It is pretty obvious that real estate agents and brokers who list properties for sale assume significant fiduciary duties to the owners under state law.
Those duties encompass obedience, loyalty, disclosure of information, confidentiality, accountability, and reasonable care, skill and diligence.
What may be less apparent to consumers is the obligation to treat everyone else acceptably under the law. We real estate professionals must “deal honestly, fairly and in good faith with the buyer.”
Within that phrase lie a number of duties — for example, the following:
- No misrepresentation of fact such as by concealing defects;
- Refusal to show the property to prospective buyers.
It doesn’t take a lot of imaginination to think how the precepts of honesty, fairness and good faith can fall by the wayside.
A broker may misstate the existence, number or quality of any purchase offers. She may delay responding or fail to return telephone calls seeking a showing appointment. He may play off one unacceptable offer against another in what, at bottom, is a false competition.
Nor is it unheard of for a broker hoping to collect entire commission owed to both the seller’s and buyer’s representatives by finding ways to discourage other buyers than the one whom the broker is helping to make an offer.
Acting within moral and ethical guidelines can be a challenge to many of us engaged in the sale and purchase of real estate.
But acting legally is not so hard: The law is clear.
Tomorrow: Disclosure detailed
To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available properties privately.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022