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No Liability on Buyer's Fall . . . Have a Nice Trip Part II

Industry Observer with RETIRED / State License is Inactive Inactive License Oregon

In May this year I wrote a post entiteld:  Have a Nice Trip . . . See You Next Fall

Today, I read a very nice bookend to this tale.  In The National Association of Realtors Legal Summaries the case in Colorado has No Liability on Buyer's Fall -- the actual appellate ruling is found here.

Risk management, and risk sifting are always nice to know about.

My post in May was about a home inspection, and having people who are NOT party to the transaction there.  It's a good read.

Today, I read about a case which was affirmed on appeal (and I can't even imagine it GETTING APPEALED) and the result was there was no liability when a buyer fell.

Here's what happened:   Buyers were on the premises of the property without anyone knowing about it.  


The buyers claimed, in their lawsuit against the owner,

that since there was a FOR SALE sign on the property,

it gave them permission to enter the property.



OMIGOSH . . . I have had 15 years in the legal industry prior to becoming a real estate licensee and I can't believe a lawyer filed a lawsuit based on that premise of "implied or express" permissiowere the Buyn -- from a FOR SALE sign?!?!?

The FOR SALE sign does one thing, and one thing alone:  It puts the general public on notice that the house is . . . FOR SALE . . . duh!

Never once in the history of selling real estate does a FOR SALE sign imply permission to enter the property.

This was a no brainer ruling, in my opinion.  



Since when does FOR SALE mean . . .



I have a question for the Frickey Law Firm, P.C. and Hower Flicker, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs . . . if my car has a FOR SALE sign on it  , , , does that mean the general public can climb in and take it for a test drive without my permission?!?


This is my first entry to my new series:  Scratching My Head in Real Estate

Posted by



Carla Muss-Jacobs has RETIRED effective May 1, 2018

Representing Buyers in the Portland Metro Real Estate Market | Clackamas Multnomah and Washington Counties | Since 1999

Carla Muss-Jacobs, REALTOR®, ABR, CEBA, ePro
Principal Broker/Owner ~~ INACTIVE

Carla Muss-Jacobs' retirement became effective May 1, 2018

Direct: 503-810-7192 


All Rights Reserved © 

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Carla- good grief!  Where in the world has common sense gone?  But so many people are under the delusion that a For Sale sign means come one, come all, any time, with or without permission!

Oct 27, 2016 10:26 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

What's more shocking to me is that a LAWYER tried to make the words FOR SALE (on a sign posted on the property) mean "express and/or implied" inviation to enter the premises.  Kathy Streib Good grief, to quote Snoopy!!

Oct 27, 2016 11:25 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

That's insane.  And to think agents used to be afraid of the do not call list when it came to FSBO signs.  This makes that concern look like nothing.

Oct 27, 2016 11:17 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

Well, FOR SALE does not mean come on it.  Thankfully the courts in Colorado got it right!!  @Chris Ann Cleland 

Oct 27, 2016 11:26 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
ZOOM Realty Group - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

That is just crazy...using their logic, I shudder to think what they would say "Open House" means...


Oct 27, 2016 11:49 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

Exactly . . . 

Thanks Diana Zaccaro .  I shudder too!  LOL

Oct 28, 2016 06:09 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

I had a new listing last week that looked substantially empty in the MLS Photos but the sellers are camping out in it. A buyer stopped by to check it out and knocked on the door. The seller let them in and a day later it was under contract. 

Just because it looked empty it may not be. My seller was cordial (I cautioned her to not let people in without an agent and appointment but she did it anyway) but she did it anyway. It turned out okay this time. Next time it might not.

Oct 27, 2016 01:02 PM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

LOL...I love your last paragraph. That is so good. 

I heard about this story. I'm glad the woman lost her case. One of my big pet peeves is when people think they can walk around a property because it's for sale. I use to list a lot of bank owned houses, and I got so many calls from buyers that were on the property looking in windows. I had no qualms about telling them they were trespassing. So many of them didn't get it even after I told them so. 

Oct 28, 2016 09:00 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

People don't understand property rights . . . they don't understand the concept of trespass.  Pity.  I had an incident just today .  The sign on my garage, just before you walk up the path to the door says "No soliciting"  If that sign is posted, according to Beaverton City Code, then it's trespassing no bout a'doubt it.  So I open the door today after the door bell rang, and this young man stands on the porch.  "Are you planning to vote . . . " and I interrupt with: "Did you see the No Soliciting sign?" He says, "Yes, I saw it . . . but I'm not selling anything . . . "

OMIGOSH -- No Soliciting means No Soliciting . . . he didn't have to solicit something to sell.  He was there to solicit me to "get out to vote" -- which is asinine in and of itself since we have MAIL IN ballots here, no one goes "out to vote" anymore.  Anyway, the spin meisters are everywhere!! Debbie Laity maybe Mr. I'm Not Soliciting should go to work for the Frickey Law Firm, LOL

Oct 28, 2016 12:03 PM
Evelyn Johnston

Who knows, may be he already works there, or he IS Mr. Frickey!

Oct 30, 2016 11:00 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This doesn't make a lick of sense! Scary about the Attorney thinking it was okay to file a frivilous law suit.  The home owner ought to file one on Mr. Frickey!

Oct 30, 2016 11:01 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

Yes, I thought that too Evelyn Johnston ... they should have filed a counter for filing a frivilous lawsuit.   FOR SALE means just that. It's not, and never will be and invite to come on to the property.  Geez.  The owner was a bank, and this was a REO.  The bank had the deep pockets and I'm guessing they were looking at it from that angle.  

Oct 31, 2016 03:44 AM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

It kind of makes you wonder what the world is coming too with the thought that you can sue just about for any reason. Looks like a lot of wasted time and money for that buyer IMO.

Nov 02, 2016 08:30 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

The lawyer knew or should have known that the FOR SALE sign did not amount to an "invitation" onto the property.  That is the case they were trying to make Jerry Newman .  While one can sue, it's the precendent of the case that is the point.  Can you imagine what would happen if the FOR SALE sign was to be perceived as an "invitation"?  This is the matter that was being adjudicated. 

Nov 03, 2016 04:31 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Definitely a scratch-your-head moment!  WOW!  So, I THOUGHT 'For Sale' was TWO words and that those two words are not defined as the single word, 'Enter' - am I wrong?!!  LOL  Frivilous law suits - another of the ridiculous problems we have in America!

Nov 05, 2016 12:16 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

And then when someone, like myself, would like to access the courts because they were butchered by an MD, the gatekeepers disallow.  It's all a game of "precedent" setting.  What they will, or will not, set as precendent.  Your comment is right on!  Two words, that don't mean ENTER!  Or "permission to enter."  Thanks for the comment.  Debe Maxwell 

Nov 06, 2016 02:21 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

This is a sue crazy society....and unfortunaely you don't have to look hard to find a lawyer who will sue for ANY reason .

Nov 06, 2016 08:52 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

I agree and then again, I don't agree.  When I had my medical oopsie doodle, I could not find a lawyer to represent me.  I had to sue the orthobutcher myself, is pro se.  My injuries weren't frivilous, nor was my lawsuit.  However, it would have done one thing, and one thing alone -- open up the medical insurance company to liability.  So they (the defense firm) pimp out my medical injuries and pain/suffering for their fun/profit and I was left with nothing but a story in the New York Times.  People with money can sue.  People who are up against the medical/legal cartel can not.  

Nov 07, 2016 07:07 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

That lawyer had to either be new, greedy or just ignorant. LOL

Nov 07, 2016 12:45 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Carla, good catch on that 'fall'. It's really unbelievable what people will try & get away with.

Nov 28, 2016 03:38 PM