The 4-D's in Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN TN License# 00232013


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Original content by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED Inactive License Oregon

The 4-D's in Real Estate


In a comment I left on Susan Haughton's recent post,

It Couldn't Be More Clear, I Do Not Represent You,

I mentioned the 4-D's of real estate, which I use in my daily practice.

I was inspired to write an article about the 4-D's . . . so, without further, or much ado, here are the 4-D's in real estate:


Disclose:    This is the Cardinal Rule of Real Estate: DISCLOSE.  So for that reason, it's placed in the No. 1 slot on the 4-D's in real estate.  Here are a few disclosures:

  • Condition of the property
  • Agency relationship
  • FSBO listings -- how to handle them with buyer clients 
  • How compensation is made to the broker both in listing, and in selling
  • Federal, state and local
  • Market conditions
  • Terms and conditions of a purchase and sale contract
  • and more . . . and so much more . . . OMIGOSH, there is so much more

NOTE:  When a bonafide fiduciary relationship is created between agent and client (under a listing agreement or a buyer rep agreement) FULL DISCLOSURE to the principal becomes the real estate agent's fiduciary duty!  

Here's a dose of enlightment:


Real estate agents have no agency relationship DUTIES to consumers


Real estate agent have no agency relationship DUTIES to the general public


Real estate agents have no agency relationship DUTIES to anyone self-representing


NOTE:  Disclosure is also made within the contractual forms, "disclosure" pamphlets, etc. that we may use in our real estate practice.  Disclosure can take many forms, literally and figuratively.  Real estate agents need to keep current on disclosures and what that may mean to principals, and non-principals, alike.


NOTE:  Disclosure isn't always found in forms, contracts, etc.  Disclosure can be made when we advice the client / potential client, AKA customer / general public how we practice real estate. Disclosure can be made individually and on an individual basis.


Discuss:  The discussion is second and makes sense to the 4-D progression.  Once the real estate agent has disclosed whatever it is they need to be disclosing, then the 2nd D occurs.

DISCUSS!  If you notice you cant' spell the word "discuss" without "US".

Now is the time to include the principal, the client, the customer, the consumer -- whomever -- into the conversation!  Get them involved.  Get their resolve!

Discussion should not be a one-sided event, in other words.  And the time for discussion is after the disclosure is made.


Decide:  It's not up to us to decide.  Although you can't spell the word "decide" without the "I" -- it's not the real estate agent's decision.  It's the clients who will decide.  It's the principals who will decide.  It may be the consumer who decides to list.  It may be the client who decides what the purchase price they will offer, etc.

Under contract, either a listing agreement or a buyer's rep agreement, we are under FIDUCIARY DUTY to act in the best interests of . . . ourselves?

Yeah, that's the sure fire way to get a code of ethics complaint filed.


After disclosure is made, when discussion has occured . . . then it's up to someone other than ourself to make that great decide

NOTE:  Real estate agents can make decesions, don't get me wrong.  We can decide not to take a listing.  We can decide not to work with a particular buyer . . . if we are in compliant with fair housing rules.  

When we are under a contract, then it becomes our fiduciary duty to represent the client.  To serve their needs and to place their best interests above our own.  And under contract (either a listing contract, or a buyer rep agreement) is when our clients make the decisions, and it's our duty to OBEY.  And yes, "obey" is a fiduciary duty of the real estate agent.  The decisions made are done by the principals, by the clients . . . and we can only disclose and discuss -- but the client decides.


Document:  Documentation is so very important.  And how you document the decisions your clients make, after disclosure, discussion and decision is predicated by what is actually decided.

  • Reduction is list price
  • "Limited" Agency 
  • Addenda
  • Purchase and sales contract
  • and more . . . so much more . . . OMIGOSH so much more.


For those who think real estate is easy . . . think again!

However, knowing the 4-D's should help you in your real estate practice.


Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results


Representing Buyers in the Portland Metro Real Estate Market | Clackamas Multnomah and Washington Counties | Since 1999

Carla Muss-Jacobs, REALTOR®, ABR, CEBA, ePro
Principal Broker/Owner

Direct: 503-810-7192 | |

Buyer Questionnaire

100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time

Isn't it time you had your own Exclusive Buyers Agent?


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Posted by

Fred Cope, Reliant Realty, Nashville, TN -- (615) 587-3500 -- --30 years experience in real estate and finance

Comments (11)

Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Conroe/Willis, TX

Great information and I agree 100%.  Thanks for reblogging, otherwise I would have missed this one!

Jan 17, 2016 12:04 PM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Brenda, let Carla know-- she did the heavy lifting/thinking.  She is a good one to follow.

Jan 17, 2016 12:07 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

spent the day babysitting and might have missed this if not for your reblog of it.

Jan 17, 2016 01:30 PM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Hi Tammy, busy times and that is good.  I do think Carla has done more than just write a post.  My youngest daughter recently became a REALTOR®, and she has a verocious appetite for such knowledge.  Her sister and family have just moved to Amelia Island, Florida, so she is tapping mom for child care services: "Mom, can you pick the boys up after school?", etc.  Remember those days?


I hope all goes well with you....

Jan 19, 2016 07:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I have to thank you for sharing this post by Carla, who I respect a great deal. I didn't see this post before but off to read. Thanks


Mar 13, 2016 01:32 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Fred - this is such a well thought out blog.  I will go to Carla and thank her.

Apr 20, 2016 03:53 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Great advice and great choice of reblog!  So glad you shared it.

May 30, 2016 11:22 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Great post and I have missed this one from our friend   @Carla Muss-Jacobs and it is indeed important about the D's personally Disclosure & Documenting is my favorites, Endre


Jun 07, 2016 04:24 PM
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Fred, I am missing your posts and comments here on Activerain!

Dec 28, 2017 03:24 PM
Bo Zivak
Zivak Realty Group - Nashville, TN
Nashville Real Estate Broker

Thanks for reblogging, I'd like to follow you and maybe you'd like to follow me, so we will have real estate information from each other.

Oct 21, 2022 01:16 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

This is amazing! I've never heard of the 4 D's and appreciate this article. Thanks so much for sharing. I'll definitely keep this in my toolbox.

Nov 20, 2023 07:26 PM