Why is it important to hire a Realtor? A real estate broker, who becomes an agent of a seller or buyer through the execution of a written agreement, is deemed to be a fiduciary and will be held to specific duties and a strict Code of Ethics.
These specific fiduciary duties include: Loyalty; Obedience; Disclosure; Confidentiality; Reasonable Care & Diligence; Accounting
1.Loyalty – A duty of loyalty is one of the most fundamental fiduciary duties owed by an agent to their client. This duty obligates a real estate broker to act at all times solely in the best interests of the client.
2.Obedience – An agent is obligated to obey all lawful instructions of their client.
3.Disclosure – An agent is obligated to disclose to their client all relevant and material information that the agent knows and that pertains to the scope of the agency. This duty specifically obligates a broker/agent representing a buyer to reveal to the buyer:
•The willingness of the seller to accept a lower price.
•Any facts relating to the urgency of the seller’s need to sell the property.
•The broker’s relationship to, or interest in, the seller or the property for sale.
•Any facts affecting the value of the property.
•Market time and any other offers that have been made relating to the property.
•Any other information that would affect the buyer’s ability to obtain the property.
4.Confidentiality – An agent is obligated to safeguard their client’s confidence and secrets. A real estate broker/agent, therefore, must keep confidential any information that might weaken their client’s bargaining position if it were revealed.
5.Reasonable care and diligence – An agent is obligated to use reasonable care and diligence in pursuing the client’s affairs. A real estate professional is deemed to have skill and expertise in real estate matters superior to that of the average person. A broker/agent is under a duty to use their superior skill and knowledge while pursuing their client’s affairs. This duty includes an obligation to affirmatively discover facts relating to their client’s affairs that a reasonable and prudent real estate professional would be expected to investigate.
6.Accounting – An agent is obligated to account for all money or property belonging to their client that is entrusted to him. This duty compels a real estate broker to safeguard any money, deeds, or other documents entrusted to him that relate to their client’s transactions or affairs.
A client is a person in a binding contractual relationship with a Realtor or Broker. (i.e. a listing agreement or buyer’s representation agreement.) The broker/agent will be held to the above fiduciary responsibilities while the agreement is in effect.
A customer is a person who receives a service from an agent, but does not have a contractual agreement and, therefore, will not be held to the above fiduciary responsibilities until a written agreement has been signed. The broker/agent is obligated to treat you with fairness, honesty and integrity and to provide you with conscientious and competent service but may not have your best interest at heart.
Many Realtors will agree to cancel a contract or agreement if you are not happy with the service you are receiving so what have you got to lose? Hire a Realtor and protect your best interest!