By John Stemlar, Sage Real Estate Advisors
A fiduciary is someone legally committed to act solely in the interest of a client; the relationship demands uncompromised loyalty, disclosure, accounting, and confidentiality. A fiduciary is bound to promote and protect the client’s interests, avoiding any self-dealing and all conflicts of interest. As a home buyer or seller, you expect your agent to be 100% in your corner – to represent your interests to a fiduciary standard. While it is commonly-assumed that real estate brokerages and their agents owe their clients a fiduciary duty, in Georgia, nothing is further from the truth.
Georgia’s brokerage law (known as BRRETA) governs the relationship between real estate brokerages and their clients. BRRETA specifically states that the brokerage-client relationship is NOT fiduciary; it imposes upon brokerages and their agents only handful of specified, but watered-down client duties. Void of the fiduciary standard, the law permits brokerage to engage in profitable practices that conflict with the interests of their typically unwary clients. Brokerages are free to adopt fiduciary representation (and Sage does); however, the form Listing Agreement and Buyer Agency Agreement, used by virtually all Atlanta brokerages (Sage being the exception), incorporates the non-fiduciary BRRETA standard. Unless Sage is your brokerage, you can be sure that your agent DOES NOT represent your interests to a fiduciary standard.
Sage is the only full-service Atlanta brokerage that adopts fiduciary client representation; we call this standard True Agency. Sage rejects the self-serving agent practices and conflicts of interest routinely engaged in by other brokerages. Our core belief is that competent, professional and ethical real estate service can be delivered only in a fiduciary relationship.
See examples of self-serving, conflicted agent practices that are permitted under BRRETA and quietly engaged in by other Atlanta brokerages.