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Q&A: Is inept real estate agent cause for a lawsuit?

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Istock photo of Auction, House, Legal System, Real Estate, Gavel, Law, Isolated, Toy, Recession, Foreclosure, Clipping Path Photo Credit: Photo by Istock

My real estate agent failed to notify me of a valid bid for my property. He claimed to have opened the bid on a Sunday evening and failed to realize the bid expired on the next day at noon. He failed in other areas as well. He inaccurately filled out the paperwork for the local Board of Realtors, put up inaccurate information on the local MLS, wrongly estimated the value of a swimming pool and quibbled with us over whether to list a new park and library within walking distance of our property. He was even going to miss our closing. After all that, but mostly because he missed letting us know about an offer, I terminated the relationship. The new agent sold the house within 120 days, in January during the housing and mortgage market collapse of 2010. I feel the inept agent owes me. What do you see?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I wonder exactly how you've been damaged in this transaction. Did you sell the property for less than you would have with the original agent? How did you deal with the original agent through all of these mistakes? Did you go to his managing broker to complain and ask for a different agent? How did you even find the agent to begin with? Did you interview several and were you impressed with this person's results? Or, did you pick the first agent in the phone book? For a lawsuit to produce the desired results, you'd have to start by showing that you were somehow damaged by the agent's actions -- and that you have a legal right to collect as a result of those actions. A litigator who specializes in real estate cases should be able to guide you further.

Ilyce R. Glink's latest book is "Buy, Close, Move In!" Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Need some real estate advice? Send your question to realestate@newsday.com.

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