These are called “fiduciary duties”, and are commonly remembered with the acronym OLD CAR. Let’s run through that and explore the meanings and ramifications of the duties.
O - Obedience Your realtor must follow any direct instructions you give her relating to the house or your finances, provided it’s legal. We might disagree and try to convince you it’s a bad idea, but if you give us explicit orders we have to comply. You’re the one in control.
L - Loyalty A great realtor always has your best interest in mind. This point gives you a legal guarantee that we’ll never put anyone above you in our dealings, including ourselves. This is invaluable protection from dishonest realtors who might try to increase their own commission at cost to you.
D - Disclosure Anything we know or come to know regarding the sale is your right to know, and we’re legally obligated to tell you. No information can be kept from you, which keeps the power in your hands.
C - Confidentiality Your privacy is one of our utmost concerns. You’re also legally protected here -- we can’t share any information about you, the house, or the sale with anyone else, unless you give us permission.
A - Accounting The movement of money during the sale and financing of a house can be confusing. Luckily, not only are we happy to keep track of everything for you, we’re legally obligated to.
R - Reasonable Care Though open to legal interpretation, this requirement basically calls for professionalism in the handling of your affairs. A great realtor will always go above and beyond this standard, but you’re legally protected from negligence on the part of your agent.
As you can see, there are some serious legal advantages to hiring a licensed real estate agent. It’s important to note that these protections only apply to agents working for you. This is why it’s critical to hire your own trusted realtor and not rely on the other party’s agent.