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Buyers: Let’s talk about real estate agents

Like any good sales people, real estate agents work hard to build trust with buyers, and will often invest many hours in identifying properties of interest to you, even driving you from one to another.

This is all for the good, so long as you remember that your friendly agent is being paid by the seller  – not you  – and as such owes his/her client (the seller) a contractual and moral duty to obtain the highest price possible.

Code of conduct

Most agents are ethical and will make every effort to ensure that they do not mislead you.  Their conduct is regulated by the Real Estate and Business Agents Act 1978 (WA) and the REBA Act Code of Conduct 2016.  Amongst other things, the Code requires agents to:

  • act fairly, honestly and not knowingly mislead or deceive any parties in negotiations or a transaction;
  • communicate all written offers to the seller as soon as practicable;
  • disclose in writing any significant relationship he/she may have with a settlement agent, finance broker or other supplier that he/she recommends to a party to a transaction and explain any potential conflict that might arise.

Do your own homework

Make thorough enquiries about the property before you sign a contract – our plain-English Legal Guide has useful checklists.  Think critically and carefully about any information the real estate gives to you.  Seek legal advice on the real estate agent’s draft contract before you sign it.

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