Do I have to tell the seller that I’m related to the buyer?

Translate this page
Two woman and one man talking in a small group looking at a piece of paper together

01/09/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

My sister is looking for a new home, and I'm acting as her buyer's agent. Am I required by TREC rules or the Code of Ethics to disclose to the seller that the buyer is my sister?

Yes. Article 4 of the Code of Ethics requires that you disclose to the seller or the seller’s agent your true position when acquiring any ownership interest in property or presenting offers for yourself, any member of your immediate family (which includes siblings), members of your firm, or any entities in which you have any ownership interest.

In addition, when you are selling property you own or in which you have an interest, the Code of Ethics requires you to reveal your ownership or interest to the buyer or buyer’s agent in writing.

These disclosures are required to be in writing prior to the signing of any contract.

TREC rules only require that you disclose your licensee status in writing to a seller when you are acquiring property on your own behalf, on behalf of a business entity in which you own more than 10%, or on behalf of your spouse, parent, or child.

It is probably a good idea to disclose your relationship with any principal to the other party to a transaction even if such a disclosure is not required by TREC or the Code of Ethics. Disclosure can help eliminate complaints or criticism and can increase respect for REALTORS®.

Read more legal FAQs on

Categories: Ethics, Legal
Tags: legal, legal faq, ethics, disclosure


Heather Marquis on 10/20/2015

Is there a form to disclose this information, representing a relative?

Shawn Trejo on 01/16/2015

How do commissions factor into the deal when it comes to the purchase of non-MLS property by a licensed agent for him/herself, such as new construction homes built by a developer who openly advertises realtor commissions and bonuses. If you openly mention that you are an agent in the market for your family’s new home, how are these issues handled typically?

John M. Schreiber on 01/16/2015

It all goes back to CYA you can never have too much. So it takes a few more minutes to disclose a pobbible relationship but it could save you many hours and many dollars trying to defend yourself later.

Steve Crossland on 01/15/2015

Charlie makes a good point. Some of the Ethics/Disclosure rules are from a bygone era. Still, I’m listing/selling my mother’s home at present, and I made sure to make sure that the other agent knows the seller is my mom through both the “Familial Relation” field in the MLS listing and by putting it in writing.

But I’m also under contract for my cousin’s house, which I’ve listed. These are 2nd cousins on my wife’s side, so in-laws not actually blood related to me. And it’s an estate sale. I haven’t “disclosed” that the deceased seller is my wife’s cousin and that the heirs are her 2nd cousin. If I’m supposed to, then god help us all. That would really be overkill wouldn’t it?


kellie j on 01/09/2015

what about step families? If a realtor represents their step family member as the buyers agent, is it still required?

Charlie Still on 01/09/2015

I know about this rule, but in the day & age of buyers and sellers having their own representation it seems unnecessary.  The principal I represent should know about any such conflicts I may have, but the other party already knows I represent the buyer/seller and am entirely representing the other side not them.  So where’s the confusion.  The one exception I do agree with is absolute disclosure if I am personally involved as a party(or have ownership in a party) to the contract.  Still a good rule would be to understand that the Realtor representing the other party is not looking out for your best interests.

Leave a Comment

Read our commenting policy

advertise with us

Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

Advice for REALTORS®

5 apps that can keep you safe in—or before—a crisis

Is the eviction process different for manufactured homes?

3 places you can find free marketing content

Test your knowledge of loan programs available for Texas veterans


More advice for REALTORS®