Although, both, the real estate law, of, nearly every state, as well as the Code of Ethics, of most real estate associations, requires an agent, to proceed, with the fiduciary responsibility, to protect, and properly serve the best interests, of his clients. However, while this may, seem, obvious, actually, doing so, may, often, be challenging, to, actually, achieve. Where is the, somewhat, fine – line, between, legally, required integrity, and ethics, and protecting your client’s trust? Just as an attorney must protect his client, a real estate agent, must focus, within the limitations of the law, to protect, anyone he has been hired, to serve, and represent. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly discuss this issue, and consider, the balance, and challenges, to doing so, effectively, and properly.
1. The fine – line, between telling the truth, and owing allegiance to one’s clients: The law, demands, a licensed, real estate agent, must avoid making any material mis – statements, while, also, protecting his client’s privacy, etc. This means, if one knows, of any significant issue, affecting the house, which might affect the value, and/ or future needs, etc, of any potential buyer, he must disclose those things, but, items, such as the personal reasons, the seller/ client, is selling, must never be disclosed. For example, perhaps a client is having financial challenges, which make him, need, to sell, but, have nothing to do, with the quality, condition, etc, of the house, itself. If that is the case, an agent must never disclose these circumstances, because he owes his allegiance, to his client.
2. Pricing: In their quest, to acquire real estate listings, some agents, might over – state, their positions, and estimates, of pricing, and recommend, a higher listing price, than might be, in the homeowner’s best interest. Since, in the vast majority of cases, the best, possible offers, come in, in the first few weeks, after it’s listed, on the market, the best procedure, is generally, to price the house, correctly, from the start. Remember, serving the best interests of your client, is your utmost necessity!
3. Negotiating: When an agent negotiates, it must be, in your best – interest. Therefore, he must never disclose other offers, or the actual level of interest, unless doing so, is beneficial.
A real estate agent’s fiduciary responsibility, is to protect his client’s investment, and seek, to obtain, the best possible price, within the limitations of the real estate market, conditions, etc. Homeowners should discuss this, in – depth, before hiring, the best agent, to serve their needs, and interests!