Charlottesville Attorney: Real estate contract did not bind ‘buyer’s agent’
A real estate buyer who faced a seller’s suit for damages when he failed to close on the deal cannot sue the agent on the contract on a third-party claim alleging she also represented the buyer.
Richard E. Peterson Jr. signed a contract to buy property. He said the sales contract that included his realtor’s signature also served as a written agency agreement between him and his realtor Glenda von Dameck, her broker Louise Y. Baker, and their employer, Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
In an agency disclosure on the first page of the pre-printed sales contract, von Dameck and Long & Foster were identified as Peterson’s agents, in their respective capacities as “Selling Agent” and “Selling Firm.”
Toward the end of the contract, it appeared von Dameck signed her name to the contract on a line provided for insertion of the name of the “Selling Firm/Agent.” Baker’s name does not appear in the sales contract.
The defednants claimed the sales contract was not a written agency agreement but simply disclosed the existence of an earlier oral agency agreement they had with Peterson.
The Montgomery County Circuit Court entered judgment for the real estate professionals and the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld that decision in an unpublished order released April 13.
Mere disclosure of the earlier agency relationship in the sales contract, along with von Dameck’s signature indicating she was the selling agent, did not render the contract between the buyer and seller a written agency agreement between the purchaser and his real estate agents, according to the Supreme Court’s unanimous five-page order in Peterson v. Baker.
The sales contract was a written agreement between only two parties, Peterson and the seller, the high court said.
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