Welcome back to part 2 in my series on the Texas Association of Realtors Code of Ethics. These are rules of conduct that all real estate agent members of the TAR must follow at risk of fines, discipline, or even being thrown out.
Previously, of course, we discussed Article 1. Today, surprise surprise, is Article 2!
Article 2 is shorter, relatively, and covers several different responsibilities of the Realtor®. It is also a big one, in the sense that it may be one of the most abused.
Exaggerating Home Values. The article begins with the requirement that an agent not “exaggerate, misrepresent, or conceal” pertinent facts relating to a property or transaction. Exaggerating includes recommending a list price higher than the actual market value of the home. While performing home value analysis (or CMAs) is not a science, it is a tempting but unethical technique to overpromise to the seller on the value of their home. Agents do this to improve their chances of getting the listing, hoping they can persuade the seller to drop the price later when the home hasn’t sold for a few months. As I mentioned, because price opinions are somewhat subjective, it is hard to actually “catch” a listing agent doing this, but just know that it is certainly unethical.
NON-Disclosure. In other articles, it is specified the items that agents DO have to disclose. Here, it is specified which things they DO NOT. Specifically, anything that is not covered by their license, agents do not have to disclose. For example, we are not (usually) licensed inspectors, and should not be expected (and should not try) to diagnose problems with a property. Nor are we lawyers, meaning we are bound by the scope of the promulgated forms that TAR and TREC provide, and for matters requiring professional expertise not related to real estate brokerage, we are not an authority and should not try to be.
Confidentiality. Similarly, agents are bound NOT to disclose information about clients, past and present, which is required to be kept confidential under other ethical or legal standards and requirements.
Questions about specific circumstances? Or would you like more info on buying and selling in Central Texas? Please give me a shout at my contact info below!
Brian E Adams, REALTOR®, GRI
StarPointe Realty Central Texas LLC
Licensed in the State of Texas