Here’s a fun fact, real estate agents in GA have no fiduciary responsibility to their client or customer. Some may ask, “what does that mean”? Well, the exact definition varies depending on the type of business, but in short a fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, putting their clients' interests ahead of their own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. Being a fiduciary thus requires being bound both legally and ethically to act in the other's best interests. Typical examples of fiduciaries are trustees, executors, and guardians.

Are Real Estate Agents in GA Fiduciaries?

In some states, but in Georgia real estate agents are not fiduciaries. They are of course expected to exercise reasonable skill and care in performing their duties under the Brokerage Relationship in Real Estate Transaction Act (BRETTA) as well as other duties agreed upon and set forth in the brokerage engagement. Unless a fiduciary relationship is specifically stated and acknowledged by both parties, one does not exist with either a client or customer. There is no reason for an agent to volunteer this.

Here is Seth Weissman, General Counsel to the GA Association of Realtors for over 25 years…

Does Your Real Estate Agent Represent Your Best Interests?

If that answer was consistently yes, some lawyers would be out of business. However, it is safe to say that most agents conduct themselves ethically, honestly and work to achieve the best results for their clients. It’s incumbent upon both buyers and sellers to do their part as well. It takes minutes to Google an agent; once those results come back, read them! Contact references, how experienced are they, who do they work for, how trustworthy and competent are they? It’s astonishing how many people fail to investigate who they hire.

Understand everything an agent presents for signature, have them fully explain the documents. Be careful of hidden fees, deposits, retainers, or other limitations. Do not hesitate to fire an agent that arouses concern or demonstrates worrisome behavior. For some reason, people think they are welded to a subpar agent. Fire them!

NEVER EVER allow dual agency. That is the best way to open the door to trouble. Sellers want as much as possible for a home, buyers want the least. Why would anyone agree to letting one agent handle the transaction? Especially the buyer – since they typically do not pay for representation. That agent is simply looking to collect both side of the commission, they win, no one else. That is the singularly dumbest move to make, especially for buyers. The double dumb move is failing to use an agent when buying a new home, that's playing with matches and gasoline.

As with most other things, the key is preparation. Understand the real estate process, thoroughly vet any agent under consideration and ask questions. Experience and professionalism matter and usually result in a smoother, more efficient transaction.  


The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and info@hmtatlanta.com

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This article offers excellent advice on working with a licensed real estate agent and ensuring that they truly represent your best interests throughout the home buying or selling process. The author rightly emphasizes the importance of thorough research, vetting potential agents' experience, competence, and trustworthiness, and understanding all documents and fees involved.

Posted by Erwin Josh on Sunday, May 26th, 2024 at 11:44am

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