Understanding How You Are Represented in a Real Estate Transaction

Understanding Ohio Real Estate Representation Laws

In Ohio, real estate licensees are bound by law to act as fiduciaries of their clients, prioritizing their clients' best interests. Fiduciary duties encompass various responsibilities, including:

  1. Exercising Reasonable Skill and Care: Licensees must demonstrate reasonable skill and care in representing their clients throughout the real estate transaction.

  2. Performance of Written Agency Agreement: It is crucial for licensees to fulfill the terms specified in any written agency agreement with their clients.

  3. Compliance with Lawful Instructions: Licensees are obligated to follow all lawful instructions provided by their clients during the course of the transaction.

  4. Adherence to Legal Requirements: Compliance with license laws, federal and Ohio fair housing laws, the Ohio landlord-tenant act, and other applicable statutes, rules, and regulations is mandatory.

  5. Disclosure of Material Facts: Licensees must disclose any material facts of the transaction that they are aware of or should be aware of, exercising reasonable skill and care.

  6. Advising on Expert Advice: Providing advice to clients to seek expert advice related to material matters when necessary or appropriate.

  7. Accounting for Money and Property: Timely and accurate accounting for all money and property received in which the client has an interest is a fundamental duty.

  8. Maintaining Confidentiality: Licensees must keep all confidential information confidential unless permitted to disclose it.

Duties of a Seller’s Agent:

In addition to the overarching fiduciary responsibilities, seller’s agents have specific duties to the seller, including:

  • Seeking offers at a price and with terms acceptable to the seller.
  • Timely presentation of offers to the seller.
  • Providing the seller with a copy of any agency disclosure form signed by the buyer before presenting an offer.

Seller’s agents are prohibited from offering subagency without the seller's knowledge and consent. However, they can show alternate properties to buyers and represent other sellers without breaching duties to the seller.

Duties of a Buyer’s Agent:

Buyer’s agents have distinct duties to their clients, which include:

  • Seeking a property at a price and with terms acceptable to the buyer.
  • Timely presentation of any offer or counteroffer to the listing agent.

Buyer’s agents are forbidden from offering subagency or accepting compensation from a seller’s agent without the buyer's knowledge and consent. However, they can show the same properties to other buyers and act as agents for other buyers or sellers, with dual agency relationships disclosed to the client.

In summary, understanding these fiduciary duties is crucial for both buyers and sellers in Ohio's real estate transactions. For more detailed information, refer to Ohio REALTORS.

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