Buyers interested in purchasing a residential or commercial property in Rhode Island are able to use technology and the convenience of Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) to quickly and efficiently review property listings that may interest them. The MLS is a database created by two or more brokers that provides information about properties that are on the market. Brokers using an MLS can review each other’s property listings, and ultimately connect buyers to sellers. Because the MLS is often made accessible online, its use has made it easy for buyers to find properties to purchase, however inaccuracies within MLS listings can lead to problems that Rhode Island buyers may not foresee.
According to an article published in an industry trade journal, much of the information found on an MLS is automatically populated from property tax records or other publicly available information that may not be accurate or up to date. The article notes an example where the square footage of a home is listed in the MLS as different from the actual square footage, and a potential buyer is misled as to the size and value of the home they are looking into.
Who Is to Blame if the Information Contained in an MLS Listing Is Inaccurate?
According to recently decided court cases, a seller or the seller’s broker can be held accountable for failure to disclose the correct information about a home to a buyer. If this information came from an MLS listing and was prepared by a third-party broker, they may also be responsible, although obtaining compensation from a third party can be difficult.
An intelligent buyer can protect themselves from any misinformation contained in a listing by obtaining independent surveys and appraisals for lot size, square footage, and other information that may not be accurate in a listing. If a buyer discovers that a listing was not accurate or that a seller misrepresented important facts about the real estate transaction, the buyer may be able to take legal action against the seller to receive compensation for any damages they have suffered as a result of the inaccurate information.
Advice for Buyers With Questions About a Listing or Seller’s Representations
If you are looking to buy a home or commercial property in Rhode Island, you may be tempted to save money and handle as much of the transaction on your own as possible. However, that may not be the best choice. A modest investment at the front end of a transaction can ensure that you are getting exactly what you are expecting and preventing unforeseen consequences resulting from a seller or broker’s misrepresentation. The best protection for a buyer involved in a Rhode Island real estate transaction is to retain a qualified real estate attorney to assist them in the transaction. The skilled Rhode Island real estate lawyers with Bilodeau Capalbo can quickly find any inconsistencies or red flags in your transaction, and our experienced attorneys will help you avoid getting less than you bargained for. Call our offices to schedule a free consultation at Bilodeau Capalbo today at 401-300-4055.