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I got a fascinating e-mail this weekend from Shelly Anghera, who said she was a juror on the Ummels v. Re/Max case.

She said she liked my story but took issue with the characterization that “juror after juror gushed praise” on Mike Little, the Realtor with whom the jury sided last week.

Yes, [Little] showed them lots of houses, yes, he made a lot of money and yes, he made a few mistakes. There just wasn’t enough strong evidence to show that he did not meet his fiduciary responsibilities. I have spent many heavy hours thinking on this case, though it wasn’t to set a [precedent], it does require us to consider the role of the various players in the real estate market. I have paid much less for medical, financial, and legal services, and those services came with a clearly defined set of expectations. After my seven days of realtor training (sitting in a court room), I may consider not using a realtor in my next purchase of property.

When I asked her if I could share these thoughts in Survival, she added to her contemplation of the necessity of a buyer’s agent:

A further discussion, I think selling with a realtor is very different than buying with a realtor. I probably would sell a house with a realtor because of the advertising, showing, and negotiations, etc.

I am sure the jurors were happy for the defendant, as was I.

I think this is really interesting. What do you think this case does (or doesn’t do) for buyers agents? In proving last week that the Ummels were ultimately responsible to do their own background research, to know what the comps were in the neighborhood, it seems this case has illuminated the fact that buyer’s agents are not the be-all, end-all in the home-buying transaction, as some market themselves to be.

Agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.

KELLY BENNETT

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