Real estate disputes: Can a seller sue if house fails to sell?

For many California residents and commercial property owners, the year ahead includes a long to-do list that includes the task of selling a home or commercial building. Such ventures are typically not without their challenges. However, when sellers are familiar with state codes and regulations and are able to negotiate fair deals with prospective buyers, chances for successful outcomes are high. The story may be quite different though if real estate disputes arise.

That's what happened in another state when a company attempted to sell a multi-million dollar property it owned at the time. The company's problems began when the home failed to sell. Upon close inspection of the online site that had listed the property on the market, the company noticed that Zillow Group had an estimated value listed in a conspicuous location on the page that was merely half of the home's listing price.

The property owners contacted Zillow Group and requested that they move their Zestimate (as their estimated valuations are called) to a less noticeable spot on the page as it seemed they had done for several other brokers. Zillow Group reportedly responded with an email that explained company protocol does not allow it to move its Zestimates, except for specific brokers with whom it has special contracts to do so. This incident prompted the concerned homeowners to file an antitrust lawsuit against Zillow Group, claiming it is giving preferential treatment to certain brokers at the expense of other competitors in the marketplace.

Basically, the plaintiffs have asserted that the more covert placing of Zestimates on other brokerage pages has given those brokers a strong advantage over other home sellers, themselves included. Real estate disputes like this one are often complex as one or more laws may impact a particular situation. That's why most California property owners seek legal assistance before heading to court.

Source:, "Zillow Sued Over Zestimate Display: Making Sense Of The Dispute", Andrea V. Brambila, Jan. 18, 2018

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