What Minimum Services Are Required of You in a Real Estate Transaction?

The Real Estate License Act contains provisions that impose requirements on all brokers and agents regarding client communications and negotiations. At a minimum, brokers or agents must …

  1. inform their client if they receive material information related to the transaction
  2. answer their client’s questions
  3. present any offer to or from their client.

These duties exist regardless of the agreed-upon compensation payable to the broker. Agents cannot avoid these requirements by removing themselves from negotiations. The minimum-services provisions also prohibit a seller’s agent from instructing a buyer’s agent to negotiate directly with the represented seller. Likewise, a buyer’s agent is prohibited from instructing a seller’s agent to negotiate directly with the represented buyer.

There are certain circumstances in which an agent may deliver an offer to a represented party without violating the Real Estate License Act, but the agent must have the other broker’s consent to the delivery and send him a copy of the offer. At no time may the agent cross the boundary into negotiations with the represented party.

If seller’s brokers aren’t fulfilling the minimum duties required of them, there’s not much you can do in the short-term. You have a fiduciary duty to look after your client’s best interests; however, you may not interfere with the other broker’s agency relationship or do anything to prevent the transaction from closing. Continue to make every effort to contact the seller’s broker to discuss your concerns, and keep a record of your communications.

If you believe the seller’s broker violated any rules or the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, you may take steps to file a complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission or Texas REALTORS®.

If you believe that you deserve an additional fee, you may seek compensation through arbitration or other legally available means after the transaction closes.