On behalf of Michael Brooks of Law Offices of Michael A. Brooks posted in commercial real estate acquisitions & dispositions on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Even the rich and famous can end up in trouble when a real estate agreement goes south.

A real estate company is suing the firms that represent pop icon Taylor Swift. At issue is whether or not the firms gave a specific agent the exclusive right to sell the singer a piece of New York property she wanted. Famous individuals like Swift often go through intermediary companies to purchase real estate. It’s the only way they can avoid paying artificially inflated property values once the sellers get wind of who wants the property.

He claims that he had a written promise from the singer’s representatives, but the property deal was closed through another agent anyhow. The agent is asking for more than $1 million, which represents the commission he lost when the sale went through another agent.

While neither the singer nor her representatives signed a formal real estate contract with the agent, the representatives did communicate with the agent by email. In at least one of those emails, the agent was told that the companies representing the singer’s real estate holdings would “solely” go through him. While the singer herself didn’t do anything to create the problem, it could end up costing her or the companies she worked with quite an additional expense if the lawsuit is successful.

In this case, it’s very possible that the somewhat casual email exchange between the holding company and the real estate agent may be enough to establish a legally binding contract. It has been sufficient in past court cases that were similar.

Buyers should always be careful about having a written agreement with their real estate agent. While many people don’t like signing a contract that gives someone the exclusive right to sell them a property, those contracts can provide buyers with something very important: an end date to the agreement.

If an agent isn’t working out, the contract can be allowed to expire before the buyer decides to move on to another agent’s services.

Source:, “Can Taylor Swift ‘Shake Off’ a Real Estate Lawsuit Gone Horribly Wrong?,” Judy Dutton, Feb. 21, 2018

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