Realtor’s responsibilities and ‘agency’ in real estate

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Realtor’s responsibilities and ‘agency’

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We want our customers to understand what duties we owe them by law, and that there are three basic ways Realtors represent our clients.

We owe you OLDCAR

By law, Realtors owe you the following fiduciary duties:

  • Obedience – broker/salesperson will carry out all client(s)’ lawful instructions.
  • Loyalty – broker/salesperson will act only in client(s)’ best interest.
  • Disclosure – broker/salesperson will disclose to client(s) all material facts of which broker/salesperson has knowledge which might reasonably affect the client(s)’ use and enjoyment of the property.
  • Confidentiality – broker/salesperson will keep client(s)’ confidences unless required by law to disclose specific information (such as disclosure of material facts to Buyers).
  • Accounting – broker/salesperson will account to client(s) for all client(s)’ money and property received as agent.
  • Reasonable Care – broker/salesperson will use reasonable care in performing duties as an agent.

Buyer’s broker/agent

If we’re representing you as the buyer, our fiduciary duty is to you, and it’s our job to negotiate the best price and terms on your home for you as buyer. It’s especially important that we maintain confidentiality with you about price, terms and motivation, unless otherwise given permission by you.

Seller’s broker/agent

The seller’s agent’s responsibility is to bring a qualified buyer for your property and net the most money in the least amount of time for you, the seller. Understand that we have to keep confidentiality with you about price, terms and motivation, however, we must disclose to buyers any known, material facts about the property. In other words, if we know for a fact that squirrels are living in your walls, but you want to hide this from buyers, we’re not allowed to do so!

Dual agency

What if, as a buyer, you go house shopping and the house we want to write an offer on is listed by our same Keller Williams brokerage (or our team)? Or what if, as a seller, a buyer who’s represented by our same brokerage (or our team) writes an offer on your house? This situation is called dual agency. This actually happens all the time and is not a problem so long as the buyers and sellers agree to it. As the Realtor, we can’t discuss price terms or motivation of either party without permission of, or to the detriment of the other party. And we still owe both parties all of the OLDCAR fiduciary duties.


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