If a current client of another REALTOR® asks you for a second opinion on general real estate practices, the Code of Ethics does not preclude you from offering one. Of course, you are not obligated to respond to such a request. If you do choose to offer your opinion, you should observe strict standards of professional integrity and provide objective, reliable information. In addition, the preamble of the Code of Ethics states that when offering such opinion, it should be “uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage or gain.”
Remember that it is a violation of Article 15 of the Code of Ethics to “knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.” Also keep in mind that Article 16 instructs that you “shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients.”
This is great advice. As a REALTOR and an Instructor for Legal Update 1 and 2 for the past several years, having any discussion with a current client of another REALTOR could easily be interpreted as interfering with an existing agency relationship. I always recommend getting our Broker involved before giving an opinion. I would also add to be careful in your wording for such a request. When we say, “I don’t think that is a problem, but you really should contact an attorney for advice”, chances are, the client only hears the first half of that sentence.
If the opinion requested touches on what another Agent’s behavior or what the Agent is doing (or not doing) then it is always good to remember that there is always at least TWO sides to every story. Try to stay neutral and if appropriate, encourage the Client to call their Agent’s Broker if something is not working out. I would tell them that the Broker will WANT to hear about it and most likely fix it.
Am thinking….what would I say if a client told me they wanted to hear another opinion and would like to contact another realtor. First of all, I guess would not be what I had wished to hear, however, in representing the client, I need to be able to have his confidence. I guess I would ask him what his concerns were specifically and then would try to explain or encourage him to talk to my Broker about the issue as his first “other realtor” choice and hope it would work. It is tricky. Always be respectful to client and any… Read more »
Last year, another Realtor gave our seller a CMA on our listing. Would this be considered an allowed second opinion or does it cross the line?
Personally I think it crossed the line. I have had agents give me a CMA but never to a seller. Some agents are real jerks.
I agree. It is best to refer the person back to their agent or the Broker on all matters of concern and any comment no matter how innocent can be considered as interfering with the Agency relationship.