The internet has quickly sped up the time that it takes for a person to sell their home. A seller can hop online and receive a comparative market analysis of their property in just a few minutes, and a buyer can get pre-approved by using their smartphone from the convenience of their couch.

While this fast pace is good, it can lead to legal trouble for a real estate agent who doesn’t fully understand the ethical standards that they must follow.

Fiduciary Duties

When an individual receives their real estate license there is a list of fiduciary duties that they must follow. These include:

– Care

– Loyalty

– Obedience

– Disclosure

– Accounting

– Confidentiality

Unfortunately, an agent may not understand these fiduciary duties and breach an ethical guideline if they are careful. For example, if a realtor is acting as a seller’s and they speak with some prospective buyers, the agent cannot inform the prospective buyers why the house is being sold. This would breach the fiduciary duties related to confidentiality and loyalty.


When advertising, only specifics should be used. Using vague exaggerations such as “best deal in town” would be a misrepresentation of a property if it stretches the truth.

A good rule of thumb is for an agent to only list the benefits that their services can provide and the features of the property that they are selling.

Fair Housing

An agent must treat all prospects equally and fairly. For example, if a seller asks an agent to only present offers from non-Christian buyers, this practice would be unethical for an agent to perform.

To avoid these situations, an agent should focus on the property that’s being sold.

Real Estate Agents Must Always Be Truthful

All the relevant facts surrounding a property should be relayed to a client. It’s the realtor’s duty to provide all of the pertinent information and any important factors that are associated with a property as well as all of the deals related to the transaction.

These should be made only in good faith to the seller and the buyer. If any questions or suspicions arise, it’s the duty of the real estate agent to look for answers and investigate the situation. By doing so, the ethics of the real estate agent will help serve both the buyers and sellers who are involved in the transaction.