In these times of agency relationship and full disclosure, it is good to read something that really explains a Realtor’s® responsibilities toward their clients.
This was actually articulated over 30 years ago by the B.C. Court of Appeal, and fully describes a licensee’s common law duty of disclosure, and is even perhaps more relevant in today’s business enviroment.
“The relationship between a real estate agent and a person retaining him/her to sell a property is a fiduciary and confidential one and the real estate agent’s duty to his principal is to be construed strictly. The agent has a duty to obtain the highest possible price for his client and to disclose all material facts which might affect the value of the property. The onus is upon the agent to prove that the transaction was entered into after full and fair disclosure of all material circumstances and of everything known to him/her respecting the subject matter of the contract which would be likely to influence the understanding of the principals of that contract…I would emphasise that the agent cannot arbitrarily decide what would likely influence the conduct of his/her principal and thus avoid the consequences of non-disclosure. If the information pertains to the transaction with respect to which the agent is engaged any concern or doubt that the agent may have can be readily resolved by disclosure of all fact to his/her principal.”
what does this mean in language and actions we can all understand:
a) A real estate agent MUST put their clients needs and wants above and before their own.
b) A real estate agent (in many jurisdictions) can only serve one client at a time in any transaction.
c) A real estate agent has a fiduciary duty to learn and/or find out as much as possible about the property they have been contracted to sell or buy by their principal(s).
d) A real estate agent cannot and should not make any decisions for their client without discussing the full impact of those decisions with their client, and preferably obtain the results of those discussions in writing.
e) If a real estate professional learns of any issues about a property that might affect its final value or the future status of a sale or purchase, there are 3 things they must do as soon as possible after they learn of it:
DISCLOSE DISCLOSE DISCLOSE