Is real estate agent liable for failing to reveal tax liens?

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John Strebel's purchase offer to buy the home of Jon and Laurie Steel for $420,000 was accepted by the sellers. Unknown to Strebel, the house was encumbered with Internal Revenue Service tax liens and court judgments exceeding its sales price. Real estate agent Haya Smith, acting as a dual agent for the buyer and sellers, was aware of the liens but failed to disclose them to buyer Strebel. Meanwhile, Strebel made preparations to sell his former residence, contingent on the purchase of the Steel house. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. When Strebel told agent Smith his home sale was ready to close, she assured him his home purchase was "on track." In reliance on his agent's statement, he closed the sale of his former residence. Unfortunately, the Steels were unable to resolve their IRS tax lien and judgment disputes. The sellers eventually told Strebel they could not deliver marketable title because of the tax liens. Strebel then placed the proceeds from his home sale into an account e...