The Real Estate Encyclopedia
The Fiduciary Duties and Responsibilities of an Agent.
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As a real estate educator and an expert witness for real estate related cases I have noticed some licensed agents demonstrate a huge lack of knowledge about what exactly being a licensed agent (representative) actually is.  Representation is re-presenting the principal one works for.  The principal is usually the buyer or seller, and, in the case of dual agency, both. 

In any case, agents are required to give fiduciary duties to their client.  Loyalty is at the top of the list of 6 duties.  Loyalty means allegiance to the principal, even at one's own expense.  It means advocacy for the prinicpal's needs and wants.  And it means advice, i.e., giving any advice to advance the cause of the principal first and foremost.  The second duty is Disclosure.  Disclosure of not only agency status, which is required to be given to both prinicpals and non-principals, but also disclosure of any learned information about the other side that would benefit the principal.  Confidentiality, in many states, never dies, and therefore, once learned in confidence, cannot be relayed to any other principal or customer, no matter if the original agreement expired or not (check with your state's policy).  Reasonable care and diligence has to do with rendering the standard of care expected of a real estate professional undertaking the representation of a consumer.  The duty of obedience, which some agents incorrectly decide is not a duty, requires the agent to do whatever the client/principal wishes in the context of their scope of representation duties.  E.g., changing the price, changing the marketing, adding something, taking something away, all in the course of marketing the principal's property.  Lastly, the duty of accounting has to do with rendering a statement of what, where, and how a client/principal's moneys and properties were handled. 

The failing to provide the above duties to the client/principal can result in a principal not achieving their goals, thereby putting the agent in the vulnerable position of being sued for malpractice, sometimes (depending) even leading up to fraudulent charges resulting in severe penalties.  Also, violations of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics result in additional charges and penalties.

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