California Supreme Court to hear dual agency case

California Supreme Court to hear dual agency case For release: September 1, 2016 Dual agency in real estate transactions case to be heard by California Supreme Court  LOS ANGELES (Sept. 1)


– The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 7 in a case, Horiike v. Coldwell Banker, that is being closely followed by the real estate industry, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said. “At its core, the Horiike case is an issue of a buyer not reading all of the information that was presented to him, but Horiike is trying to turn a normal disclosure case into an agency case,” said C.A.R. President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli. “Some groups may believe that dual agency should be outlawed and want to use this case for that premise or as a stepping stone to that end.” In the case, a homebuyer, Hiroshi Horiike purchased a mansion in Malibu, Calif., and worked with a Beverly Hills, Coldwell Banker real estate licensee. The property was listed by a Coldwell Banker licensee in another office. Horiike complained he was misled about the property’s square footage. The issue is complex, however.  The City of Malibu includes some outdoor living areas in determining square footage, which impacts whether the property may be expanded. Most square footage measurements do not include outdoor living areas in square footage. These facts were fully disclosed, but apparently the buyer never read the information. Horiike sued the seller’s licensee, Chris Cortazzo, stating that Cortazzo and Coldwell Banker breached their fiduciary duty and failed to advise him to hire a third party to verify the actual square footage.  He did not sue the Beverly Hills licensee with whom he was working. The law has always required disclosure of known material facts about a property for sale.

C.A.R. provides many tools and forms to assist in making the transaction transparent as it relates to known material facts. As to duties not involving disclosure, most consumers would not expect a seller’s licensee to duplicate the same tasks and duties of a buyer’s licensee in the same transaction or to be held responsible if they were not done properly.      In the 2012 jury trial, the jury fully exonerated the seller’s licensee, Cortazzo, and Coldwell Banker on the buyer’s claims for negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation and concealment.  In other words, after many days of trial and examination of the evidence, the jury felt the information was properly disclosed. Before the jury trial, since the judge ruled that the seller’s licensee, Cortazzo, did not owe a fiduciary duty to Horiike, there was no breach of a duty attributable to Coldwell Banker. An appellate court overturned the trial court ruling. Coldwell Banker appealed to the California Supreme Court.

California law has allowed brokers to represent both parties with their informed consent since well before the 1980s. California even has a specific form to accomplish this. Such consent has been required for many decades and continues to give choice to consumers. However, just because a brokerage represents both buyer and seller in a transaction that should not automatically mean that each individual licensee owes a fiduciary duty to both parties. “There are many different real estate brokerage models, and the law allows consumers to choose between a big or small firm; and those firms that are exclusive to buyers, exclusive to sellers, or represent both,” Zicarelli said. “Narrowing the business model for a competitive advantage for one model would limit that choice. And the reality is, at the outset no buyer knows for sure what property they will buy, and no seller knows for sure who the eventual buyer will be.  Therefore, a real estate licensee never knows if there’s going to be a dual agency at the time a listing is taken or when a buyer begins looking for a property.

If the eventual consequence resulting from this case is that brokerage dual agency is prohibited, buyers will be restricted in the properties they can explore, and sellers will have a limited pool of buyers. Allowing all parties to explore buying or selling more properties on the market, not fewer, benefits the consumer.   Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Source: California Supreme Court to hear dual agency case

‘Double agent?’ A rift over how real estate is bought and sold reaches the California Supreme Court – The Orange County Register

‘Double agent?’ A rift over how real estate is bought and sold reaches the California Supreme Court May 1, 2016 Updated May 2, 2016 7:07 a.m.

Hiroshi Horiike, a Hong Kong multimillionaire, at his mansion in Malibu in 2014. In a lawsuit that could have major implications for many of the state’s real estate brokers and agents, Horiike said the size of his home was inflated when he bought it. J. EMILIO FLORES, NEW YORK TIMES FILE PHOTO By MARILYN KALFUS / STAFF WRITER

The Register asked real estate students at SaddlebackCollege to share their opinions on the issue of dual agents. We edited their responses for brevity: “How would it be possible to deliver the highest selling price for the seller and at the same time obtain lowest price for a buyer? This situation goes beyond legality and becomes a moral issue. As a broker/agent, are you willing to lower your morals just to make an extra buck?”  – Lisa Woodward “A real estate agent is bound by a strict code of laws, whether they are working for the buyer, the seller or both. With bank assessors typically involved – as well as a variety of special inspectors providing their opinions – there is little else to be feared from a dual agent.” – Scott Welker “I am put off by the fine line that a dual agency forces real estate agents to straddle. Real estate transactions by their nature are complicated, and the fiduciary duties throw one heck of a monkey wrench when it comes to not violating trust owed to both principals. So yes, I think maybe this should be a banned practice.” – Letty Maddox When Martin Welc asks his real estate classes at Saddleback College if one agent should represent both the buyer and the seller in a negotiation over a house, the students widely disagree. “We ask them: ‘Dual agent or double agent?’” said Welc, co-chairman of the college’s real estate program, in encouraging the students to play devil’s advocate. “We look at all of the pros and cons. We say, ‘Can this be done?’” It is done, but the controversy over its fairness to buyers and sellers goes beyond a homework assignment. Real estate agents, lawyers and consumer advocates all have opinions about it. Now a rift involving what’s known as “dual agency” has reached the California Supreme Court. Those on both sides of the argument know the high court’s decision in the case – pitting a Malibu homebuyer against brokerage Coldwell Banker – could shake up the industry. “There is a great deal of concern about this ruling in the California real estate community,” said Bob Hunt, a San Clemente agent and a director of the California Association of Realtors, of the appellate court’s conclusion. “It runs counter to the way – rightly or wrongly – that agents and brokers have thought things were.” A FINE LINE A dual agent must walk a fine line, careful not to favor the buyer or seller. There are details that cannot be shared – for example, the agent can’t tell the buyer the seller is frantic to unload the house because of a divorce or job change. Nor can the agent share with the seller how much the buyer privately said she’s willing to pay. Lee Stimmel, a San Francisco attorney who opposes double-ending deals, said the rules create a conflict of interest for the lone agent, who must serve two masters as a “superhuman.” But as Hunt and many other agents see it, a dual agent, privy to what’s motivating each side, is in a position to more swiftly and efficiently get a deal done. “Hiring a real estate salesperson is not the same as buying a burger,” the association says in court papers. “It is all about the relationship … The real estate salesperson is the equivalent of a therapist, a bartender, a friend.” In California and many other states, the law mandates that a broker must have a fiduciary responsibility to clients. But laws in about two dozen states have allowed agents to act as “facilitators” or “transaction brokers” without fiduciary loyalties, according to a report on Inman, a real estate industry site, titled “Buyer and Seller Beware: Your agent may not represent your best interests.”

Source: ‘Double agent?’ A rift over how real estate is bought and sold reaches the California Supreme Court – The Orange County Register

Consumer News For Immediate Release:

Attention Editor:  

New Connecticut Real Estate Brokerage Offers Undivided Loyalty to Sellers

Thomaston CT Real Estate Agent

Pictured here Kathleen Logan, Broker of Sellers Trust Real Estate of Litchfield County and Steve Schappert, home improvement & real estate expert and founder of Sellers Trust Real Estate.

Steve Schappert of The Green Marketing Company and BIOS Building Technologies has launched Sellers Trust Real Estate.  The new company only represents sellers and never uses dual agency agreements. Drawing on a lifetime of experience Schappert’s new company specializes in prepping, staging and marketing homes to maximize seller profit.

Kathleen Logan signed on as the designated broker for Sellers Trust Real Estate of Litchfield County in April and Sellers Trust Real Estate LLC was formed on April 15th.

Kathleen Logan, Broker contributes over 25 years of experience in real estate transactions to every seller who would like to sell in today’s buyers market.

I am proud to be a part of this new concept. I am proud to be a part of this new company, Sellers Trust Real Estate of Litchfield County. Real Estate has been a lifelong career for me. I grew up in a Real Estate environment lending firsthand experience with property leasing & management, to operating a Real Estate company in Thomaston, CT.

Sellers Trust exemplifies real estate sales done right for me.  When I owned and operated my own company for 16 years, back in 1995, representation for the seller was understood and buyer brokerage did not exist. In contrast, today, buyer’s broker contracts are mandatory in the state of CT. Most agents are highly motivated to have a buyer brokerage signed to get paid wherein Seller representation is technically there (through the agency) but is it really practiced?

Sellers Trust Real Estate of Litchfield County is a new company designed to Represent Only Sellers! How refreshing it is to specialize in this niche of real estate! Sellers need this specialized representation and it’s time they get it!

At Sellers Trust of Litchfield County, we have a comprehensive marketing plan for every seller. We have major professional marketing strategies! Your home will be so advertised it will be seen from around the world, to your neighbor and right up to your doorstep. You will be proud to have the Sellers Trust Real Estate sign in your front yard! Stephen Schappert, founder & proprietor of Sellers Trust Real Estate is a marketing rocket and he leaves no stone unturned for your home to be featured.

 Sellers Trust Real Estate of Litchfield County & Sellers Trust World Headquarters are located at 147 Elm Street Thomaston.  The property was built and owned by Seth Thomas, the world famous clock maker in 1854. The home was designed by Palliser and Palliser of Bridgeport CT and was featured in the book American Victorian Cottage Homes published in 1878.  In the mid 1870’s the home was purchased by EG Bradstreet an executive at Seth Thomas Clocks. The home is currently referred to as Doc Sampson’s house by locals, many of whom had been delivered by Doc.

Why “In Dual Agency, the Brokerage Firm does not represent the Buyer or Seller exclusively, and the parties cannot expect the Brokerage Firm’s undivided loyalty.”   – Chapter 1, Page 19 Connecticut Real Estate Practice and Law, Dearborn.

Our corporate office located 147 Elm Street, Thomaston, CT.


Kathleen Logan, Broker  860-459-4330

Steve Schappert, Founder 203-994-3950

Home Renovation ROI

LS004639Here’s the reality to renovations that are promoted on TV by Home Improvement sponsors. You loose money every time you shop. You can renovate yourself in to the poor house. If you are looking for the master list of improvements paid for by banks across America take a look at the 6 step plan that was developed and implemented by home improvement and real estate expert Steve Schappert.

This 6 step plan will make you money every time.

Compare it to the list below and realize you loose money on every single suggestion.

The Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling, details estimated costs for 30 home-improvement projects. The report also includes an estimated value homeowners can expect to recover from a specific renovation or addition when they sell their home. With the help of the report, we break down the cost and resale value of some of the most popular renovations—from kitchens and bathrooms to decks and basements. The figures are organized by region as well as the national average. To learn more and view all 36 project cost and value estimates, check out, where you can download the report in its entirety for free. © 2016 Hanley Wood, LLC.


New Exclusive Listing Brokerage Hiring One Agent For Each Town in CT 

We will only hire one agent per town. We then help you build a team to serve your market.
We are also hiring 1 master broker per county, 1 per state and 1 per country, millionaires will be made!

Sellers Trust is a new employee owned, social business enterprise based on the concepts of Nobel Prize Winners.

We Believe: You can live well by doing the right thing and you can earn more by specializing.

Company has a Global Expansion Plan with profit share and recruiting bonus.

Call Steve Schappert at 203-994-3950

Why I Don’t Practice Dual Agency

Why I Don’t Practice Dual Agency BY RICH SCHIFFER Real Estate Agent October 05, 2006 09:24 PM by Rich Schiffer, Weichert Realtors

I have a personal policy of never representing both sides of the same transaction. I do not practice dual agency. Definition: (per Pennsylvania Association of Realtors’ Glossary of Real Estate Terms) Dual Agency: A business relationship where the licensee, with written agreement from both parties, works for both the seller and the buyer in the same transaction. Dual agency will limit some of the duties owed to both parties. Dual agents cannot take any action that is adverse or detrimental to either the buyer or the seller in the transaction. For more details, see the explanation given in the Consumer Notice. Many realtors ask me why I chose this policy, thereby limiting my income to only one side of the equation. Here’s why: My job, as I see it, is to represent the interests of the person I am working for throughout all phases of the transaction, especially the negotiation phase. When an agent represents both sides, he has access to confidential information on both sides of the negotiation, and cannot, in my opinion, do a proper job representing the interests of the two parties involved. The agent ends up representing his own interests, in practical terms. I think of it like a boxing match. Each boxer has a trainer in his corner to guide him between rounds. If each boxer was represented by the same trainer, and he gave advice to each boxer between rounds, which one is getting the best advice? Which one is the trainer really trying to help win? The trainer benefits no matter who wins.  Does he really care if the advice he renders is good advice? It is for these reasons that I have chosen to not practice dual agency. It may cut down on my income opportunities a bit, but I believe I will make up for it with repeat business from clients that know they got the most honest, dedicated level of service possible.

Source: Why I Don’t Practice Dual Agency

New Brokerage Grows Community Roots by Planting Trees

“Every time we sell a property or hire a new agent we will plant 10 trees.”Steve Schappert

“Sellers Trust Real Estate is a social business enterprise, we earn profit so we can give back”, says Sellers Trust founder, Steve Schappert. Sellers Trust Real Estate of Litchfield County just opened for business at 147 Elm Street in Thomaston, CT. Kathy Logan of Thomaston is the designated broker.  The location will also serve as world headquarters.  The first 10 trees have been ordered and will be planted in the nursery at our office until they become established.

Birch TreesSellers Trust is teaming up with the Arbor Day Foundation. Trees make a world of difference and Sellers Trust is embracing the opportunity to make a difference for them.  “Our clients and staff can decide whether they want to plant trees locally, repopulate the rain forest or add to a national forest. Together, we can green up our communities,  and make an impact on our planet”, said Schappert.

Our Communities:  People need a place to call home and a community is an extension of that feeling. Planting trees with my staff and clients  provides a great bonding experience and adds a sense of permanence and pride in our accomplishments.

Our forests: They provide wildlife habitat, natural beauty and recreational opportunities. They filter our air and our water. They are vital to life as we know it. And they need our help. Critical efforts to revitalize forests across the country—and around the globe—are underway to ensure that they live on for future generations, and Sellers trust is proud to be part of the solution.

Tropical rain forests cover just 2% of the earth’s surface, and yet they provide habitat and food for nearly half of all known living species. They convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, provide us with new medicines, and protect many of the undiscovered wonders of our planet. Rain forests are a beautiful, vital part of life. And they need our help.

Rain Forest Rescue® is making important strides by supporting Sellers Trust and communities in their efforts to protect, sustain and restore tropical rain forests.

Sellers Trust Real Estate is an Exclusive Seller Broker. Agents and brokers make a commitment to their clients to provide undivided loyalty and never use dual agency disclosure forms. Schappert said, ” I feel that once you make a promise to do the very best for a client you should keep that promise. The common practice of signing an exclusive right to represent and then signing a dual agency disclosure that allows the agent get paid by both parties in a transaction without representing either just doesn’t sit well with me.”

Sellers Trust improves, stages and lists property for sale to maximize seller profits. Trees add value to your home, regulate the temperature of your neighborhood, and provide food for wildlife.

Schappert can be reached at 203-994-3950