The State of Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Commission has put out a document that tells consumers how they can be represented by real estate professionals and what that representation means. Until there is a written contract (Buyers’ Agency Agreeement or Listing Contract) between the Realtor and the consumer, the Realtor has no fiduciary or confidentiality duty to the customer. Here is a copy of the Consumer Notice:
Licensees may enter into the following agency relationships with consumers:
- The seller will accept a price less than the asking/listing price,
- The buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in the written offer, and
- The seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered.
- Like licensees in agency relationships, transaction licensees must disclose known material defects about the property.
Regardless of the business relationship selected, all licensees owe consumers the duty to:
- Exercise reasonable professional skill and care which meets the practice standards required by the RELRA.
- Deal honestly and in good faith.
- Present, as soon as practicable, all written offers, counteroffers, notices and communications to and from the parties. This duty may be waived by the seller where the seller’s property is under contract and the waiver is in writing.
- Comply with the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law.
- Account for escrow and deposit funds.
- Disclose, as soon as practicable, all conflicts of interest and financial interests.
- Provide assistance with document preparation and advise the consumer regarding compliance with laws pertaining to real estate transactions.
- Advise the consumer to seek expert advice on matters about the transaction that are beyond the licensee’s expertise.
- Keep the consumer informed about the transaction and the tasks to be completed.
- Disclose financial interest in a service, such as financial, title transfer and preparation services, insurance, construction, repair or inspection, at the time service is recommended or the first time the licensee learns that the service will be used.
- The duration of the licensee’s employment, listing agreement or contract.
- The licensee’s fees or commission.
- The scope of the licensee’s activities or practices.The broker’s cooperation with and sharing of fees with other brokers.
- All sales agreements must contain the property’s zoning classification except where the property is zoned solely or primarily to permit single family dwellings.