A real estate agent has certain duties to his or her clients that must be upheld throughout every transaction. These include:
- Loyalty. The agent must always put the best interests of the client first.
- Obedience. The agent has to carry out any lawful instructions that he or she is given by a client, and must do so in a prompt fashion.
- Confidentiality. The agent cannot give away secrets or information that may make it harder for the client to bargain and negotiate.
- Disclosure. The agent has to tell the client any and all relevant information, hiding nothing.
- Accounting. The agent has to keep track of all documents, money or other related property that the client entrusts to him or her.
- Diligence and reasonable care. The agent has to use his or her skill and expertise, working diligently to pursue the proper outcome for the client.
In short, the agent really does need to be working for the client and not for himself or herself. The client’s desires and goals have to come first, and it’s the agent’s job to work toward those ends.
This means different things in different cases, but an example could be if, during a sale, the client reveals to the agent the amount of money he or she will accept for a property. The agent is then bound to keep this information confidential, not telling the potential buyers what the lowest acceptable offer will be. Revealing that information could cause the buyers to put in lower offers than they would have otherwise, thus robbing the client of additional earnings.
During any real estate transaction, it’s important for buyers, sellers and agents to all be well aware of their legal rights and obligations.
Source: National Association of Realtors, “Fiduciary Duties,” accessed Jan. 19, 2018