As a prod real estate agent in the state of Minnesota, it’s my pleasure to share insights into the critical roles and responsibilities that real estate agents have towards their clients. A real estate agent’s duties go beyond merely facilitating a property transaction. We have a fiduciary duty to act in our client’s best interests, ensuring that each transaction is conducted honestly, fairly, and with the utmost professionalism.
The Fiduciary Duty
In legal terms, a fiduciary relationship is established when a real estate agent agrees to represent a client in a real estate transaction. As a fiduciary, we have a responsibility to put the client’s interests above our own, adhering to honesty, integrity, confidentiality, and full disclosure.
The agent’s foremost responsibility is loyalty to our client. This means the agent should not engage in activities that are adverse to the client’s interests. For instance, a real estate agent should not purchase a property the client is interested in or represent a buyer interested in the same property. Additionally, agents should not use their client’s property information to benefit another client or their personal interests Minnesota Statutes, section 82.68, subdivision 3.
Agents are obliged to follow all lawful instructions of their clients, as long as these instructions do not conflict with state or federal law. For instance, if a client instructs an agent to only accept offers above a certain price, the agent is obligated to comply. However, agents should not go against the client’s lawful instructions, like not disclosing certain facts about the property unless it violates state disclosure laws Minnesota Statutes, section 82.68, subdivision 3.
Real estate agents are required to disclose all relevant and material information they know about a property. This could include issues related to the property’s condition, legal matters, and market conditions. Agents should not withhold any material facts about a property, such as known defects, environmental hazards, or neighborhood nuisances. If the agent is aware that the property was previously used for illegal activities, this must also be disclosed Minnesota Statutes, section 82.68, subdivision 3.
The agent must maintain the confidentiality of all personal and financial information provided by the client. This duty extends beyond the termination of the agent-client relationship. Agents must not disclose any confidential information about their client to others without their client’s consent. This could include their client’s financial status, the lowest price they are willing to accept for a property, or personal matters that may affect the transaction Minnesota Statutes, section 82.68, subdivision 3.
Reasonable Care and Diligence
Real estate agents are expected to perform their duties with a degree of care and diligence that is customary in the real estate industry. They should be knowledgeable about the real estate market, provide accurate information, handle paperwork meticulously, and advise clients based on our professional judgment. Agents should not provide inaccurate information about the property or the market, nor should they neglect to perform necessary tasks such as submitting paperwork on time. We also shouldn’t ignore important details about the transaction or fail to conduct appropriate research Minnesota Statutes, section 82.68, subdivision 3.
Remember, as a client, you have the right to expect your real estate agent to fulfill these duties. If you believe that your agent has failed in their responsibilities, don’t hesitate to file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. They are here to ensure that the real estate market operates with integrity and fairness for everyone.