If you’re wondering what exactly you can expect from working with a real estate agent, you’d do best to ask about the specific services an agent offers. However, there are certain things that agents are obligated to do for you, and many of them are actually legally mandated of agents. While some of these obligations vary from state to state, the following are things you can expect from any real estate agent.
They Must Be Loyal to You
When you hire a real estate agent, they are obligated to put your best interests first. Your interests must come even before their own. Their commission cannot be a consideration in their advice to you or negotiations on your behalf. If a bonus is offered for buyer’s agents for bringing in a buyer for a property, your agent must tell you about it before showing you.
In this same vein, they aren’t allowed to disclose any details that they learn about you during the course of your working relationship. This non-disclosure doesn’t end once your business is concluded, though. They’re obligated to keep secrets about your family, finances, or business for good unless they are ordered by a court to disclose things they learned as your real estate agent. The exception to this is if you tell them specifically that they may disclose certain details.
They’ve Got to Disclose Pertinent Facts
Most state’s laws and general ethics require that your agent discloses to you any information they possess that might sway your decisions one way or another. Information that may change your mind or the other parties’ mind whether you or they do or don’t buy or sell a home is often called a ‘material fact’. The nature of disclosure varies from state to state, and some states don’t even have disclosure laws, but basic ethics mean that you can expect that an agent will let you in on any facts that will help you make the best decision for you.
While agents can’t be expected to disclose facts they’re unaware of, it is generally expected that they do their due diligence and obtain any important information that they can easily access. This may mean that they let you know what they’re seeing in a property and that they check into important paperwork surrounding the property.
They’re Required to Take Care of the Paperwork
It’s your agent’s job to handle the important paperwork involved in listing or buying a home. They’re required to account for both the money and property involved. This means that escrow funds must be handled appropriately, usually being passed on to a broker to be placed in an escrow account. They’re also required to track showings so that you’re aware who has been in your home and have an official record of it, and they’re required to make sure that premises entrusted to them to show are secured appropriately
These are the things that a realtor whom you’ve entered into an agreement are obliged to do for you, whether you’re buying or selling your home. It’s important to note that only real estate agents with whom you’ve signed an agreement are legally held to these obligations. If you’re looking for an agent to represent your interests specifically, it’s important that you find the right agent and sign an agency agreement with them. If you’re concerned that your agent isn’t fulfilling the above-named fiduciary duties, you may be able to have the contract nullified in court and any deals done may be able to be undone.