Occasionally I speak to a potential client who is concerned about sharing their personal information as they enter into a real estate transaction. I am quick to point out that, as a Realtor©, my actions are governed not only by my own personal sense of obligation but also by two sets of rules.
I am a member of the Robertson County Association of Realtors, Tennessee Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. The Code of Ethics shared by these organizations specifies my duties to my clients. These include loyalty, confidentiality, disclosure, obedience, reasonable care and diligence, and accounting. Adherence to these rules is required or me to continue as a member of these organizations and my ability to use the title of Realtor. You can read more about the Code of Ethics on the NAR web site.
In order to work as a real estate agent in the State of Tennessee, I am required to maintain continuing education to keep my state-issued license. My livelihood is dependent on following state regulations regarding confidentiality. As a licensee I can be fined and/or have my license revoked for violation of these regulations which include the following obligation:
Maintain for each party to a transaction the confidentiality of any information obtained by a licensee prior to disclosure to all parties of a written agency or subagency agreement entered into by the licensee to represent either or both of the parties in a transaction. This duty of confidentiality extends to any information which the party would reasonably expect to be held in confidence, except for information which the party has authorized for disclosure, information required to be disclosed under this part, and information otherwise required to be disclosed pursuant to this chapter. This duty survives both the subsequent establishment of an agency relationship and the closing of the transaction
As you can read above, my responsibility for confidentiality continues indefinitely after the completion of a real estate transaction.
Some people are particularly hesitant to share their personal financial information. While there are some aspects of your financial situation that can help me serve you best, the specifics of your income and debt will only be required by your mortgage lender and need not be revealed to anyone else.
Don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your real estate plans. I am always happy to provide information to prospective clients to help ease their concerns with this very important type of transaction.