The Duty of Care in Real Estate: Protecting Your Clients' Interests

05/10/2023 11:50 AM Comment(s)

Understanding the Duty of Care in Real Estate Transactions

As a real estate agent or broker, you have a legal and ethical duty to act in the best interests of your clients. This duty of care requires you to provide your clients with accurate information, honest advice, and diligent representation throughout the real estate transaction process.

One important aspect of the duty of care is the obligation to present your clients with any and all offers that are received on their property, unless otherwise instructed by the client. This means that as an agent or broker, you cannot withhold offers from your clients or make decisions about which offers to present without their express consent.

The requirement to present all offers to clients is not just a matter of good business practice, it is also required by law. In fact, in many states, failure to present all offers to a client can result in disciplinary action against the agent or broker, including fines, suspension of license, or even revocation of license.

This duty to present all offers applies to all offers, regardless of their source. For example, if a buyer makes an offer directly to the seller, without involving the seller's agent or broker, the seller's agent or broker still has a duty to inform the seller of the offer and present it to them.

Of course, there may be situations where a client specifically instructs their agent or broker not to present certain types of offers, or to present offers only above a certain price point. In these cases, the agent or broker must follow their client's instructions and not present offers that fall outside of those parameters.

It's also worth noting that the duty to present all offers extends beyond just presenting them to the client. Agents and brokers have an obligation to ensure that their clients understand the terms and conditions of any offer that is presented to them, and to provide guidance and advice on how to respond to the offer. This may include negotiating with the buyer's agent, requesting changes to the offer, or even rejecting the offer outright.

In summary, the duty of care in real estate is a critical component of the professional responsibilities of agents and brokers. Ensuring that all offers are presented to clients, unless directed otherwise by the client, is an essential part of this duty. By following this requirement and providing diligent representation to their clients, agents and brokers can help to build trust and establish long-term relationships that benefit everyone involved in the real estate transaction process.