« Go Back

Legally speaking: Can you represent a buyer on property you used to have listed?

By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Services/Administration

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves whether an agent must disclose a previous agency relationship…

Q: I had a listing that expired a few months ago. The property is now listed with another broker. I just showed the property to a buyer that I represent and she wants to write an offer to purchase. How should I fill out the Agency Disclosure Statement? Do I have be a dual agent because I previously had the property listed?

A: No, you do not have to be a dual agent. When your listing expired and the seller did not re-list with you, your agency relationship with the seller terminated. Because you are no longer the seller’s agent you are free to represent the buyer only and should complete the Agency Disclosure Form to reflect that.

However, while you no longer represent the seller, under the license law you still have a continuing duty to maintain the confidentiality of any confidential information the seller shared with you during the listing. Confidential information obviously includes anything that the seller specifically told you was confidential, but also includes anything that would negatively impact the seller’s position if disclosed. An example of such confidential information would be a price the seller told you he would accept for his property or his reason for moving.

As a buyer’s agent, it is important for you tell the buyer about your prior relationship with the seller and to also explain that you are not permitted to disclose to the buyer any confidential information that the seller shared with you during the listing.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking