How to Tell if You Can Trust Your Realtor®

The real estate industry draws a wide variety of people into its profession. It is part of what makes it a welcoming industry for people who want a career change, or who possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Here at Sparrow Realty Group our team is comprised of a former minister, missionary, Apple employee, and teacher. However, there are several universal traits you can look for in a trustworthy real estate agent.

Are They Brutally Honest?

“When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.”
– Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice of the Nat’l Assoc. of REALTORS® – Article 1

An honest agent is upfront with their clients, even if it costs them the sale. Realtor Ingrid Dodd recently went to an inspection for a client who couldn’t make it. Early on in the inspection she noticed that the property’s proximity to the airport meant hearing loud planes during certain times of the day. This wasn’t in property disclosures, and after the inspection Ingrid made sure the client knew the reality of the noise level. The client went to the property to hear for herself, and decided to go ahead with the sale, but she was well-informed about the property she was about to purchase.

Do They Do What You Ask?

“When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.”
– Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice of the Nat’l Assoc. of REALTORS® – Article 1

As the client you are the Realtor’s main priority in any real estate transaction. They’re obliged to deal with everyone involved honestly, but your interests are most important to them. Do they listen to what you’re looking for? Do they advise you realistically when it comes to your budget and negotiations? Do they follow through with your requests?

How Do They Handle Money?

“REALTORS® shall keep in a special account in an appropriate financial institution, separated from their own funds, monies coming into their possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, trust funds, clients’ monies, and other like items.”
– Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice of the Nat’l Assoc. of REALTORS® – Article 8

Is your agent serious with your money? Property managers must keep accounts separate, and carefully secure deposits. Sparrow Property Management has about 80 rentals – it requires meticulous organization and book-keeping to ensure the financial safety of our tenants and our owners. If you’re a buyer, your earnest money is in the hands of your Realtor. Take time to notice how your agent handles money, and be aware of delays or apathetic attitudes regarding finances.

Are Your Rights, Safety, and Health Considered?

“REALTORS® shall, consistent with the terms and conditions of their real estate licensure and their property management agreement, competently manage the property of clients with due regard for the rights, safety and health of tenants and others lawfully on the premises.”
– Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice of the Nat’l Assoc. of REALTORS® – Article 1

Recently when renting out an upstairs condo unit, our soon-to-be tenants noticed the unit smelled heavily of tobacco smoke on the day of walk-through after they had signed the lease. The downstairs neighbor’s smoking had infiltrated the ventilation. We released the tenants from the lease due to the potential hazard to their health. After some brainstorming with the owner, we fixed the situation, and made the unit safe and clean for living. We treat all clients and tenants with care, and aim to provide safe, clean, repaired, and affordable housing. Real estate agents serve clients without discrimination in regards to their race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

There is more information about the rights of tenants contained in the Florida Landlord Tenant Act – you can read it here.

Are Their Estimates Conservative?

“REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.”
– Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice of the Nat’l Assoc. of REALTORS® – Article 1

Whenever entering into a rental or sale listing, conservative agents provide accurate and scrupulous market analyses and listing prices. Again this could mean they lose the listing, but they are upfront and realistic with their client about what they can get for a house or rent. Does your agent present you with comps that closely match your house and neighborhood? Do they express that conservative estimates are important to them? Have they fully explained the sale process and how to effectively price your home?

Looking out for these qualities will lead you to a trustworthy agent. You can view the entire Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS® here.

We’ve taken an Ethics Pledge with the National Ethics Association. View our profile on their website here.