/ Blog

What Should You Expect From Your Real Estate Agent?

October 11, 2023 - Lindsey Brown

Every real estate agent learns at the start of their licensing process that they will be dealing with two types of people: clients and customers. The real estate “Code of Ethics” demands high standards of professional conduct that protect the interests of both clients and customers and guard the rights of consumers of real estate services.

“Client” refers to a person(s) with whom a real estate agent or real estate firm has an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship. “Customer” refers to a person(s) that is part of a real estate transaction, who receives information, services, or benefits, but has no contractual relationship with the real estate agent or firm. To become a client rather than just a customer, you will need to commit to one real estate agent and sign a representation agreement, such as a listing agreement if you are a seller. If you are a buyer, you would sign a buyer’s representation agreement. Each of those agreements would disclose the real estate agent’s duties, how they would be compensated, the date and terms of the agreement, and the client’s duties.

One of the duties that a “client” can expect to receive from their real estate agent is the fiduciary duty or fiduciary relationship. Fiduciary means faithful servant. The real estate agent is a fiduciary of their client. That fiduciary duty consists of six things: Obedience, Loyalty, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accounting, and Reasonable Care.

Obedience: This means that your agent must obey your instructions unless your requests are illegal, unethical, or not in accordance with contractual obligations.

Loyalty: Your realtor must be loyal and keep your best interests in mind, ahead of their interests, or any other parties. For example, your agent should not consider their commission ahead of your needs.

Disclosure: Any real estate agent, even if they are not representing you, should make you aware of any material latent defects on the property. The agent will also only disclose information that will get you ahead in negotiations.

Confidentiality: Your realtor will not disclose anything that they learn about you, your business, or your financial or personal affairs or motivations.

Accounting: Your realtor needs to keep track of the deposits, pass on the contracts to lawyers or title companies, and ensure all monies related to the transaction and their disposition are their fiduciary responsibility. No co-mingling of any transactional funds with the agent’s business funds is allowed.

Reasonable Care: Your realtor must use all their skills to the best of their ability for their client. Ensure that your realtor can suggest and help you make the big and difficult decisions.

These six items are textbook things that are part of the “Code of Ethics” in real estate and something that everyone should expect from their real estate agent. There are a few other things that clients or customers may take for granted but should be considered when selecting an agent or even after an agent has been selected.

Communication: You should expect your agent to answer or return your calls, texts, and emails. If you have a question or would like an update on where things are in the selling or buying process, you should be able to get those questions answered. A good agent will be busy throughout the day and may not be able to answer every call, text, or email at a moment’s notice, but they should grant you the courtesy of responding the same day, or within 24 hours. You should not have to go for days or weeks on end without some type of communication from your agent.

References: When considering what agent or company you are going to select you should ask the agent for references from current or past clients, lenders, and/or financial representatives that they have worked with or who may have referred clients to the agent. 

Listening Skills and Knowledge: Your real estate agent should be a good listener and ask you questions about what your plans are for the sale proceeds. If you have plans to reinvest in real estate, if so, the real estate agent can explain the benefits of a 1031 tax exchange transaction. The agent should provide you with information about the current real estate market conditions, and then allow you to use that information to make your final decision. They should not pressure you or paint a picture of doom and gloom to get you to sell.

Marketing: When selling real estate, effective marketing is very important to attract the right potential buyer(s) or bidder(s). Your real estate and their company should provide multiple avenues of advertising and marketing. Print ads, digital and online advertising, radio, and social media are all great ways to market property. Ask your agent to provide you with a marketing plan and estimated budget.

Conclusion: The sale of your real estate is not something that should be taken lightly, and you deserve to have all the information regarding the current land market and land values available to you. Be sure you find a real estate agent that you feel comfortable with and one that will communicate with you throughout the entire process. As the seller you are entitled to have your questions and concerns answered. You should hear from your agent more than just at the signing of the listing agreement and the day of closing.

Peoples Company has a variety of qualified individuals and departments that all work together to provide the highest quality information and services to help you make the right decisions about your land. We have a national footprint and a vast database of contacts and buyers. Peoples Company would welcome the opportunity to be your trusted advisor and maximize your sales results.

Published in: Real Estate