  There were new CCRs that included a road agreement.  For various reasons,  the CCRs never got completed so the Seller took the easments (that were identified in the CCRs) and gave them to title just prior to close. For … (7 comments)

lawsuit: What you don't know you don't know about Condo sales - 01/17/09 09:07 AM
I used to give a class called,  "Condos, Clients and Catastrophes."  I haven't given it in a while but the issues are still valuable.  Many of my comments will be California specific but the issues pretty much exist anywhere in the United States. 
First,  these laws apply to any planned unit development.  The public and media call them condos but a true condo is usually a high rise unit,  where you own only the airspace.  Townhomes,  connected properties and single family homes with a common area  (pool, clubhouse, park, etc) also fall under these laws.
There are several issues that … (4 comments)

lawsuit: It is time for legal reform!! - 11/24/08 04:52 AM
Lawyers and frivilous lawsuits are killing real estate and in many way, the entire economy of the US.  As an expert witness,  I see abuse every time I look at a suit.  In a real estate case,  it is not uncommon to have 6 or more attorneys on the same case,  no matter how small.  On a "bad house" case, the Seller,  Buyer,  Seller's agent and Buyer's agent all have attorneys.  Then,  you bring in the inspectors;  home,  pest;  roof; etc, etc.  Sometimes,  the title company and lender are named.  It becomes a circus. The worst part is that even if … (1 comments)

lawsuit: Here's another way that you can get sued. - 11/21/08 01:01 PM
There was a recent case in Texas,  that all agents should consider.  It had to do with a seller's misrepresentation of sq. footage.  Before you say,  what does that have to do with the agent?,  let me explain.  First of all,  if you were being examined on the stand by an opposing attorney,  who said something like "Isn't it true that house tend to grow over the years? and  "haven't you seen listings where the Seller and Listing agent have exaggerated the size of the house?"  If you answer yes,  the attorney would then ask,  ....then,  since you know this,  did … (2 comments)

lawsuit: How Agents get sued by an Expert Witness - 10/11/08 11:12 AM
If you read my bio,  you know that in addition to being an agent,  I also am a frequent expert witness in litigation when agents are sued.  First,  there are typically several experts hired since each side is trying to find out if their guy (or gal) made mistakes well as seeing if they could divert some of the blame to another party.  It is common that the Selller,  the Buyer,  the Seller's Broker and the Buyer's Broker all have experts.  And,  if you add in Title or inspectors,  it is not uncommon to have 7 or 8 attorneys on … (8 comments)

lawsuit: When we tell the FBI the truth - 10/03/08 11:16 AM
I was in a seminar given yesterday by the FBI fraud division.  They were discussing their efforts to clean up real estate fraud of various kinds.  Right behind me,  an agent raised her hand and asked, ......."You know,  for the longest time,  we have been putting anything on the loan app that would get the buyer qualified.  Is that fraud?"
Most of us laughed but then we realized she wasn't kidding.  She was one of these agents who does loans and real estate. And,  she was trained that you do whatever it takes to put the deal together,  including commiting lender … (9 comments)

lawsuit: How to get sued - Don't let your assistant do this - 09/26/08 06:58 AM
Here's the story:
An top agent with lots of assistants,  represented an out of town buyer.  Once in contract,  the unlicensed assistant took over the transaction.  She compiled all the disclosures and reports and sent them to the buyer.  Her cover sheet said something like:
"Here are your disclosures and reports.  I have indicated where you are to sign and intial.  After you have done so,  please return them in the enclosed prepaid envelope.  If you have any questions,  call me.
The buyer sent the docs back and never called back with any questions.  After close,  they found all kinds of … (6 comments)

lawsuit: Big legal risk to agents - Read my blog just before this one - 09/25/08 02:42 AM
Just had an agent comment on my prior blog:   AGENT BEWARE!
She had attended a class where the instructor raised the same issue I had.  But,  his suggestions was for the agent to go to the govenmental agency and put together a package of permits for the buyer:  NO. NO & NO AGAIN.
Several problems with this approach:
You many not get all the permits.  Cities are notorious for being sloppy and in most jurisidictions,  have governmental immunity, meaning they can't be sued for negligence Permits are complicated.  If you are adding a master bedroom,  it is not common to have … (4 comments)

lawsuit: Another stupid lawsuit against the agent - 09/22/08 12:51 PM
On one of my previous posts, I warned that agents can't ignore the issues surrounding permits.  Since most of the houses in our market are 40 years old or so,  many of them have been roofs,  kitchens, baths, decks and patio covers, etc.
Our California Associaiton effectively lobbied so that agent are not required to go offsite to make their visual inspeciton and disclosure to the property.  Most agents interpret this to mean that they don't have to worry about permits.  Unfortunately,  this is not true.
1.  In California at least,  and I would assume elsewhere,  an agent is held … (15 comments)

lawsuit: Bad Agent Horror Stories - Tell me yours - 09/17/08 10:54 AM
I am writing a book on how to keep from being ripped off by bad agents.  As I go through each potential problem,  I would like to give them a real life example of how to avoid the problem.  Some will be rather innocent like agents who buy listings by lying to the seller about the property value.  Or the part time agent who will never return phone calls except after hours or weekends.  Others will be actually horror stories where the buyer buys Lemon and winds up in a the buyer whose house was full of mold,  and it … (1 comments)

lawsuit: Why agents continue to get sued - 09/09/08 04:44 PM
If you have read my blog or resume on my home page,  you know that I am frequently hired by attorneys when agents are being sued.  Sometimes,  I am there to defend them,  and too often,  I am there to help sue them.  I do not hold agents to a standard of perfection.  Anyone can monday morning quaterback and look back on what could have been done in retrospect.  No,  I simply try to determine what a competent agent would have done in the situation. 
Most agents don't get sued for what they did but what they didn't … (6 comments)

lawsuit: You need to file a Grievance!! - 07/25/08 10:19 AM
I have been on Grievance and Pro Stans committees for over 20 years.  I have also been an Ombudsman for our local board,  In that experience,  I have come to the conclusion that we don't take the Grievance process seriously.  I hope I can persuade you to change this.
We all complain about bad agents.  Too often, manager/brokers don't control their people or have any idea of what they are doing. Ask yourself,  have you ever dealt with an imcompetent, unethical or stupid agent?  If you say, no, then I wonder how many deals you have done.  If the answer is … (4 comments)

Guy Berry, Real Estate Broker and Legal Expert (Real Estate Expert Witness Support)

Guy Berry

Real Estate Broker and Legal Expert

San Jose, CA

More about me…

Real Estate Expert Witness Support

Address: San Jose, Ca

Office: (408) 694-9853

Mobile: (408) 690-2998

Email Me

Guy Berry is a frequent expert witness in real estate litigation and an accomplished trainer in real estate law and contracts. In addition he has been licensed for 30 years as an agent and managed large offices, including Coldwell Banker and Century 21.



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