Buying or Selling on Your Own Account
Q: I am a REALTOR® and I’m buying a new house. Do I need to tell the seller that I am a REALTOR®?
A: Yes. When buying on your own account, Article 4 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires you to disclose your true position to the owner or the owner’s agent or broker. Article 4 also applies when you are presenting offers from any member of your immediate family (including, but not limited to, your spouse and your and your spouse’s siblings, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren), your firm or any member thereof, or any entity in which they an ownership interest. While you may choose to initially make a verbal disclosure, ultimately, the Code requires you to make the disclosure in writing prior to the signing of any contract (see Standard of Practice 4-1). You should also indicate that you are a licensed real estate agent/broker/salesperson, as the term REALTOR® is not a synonym for “real estate agent,” “broker” or “salesperson” (REALTOR® is a trademarked term that denotes your membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and your pledge to abide by the Code). If the property is listed in the MLS and your firm participates in the MLS, the MLS rules likely require you to disclose in writing your contemplated interest to the listing broker not later than the time an offer to purchase is submitted to the listing broker. Check with the MLS for its exact rule. Note that there are similar ethical disclosure obligations and MLS rules when you sell property that you own or in which you have any interest. In fact, the MLS rule in that case likely requires disclosure at the time you file the listing with the MLS and that such information be disseminated to all MLS participants. Finally, remember that when acting as a principal (seller or buyer) in a real estate transaction, you remain obligated throughout the transaction not only by the duties imposed by the Code (see Article 1), but also by the duties imposed under the NC licensing law and the Commission’s rules and regulations (N.C. Gen. Stats. Section 93A-6(b)(3)).
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