real estate: More lawsuits against agents from a real estate expert - 03/10/10 05:19 AM
In my real estate work in San Jose area,  I continue to get called as an real estate expert witness when agents get sued.  You might wonder what an expert does.  In most cases, the buyer sues the seller and some times the listing agent, accusing them of not disclosing something.  They may or may not sue their agent.  But,  the Seller and listing agent usually cross-file against the Buyer's agent because they had the fiduicary duty to help and warn the buyer about issues.
Frankly, it is sometimes hard to defend the Buyer's agent because too many operate from the … (5 comments)

real estate: Why agents should help their clients with Loan Mods. - 02/20/10 12:36 AM
An agent asked me the other day,  how we were having so much success in Short Sales.  It is very simple.  We decided to give back.  Several months ago my partner,  Charles,  and I knew several people who were struggling with a Loan Mod.   Each one had been turned down or given a run around by their lender.  When we talked with them,  we found out that most of them had no clue how to help themselves through the process.  This was also about the time when a series of slime balls lawyers and real estate agents were taking  up to … (4 comments)

real estate: What is an agent supposed to do about Permit issues? An expert's opinion. - 12/14/09 08:40 AM
There is always a question about what does an agent have to do regarding disclosing permit issues.  If you are in a market with older homes,  you can be pretty sure that there is much remodeling been done ..... much of it done WITHOUT a permit.   California and several other states have used their lobbying clout to get a law passed where the agent is not legally required to go off-site to investigate the status of permits.
Agents will argue that they have no responsibility anyway because they are not contractors; how would they know about permits.  If you believe that,  … (1 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: What happens when you get the wrong attorney by an Expert Witness - 11/14/09 09:54 AM
If you got my last blog where I talked about how to find the right attorney, I realized I did not tell you what happens when you get the wrong attorney.  Let me give you a few examples.
I have been on cases where buyers are suing the seller but their attorney doesn't advise them to also sue their own agents.  Ouch,  you might say but remember,  you have E/O insurance.  You will probably get sued anyway by the Seller,  so step up.  Often,  the buyers agent, because of their fiduciary duty,  has much of the liability when it comes to … (3 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: Is there risk in holding a house open when it's listed with a different company?? - 08/26/09 05:28 PM
I recently heard in my office a discussion about open houses.  One agent mentioned that when he needed one,  he would call a top agent from another company who works the area and hold one open for him.  He's got so many,  the agent said, he can't hold them all open this weekend. 
Another agent piped up and said,  I have had agents call me from smaller companys asking if they could hold one of my listings open.  If I am not holding it open myself,  I always let them.
Let's think through this.  An agent is liable for any misrepresentations … (5 comments)

real estate: Barney Frank and the Feds are at it again - this time about Condos - 06/25/09 01:00 PM
If you have read my blog before,  you know that most of my posts are about the legal side of our business and my work as an expert witness in real estate litigation.  This one is not.
You would think that the music would be loud enough for congress to hear now that billions have been lost by hard working folks when the banks crashed and burned over the mortgage scandals.  You remember -  making loans to be people who couldn't qualify.  And,  accepting "no doc" loans with little or no downpayment.   And,  the banks flinched under congressional pressure and agreed … (1 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: Common Mistakes New Agents make #6 - Mentors - 03/14/09 11:02 AM
 A lot of companies sell new agents on the fact that they are going to be helped along in the business with a Mentor.  Maybe this works,  but in the offices I have managed and the offices where I was just an agent,  I have not seen it be successful.  First,  it is rarely clear exactly what the mentor is supposed to do. 
Are they the day to day trainer?  Is the mentor supposed to watch the agent as they cold call?  Does the mentor sit in on buyer presentations when the new agent meets with their buyer for the first … (1 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: The Myth that Banks don't have to discose on REO sales - 12/08/08 08:20 AM
If you ask most agents this question,  they will normally say that the bank has no duty to disclose.  And,  it is no uncommon that Banks and the listing agent will tell you the same thing.  They are partially correct but the exception,  can be a really big problem.
It is correct that there is a presumption that banks do not have any information about the property because they never lived there but there are two situations where this is not true.
First,  when the listing agent and bank asset manager first listed the property,  there may have been some discussions … (2 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: What does smoking meat have to do with real estate - 10/11/08 01:41 PM
Actually nothing except real estate agents have to eat too.  Especially,  real Texas style BBQ,  which means that the meat is cooked by smoke,  not directly over the heat. That is what is called. Grilling
If you aren't aware of it,  there is a fabulous website with lots and lots of information, a free monthly email newsletter,  as well as a blog from people who take this very seriously.  But,  they are very nice to weekend warriors on their Weber.
It;s free to join the site.

real estate: 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)

real estate: Too Easy to get into our business - 10/03/08 11:07 AM
A lot of people in our Biz are not properly trained.  It is much too easy to get into our business and agents,  especially part timers are not held to any standard.  There are offices in our area where there are 200+ agents,  most of which have full time jobs.   Even if their office offerred training,  when would they attend.
In California,  you can even get a brokers license and open an office without any experience if you have a college degree.  This was intended to take the industry out of a blue collar mode.  Well it didn't.  In fact,  most … (4 comments)

real estate: A Rant about the cause of this financial crisis from a real estate agent - 09/26/08 10:51 AM
The following is an email that I received from my friend Carl Zanger.  He is very upset but thought you might like to hear another side of the story that you are not going to hear in the traditional media.  (forgive his language but it seems appropriate)
This is my opinion and mine only...if you're not interested, please delete now.
 I'm pissed and that hardly begins to explain the outrage and betrayal I feel by our government.  As of today, every man woman and child, in this country, is about $2300 in additional debt to the current scandal going on … (2 comments)

real estate: You have to do more than just disclose - How to get sued - 09/25/08 02:11 AM
In some of my recent blogs,  I discussed the idea of disclosures.  Forgive me for not being clear.  I have been surpised that so many agents commented that in their state the seller has to disclose.  This was not my point.  So, let me try again.
There is a major difference between disclosure and the BUYER's AGENT'S duty to:
Point out issues which could negatively affect the buyer Discuss ramfications of the issue in case the buyer ignores it Here's an example.  You are the buyer's agent and show a house that has been extensively remodeled.  The seller discloses that they … (11 comments)

real estate: 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)

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

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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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