Are You Divulging Personal Information About Your Client?

By
Real Estate Agent with Liberty Homes RS-#62825

Time and time again, I will receive an offer accompanied by a cover letter on why the seller should accept this particular buyer’s offer. It will usually be a well thought out and detailed background on the buyer in hopes it will give the seller a history on the buyer in hopes of being accepted. For example, I’ve received cover letters stating everything from being disabled to how the couple met, being pregnant and how the pregnancy has been a complicated one!

ARE YOU ALLOWED TO DIVULGE YOUR CLIENT’S PERSONAL INFORMATION?

There are also times when an agent ‘tells all’ and  I didn’t even ask why the seller is selling their home!  I’ve had many instances of the agent telling me to tell my buyer how ‘desperate’ the seller is to sell their home so bring in an offer.  They’re getting divorced because the husband/wife cheated and they need to sell the home asap!

Remember, it can not only hurt your client’s transaction but put your license in jeopardy for divulging personal information that your client did not allow you to!   Your client’s testimonial should also be signed by the client allowing the use of their testimonial in a public forum.

Personal information is just that.

It’s personal and confidential.

Fiduciary Responsibility.

Posted by

                                                       

 

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.

 

 © 2007-2015 Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's

Hawaii Real Estate and Relocation Blog.

All rights reserved.

     

 


 

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
Real Estate Best Practices
Groups:
Realtors®
Hawaii Real Estate Professionals
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
"Whacked"!!!
Bananatude
Tags:
realtor code of ethics
personal information
fiduciary duty
home buyers and sellers

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
479,807
Drick Ward Property Management / Broker Assoc
NEPTUNE REALTY - Virginia Beach, VA
"RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation

Thanks for the post!

Sep 22, 2013 10:47 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,388,737
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Sally, confidentiality is one of our fiduciary duties to our clients unless our client gives permission to divulge such information. I believe this is also a case where the agents get emotionally involved with their clients and without thinking, may divulge personal information.

Sep 22, 2013 11:03 PM #31
Ambassador
1,614,350
Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

It is best to be a listing agent and not a talk show host when it comes to real estate.

Sep 22, 2013 11:26 PM #32
Ambassador
768,033
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Sally some people just talk to much and can't help it.  As for the letter, I never understood why people submit these letters in the first place.  As a seller, all would want tol know is "are they financially qualified to buy the house."  PERIOD.  Everything else is just idle chatter.

Sep 22, 2013 11:30 PM #33
Rainmaker
2,504,009
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

it is a fine line but should be thought out properly...An agent wants to help...but go slow here

Sep 23, 2013 12:08 AM #34
Ambassador
1,726,324
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

Interestingly enough in GA the default is that we may revel anything the seller tells us unless specifically told not to do so.

Sep 23, 2013 12:35 AM #35
Rainer
22,342
Thana Mayes
HomeXpress Realty Inc - Riverview, FL

I guess people become to trusting in other and figure it might help.  Sometimes they forget who they are talking to and the information mistakenly comes out.  I could only imagine how upset a client would be if they new the diservice you are doing.

 

I come across this in the 55+ communities!

 

 

Sep 23, 2013 12:39 AM #36
Rainer
173,031
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

I've seen it and I've done it.  Most times it's becasue the buyer has asked you to convey their personal circumstances to the seller.

Sep 23, 2013 01:21 AM #37
Rainmaker
1,578,860
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Whew, Sally.  Too much is definitely too much.  I don't mind a little fluffy stuff, but that's plenty for me and my clients. 

Sep 23, 2013 01:35 AM #38
Rainer
152,569
Gail Smith
Leesburg, FL

and here I thought we were ethics bound to keep our mouths shut about personal information unless we are told to or asked to divulge certain information. If someone wants to know anything about another person, just bribe someone at the NSA

Sep 23, 2013 02:15 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,330,308
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Such an important post...needs to be a perpetual featured one!   Well said.

Sep 23, 2013 02:33 AM #40
Ambassador
1,091,324
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE

Bottom line, when in doubt....ASK!  I know of one company here that I presdume demands their agents have a cover letter accompanying all offers. I'm 'assuming' that they have the buyer/seller sign off that they gave permission to do so. I often thought....wow...they just couldn't have allowed this....the detailed information was so out of this world to have allowed. WHAT WOULD YOUR CLIENT THINK IF THEY SAW THEIR WHOLE LIFE STORY SPILLED OUT FOR THE SAKE OF AN OFFER?  I have seen one agent who changed companies at least 5 times in the course of the last 10 years write these detailed cover letters for buyers...spill the beans on the seller's circumstances... It's such a small island...

Sep 23, 2013 03:10 AM #41
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

@Jilll #26,

We are in the people business!

Since almost all deals are about the money, people, Agents, Buyers and Sellers forget that it's not always about the money!

I think so much about what we're discussing is because the offer isn't presented and negotiated it's faxed in like a blind auction!

The best lession I ever had came from the old Farm and Land Instute "Sovel the People problem!" That's nearly impossable with a fax machine in the way.

Bill

Sep 23, 2013 03:31 AM #42
Rainmaker
452,749
Kelly Young
The Platinum Group Realtors - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126

Here in Colorado our contracts on our buyers agency agreements speak to this very issue and it has to be checked yes or no.  What I have done at times is have the buyer write a letter to the seller and have that presented with the offer as to why they are buying the house and what the love.  A little bit different twist but takes any of that fiduciary out of the situation.

Sep 23, 2013 04:42 AM #43
Rainmaker
1,502,963
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Some buyers/tenant write such personal letters and I see nothing wrong in attaching a personal letter to an offer. Some stories are really difficult to read, you are right.....too much personal, but if they want to disclose some information of their past~ it is their decision. And, yes, it helps( often helps in tenant applications to explain a low credit or hardship in short sales)

Sep 23, 2013 08:20 AM #44
Ambassador
1,091,324
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE

Inna: This is more about agents that write the letter "FOR" the client ...and the client never authorized releasing such personal information. It's also about the seller...who never authorized the listing agent to 'tell all' about why they are moving and selling the home.

Getting authorization or having the buyer/seller give their own statement about why they are selling or why they are buying is key here.

Sep 23, 2013 09:14 AM #45
Rainmaker
1,080,029
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Sally, it's important to keep your cards close to the chest in negotiations. Personal reasons for selling are not the business of the buyer, especially if it's a divorce, etc. But some people just can't keep their mouth shut. I ask buyers to write their own letter - it's more meaningful that way.

Sep 23, 2013 10:11 AM #46
Ambassador
1,091,324
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE

Sharon:  FOR SURE!  Writing 'for' them just opens up a can of worms.

Sep 25, 2013 04:44 AM #47
Ambassador
2,301,090
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK
I am very very careful to not divulge information about my clients for the obvious reasons that you state. Very good post.
Sep 29, 2013 11:03 AM #49
Rainmaker
1,171,937
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I was fired by a client once for divulging in an email which building they were moving to on the same street.  Lease to lease.  One was to the landlord who they had given as a reference and the other was to tenants who I had gotten to release them from the lease and who would have been collecting their mail. Learned my lesson big time. No, it isn't O.K. unless given express permission.

Sep 29, 2013 12:18 PM #50
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Ambassador
1,091,324

Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman

(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
SELLING OR BUYING OAHU HAWAII RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY?
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information