In Georgia, the Brokerage Relationships in Real Estate Transactions Act (“BRRETA”) governs relationships between real estate brokerages and consumers. Ostensibly a consumer protection law, BRRETA actually allows brokerages and their agents to quietly engage in practices that benefit them at the expense of their homebuyer and seller clients.
Traditional agency law requires an agent to represent a client to a fiduciary standard – a standard of absolute loyalty, confidentiality, accountability and disclosure. As a fiduciary, an agent must promote solely the client’s interests, avoiding any self-dealing and all conflicts of interests. BRRETA re-writes traditional agency law, stating that real estate brokerages DO NOT owe clients a fiduciary duty. BRRETA substitutes fiduciary agency with a limited list of duties owed to a client. Through omission from this list, BRRETA opens the door to profitable brokerage practices that conflict with the interests of unwary clients.
BRRETA does allow brokerages to commit to fiduciary (True Agency) representation; Sage does so in our form Listing Agreement and Buyer Agency Agreement. Effectively every other Atlanta brokerage, however, adopts non-fiduciary BRRETA agency representation, as reflected in the “standard” Listing Agreement and Buyer Agency Agreement that they have their clients sign.