Does Your Buyer Agent Keep Your Information Confidential?

Real Estate Agent with Buyers Brokers Only LLC - MA Broker Lic 148149

It should go without saying....a buyer's agent owes a fiduciary duty to his or her client at all times.  That means that the agent should be acting in his or her client's best interests at all times.  Among other things, the buyers confidential information should remain confidential....until or unless the Buyer authorizes the agent to disclose it.

A listng agent or a seller's agent owes the same duty to their seller.  

That's why there are some things I generally do not ask a listing agent - among them is "why is the Seller selling the house?"  I don't ask because the answers I get or expect to get range from "It's none of your business" to an outright lie as to why they are selling.  Bottom line, unless the Seller has told their agent to disclose the reason for the sale, then the agent should not be disclosing it.

So, it baffles me as to why I have run into a string of listing agents asking me to disclose information about my buyers......BEFORE WE HAD EVEN SEEN THE HOUSE.


a buyers agent should keep your information confidentialLast week and this week, I had a  number of agents ask me some or all of the following:


Tell me about your buyers......

What is your buyer's price range......

What are your buyers looking for in a house.....


All of these (and more) were asked while I was merely trying to set up the showing!  I brushed off the questions with some stock answers like:


I've worked with these buyers for a while and this house falls within what they are looking for and within their price range.

They're looking for a house in this town in this price range.

They're preapproved to buy a house in this price range.


The responses I recieved back ranged from offended to surprised.  They could not believe that I was not going to hand over that information and even worse did not understand why I would not.  Ultimately I assured them that I knew what my clients wanted but that I generally did not disclose that information about them. 

Unfortunately, there may be some buyer agents who have not done their homework with their clients.  And, there may be even more who will disclose their client's information at the drop of a hat.

Not this one.  For exclusive 100% conflict-free buyer representation in the the Norfolk County area, contact your Canton MA Buyer Broker.


And listing agents......remember that you represent the seller and I represent the buyer.  I don't expect you to break your fiduciary duty to your seller so please do not ask me to break mine.



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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Praful Thakkar 02/16/2014 03:46 PM
Home Buying
Massachusetts Norfolk County Canton Canton Ma
1st Time Buyers
Exclusive Buyer's Agents (EBAs)
Buyer Information - What Buyers Need to Know in Today's Market
Advice for Buyers
Bartender, Make it a Double
exclusive buyer agent
fiduciary duty
canton ma buyer broker
buyer broker in norfolk county

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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Christine - -this is a great way to handle those types of questions about the buyers. 

Feb 16, 2014 10:52 AM #9
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I save the Buyers info for the offer Christine. To much pre-info could lead to discrimination or the appearance of such...  

Feb 16, 2014 12:31 PM #10
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Without confidentiality? It's never an option. Integrity is everything to any business and confidentiality has to do with trusting that business associate. Love and light, Laura
Feb 16, 2014 01:10 PM #11
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I'm very closed-mouthed about my clients be they buyers or sellers. But I've often been amazed that when I start asking questions what the other agent will tell me about their client.

Feb 16, 2014 08:29 PM #12
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA


Margaret...I have seen this on high-end listings - wanting to see a preapproval first.  These were not high end listings - nor was that requirement in the MLS instructions.

Susan...many agents do not understand the distinction and some think we're both working on the same side to put a deal together.  I have no trouble putting a deal together but my clients come first.

Barbara....that's pretty much all they need to know.

Thank you Joan!

Paul....exactly right.... that information need not be disclosed until the offer.

Laura...integrity is the most important quality. is amazing...sometimes I have agents disclose all kinds of things before I even ask!

Feb 16, 2014 08:54 PM #13
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Christine, I will tell you that many agents do this because of the lack of qualifying buyers...most of my sellers will NOT let buyers into their homes unless they know their agent has had them see a mortgage lender.  Sometimes there is a good reason for that question...but...anybody that knows your reputation would not question you IMHO!!

Feb 16, 2014 09:31 PM #14
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Christine, I agree! An agent's fiduciary responsibility means to keep all confidential information to themselves. Good responses.

Feb 16, 2014 09:40 PM #15
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I remember a judge instructing a jury not to talk with anyone regarding a matter and if anyone talks with them to report it immediately...I said good morning to a juror in the elevator only to be accused by her in open court of talking to her. The judge said..mam, was anything discussed about the case? NO...Well its okay for someone to greet you...POINT: Certain things can be discussed relevant to exploring a deal...Yes?

Feb 16, 2014 10:03 PM #16
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

I can't believe those questions were brought up at all - when simply making a showing appointment!

Feb 16, 2014 10:04 PM #17
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I am always amazed when people give information to us without us ever asking for it.  Information that harms their clients position.  And no, my agents are diligent in their protection of our client's information.

Feb 16, 2014 10:42 PM #18
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Once you get in the habit of replying with something suitably evasive, it becomes much easier to deal with these questions. Agents should know better to ask them, but you probably can't stop other agents from trying to wring out any information that might help their clients.

Feb 16, 2014 10:59 PM #19
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Christine, It's always amazing to me how many agents will totally spill the beans on their clients without even being directly asked.

Feb 17, 2014 12:26 AM #20
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training

So many people post lots of personal information on social media websites.  Once either party in a deal knows the name of the other party, either party can do a social media search or Google search and often find lots of info.

Feb 17, 2014 12:45 AM #21
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Ginny....If they want to make sure buyers are preapproved they should put in the listing that a preapproval is required to show, in which case I will gladly provide one for the list price. In one of these cases, they actually asked me if they were preapproval for more than list price. 

Thank you Michael. 

Richie...these questions were asked when I was merely trying to schedule a showing. Sure we can have discussions if my client is interested and at that time I will disclose what my clients and I think upis bebpneficial and necessary to the transaction. 

Carol....yup....just making appointments. 

Tammy...i was amazed that they didn't get why I didn't hand over all the information. 

Eric...i cannot stop them but in some cases it was making it extremely difficult to show the house. Not sure it benefits their seller. happens all the time!'s true. Social media posts should be private or better yet keep mum until the deal is closed. 

Feb 17, 2014 01:34 AM #22
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This is so common.  It is amazing to me that so many agents try to get information about my client, whether they are a buyer or a seller.  When I respond in a generic way, it is met with sarcasm.  I don't get it.  I guess that very few agents keep their clients best interests in mind.  Thank you for sharing.

Feb 17, 2014 05:55 AM #23
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

I DO ask the listing agent questions that they should not respond to.  If they don't want to blab, no problem...but I find that most will tell me things that I pass along to the homebuyers that I represent.

The listing agent can ask me anything they want to...sometime they are just trying to get info for their seller, so they look good; other times they want to make sure that they are not wasting time making arrangements for unqualified buyer...I get it.  There is a lot of agents that do NOT prequalify their buyers.

A simple question does not mean that you have to spill the beans. A good agent knows when to keep their mouth shut.

Eve in Orlando

Feb 17, 2014 06:44 AM #24
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA was their response that really got me...they couldn't believe I wasn't going to answer.

Eve...yes, they can ask what they want & I may do the same but usually at the point that we have some interest in the house....not at the point when I am merely trying to set up a showing!  I generally don't ask why the house is being sold - more often than not I don't get the truth.  But, those who are willing to blab that information usually do so without me even asking the question.  

Feb 17, 2014 07:18 AM #25
Aaron Hofmann
Atlanta Communities - Smyrna, GA
aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings

You can't get offended by an agent asking. They're doing their best to represent their client. If you choose to divulge information that hurts their negotiating position, then the listing agent did their job.

Feb 18, 2014 05:33 AM #26
John Owen
Right at Home Realty Inc., Brokerage - Oshawa, ON
Broker serving Durham Region, Ontario

Christine, yes it's surprising to see how many continue to press when you have made it clear that you won't divulge details, but I have to agree with Aaron as well.

Feb 18, 2014 05:40 AM #27
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Aaron...I wasn't offended but it was a little much to be asking these questions at the time I was merely trying to set up an appointment.  If my clients had been interested then I would have understood.  The ones who were offended were the listing agents who could not seem to wrap their heads around the fact that I wasn't going to answer them.

John...yes...but at the time of calling to make an appointment is just a bit much.

Feb 18, 2014 06:09 AM #28
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