Kendall Law has worked with a diverse array of real estate professionals and we have seen a varying levels of professionalism in the industry when handling cases and real estate matters.
As most professionals know, real estate transactions can be significant life events for the parties and involve substantial financial commitments and legal complexities. These can often become emotional for the parties involved which can make the experience more challenging.
We’re always happy to share best practices from the legal side and reinvest this experience into wisdom for our colleagues in the real estate profession.
The real estate industry has a set of standards that guide the behavior and interactions of real estate agents to ensure professionalism, transparency, and ethical conduct. Not only is this critical for the individual agents, realtors and other service providers in order to build trust with clients, but adhering to these standards is essential for maintaining the integrity of the industry at large.
In this article, we highlight industry best practices for real estate agents in California, with a focus on how positive client-agent relationships plays an important role in upholding the reputation of the profession.
Continuing Education and Licensing
All real estate agents in California must hold a valid real estate license issued by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). In order to keep a valid license, agents should commit to continuous education to stay up-to-date with changing laws, regulations, and market trends.
Integrity and Honesty
Real estate agents are held to a professional standard to provide accurate and honest information to clients. This includes disclosing material facts about properties, potential conflicts of interest, and any relevant details that could impact a client’s decision-making.
Agents must understand that they need to put their client’s best interests first, providing unbiased advice, and working diligently to achieve the client’s goals. Effective negotiations, advocating for fair deals, and maintaining confidentiality are some of the utmost important factors to best client representation.
Responsiveness and Communication
Most disappointments and disputes typically arise from communication issues. An agent should communicate effectively and frequently with their clients. Prompt responses and being proactive in communication with the clients rather than making them follow up with you is paramount in fostering a positive relationship. Clients want to be informed about the progress of transactions, and a responsible agent will also offer updates on any relevant market developments that could impact the client’s decisions.
Fair and Ethical Treatment
Above all, agents should treat all parties involved in a transaction fairly and ethically, regardless of their background or circumstances. Any act of discrimination, dishonesty or unethical behavior is strictly prohibited and could jeopardize the agent’s real estate license.
In order for clients to make clearly-informed decisions, they need accurate and complete information. It is the agent’s job to fully disclose all relevant details and information about properties, transactions, and potential risks to clients. Should something be missed on the agent’s part and not disclosed, this could lead to a dispute which could have a negative impact on the agent’s license.
Expertise and Competence
Beyond licensing and industry requirements, a successful real estate agent should put in the time to build a high level of competence and expertise in their field. This includes understanding local market conditions, real estate laws, contracts, and negotiation strategies. Learning from other professionals and peers in the industry can help supplement the agent’s knowledge and put them in a better position to serve their clients by having a more well-rounded understanding of the factors affecting real estate transactions and their client’s goals.
Conflicts of Interest
Agents should always be thinking about any potentiality for a conflict of interest that could compromise their ability to represent their clients fairly. If there is such a scenario, agents must have transparent disclosure of any potential conflicts and find a way to resolve this to protect their own professional reputation and if possible, offer an alternative solution for their clients.
Protecting Client Funds
Agents are ultimately responsible for properly handling client funds during the real estate transaction, adhering to all legal and ethical guidelines. Funds should be properly accounted for and promptly delivered to the appropriate parties per the terms of the real estate contract.
It may seem obvious, but it must be stated that professional conduct is essential at all times. Agents should dress appropriately, communicate respectfully, and maintain a high level of professionalism in all interactions with all parties involved, not just with their clients.
Commitment to a Positive Industry Reputation
California real estate agents are trusted intermediaries in real estate transactions, and thus play a critical role in helping clients navigate a complex and significant process. Not only is it a legal obligation to follow best practices and industry standards noted above, it is a commitment to uphold the reputation of the profession by delivering exceptional service and fostering transparent relationships. Everyone in a local market can feel the impact of a negative reputation or an agent not taking these best practices seriously. Real estate agents collectively contribute to a thriving and ethical real estate market in California, ensuring the best outcomes for their clients and the industry as a whole.
Looking to brush up on your knowledge of the latest laws and legal insights that affect your real estate practice? Contact the team at Kendall Law today or call 310-619-4941 to learn about the next continuing education opportunity or book Eileen to speak.
Please note that the information provided at this website is intended for general educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction.