Answer: Thank you for thinking before you act, as it may help keep you out of hot water. Here are three legal and ethical issues you should address.
- Office policy. First, check with your broker or someone else in your office who has the power to speak on behalf of the company. Ask if there are any company-specific rules to follow when listing your property. Real estate companies have broad discretion to negotiate terms of your independent contractor agreement and can also create internal office policies, which is why you might find a wide variety of answers to this question.
- No brokerage relationship disclosure. When you work with members of the public, you typically have the choice to enter into a relationship as a single agent, transaction broker, or no brokerage relationship, all of which are described in detail in Section 475.278, Florida Statutes. However, if you find yourself working with an unrepresented buyer on this sale, you will likely need to give a no brokerage relationship disclosure, as a conservative measure. This makes sense if you consider that it would be impossible for you to comply with even the limited confidentiality required of a transaction broker, since you can’t keep a secret from yourself. To enter into a no brokerage relationship with a prospective buyer, you will need to give a written copy of the no brokerage relationship disclosure described in Section 475.278(4)(c) before showing the property. Florida Realtors offers a copy of this disclosure to its members as part of the Form Simplicity library.
- Code of Ethics, Article 4 disclosure. Since you are a Realtor Associate, you are also bound to follow the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors. Article 4 provides that when you sell property you own, or in which you have any interest, you must reveal your ownership or interest in writing to the buyer or the buyer’s representative before the signing of any contract. One easy way to comply with this provision is to insert a clause in the contract itself disclosing your ownership or interest.
Joel Maxson is Director of Member Legal Services
© 2016 Florida Realtors®
Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.