My New Outside Blog: Can You Share Things Learned on a Listing Appointment?

Can You Share Things Learned on a Listing Appointment?


When visiting with sellers on a listing appointment there often is confidential information shared.   There is an interaction of information exchanged from the value of the home to circumstances for their move.  You may even find out what they would accept for the bottom line of the purchase price.

The selection of the Realtor to represent the sellers is not awarded to you and is given to another agency.   Many times when the news is delivered they will say, please bring us a buyer, we would love for your to sale our home!   As fate would have it you have the ideal buyer.  You show the home and bingo .. they love it!

You have some excellent inside information regarding this home.  You are representing the buyer and have responsibilities for representation.

I posed this scenario to a class (drawn from a real event) that I was instructing.  What are your ethical responsibilities and duties?  Is there an ethical requirement to keep the confidences of the seller?  As a buyer's representative are you required to disclose all you know?  You certainly are in a situation that must be handled delicately.

Ethics - seller protection and client responsibility.  Is there a balance, responsibility of disclosure?  Yes, in Texas there is an umbrella of confidentiality that extends over the seller for confidentiality to protect the public while interviewing and making choices.  The handling of this disclosure that you cannot share this information with buyer client is a must.  At that time you visit with them regarding their options on how they will wish to proceed to work with you.

  • Continue to work with you but you cannot reveal confidential information nor suggest a price .. act more as a mediator writing up their offer as instructed.
  • Refer them to another agent to handle this phase or all the transaction to close.

One may look at commission lost if they refer out their client.  The determination of how you will act and the steps that will be taken should never come down to commission but ethics, what is best for the client and avoiding uncomfortable possible legal ramifications from the seller. 

Can you share what you learned on a listing appointment with your buyer client?

Comment balloon 14 commentsConnie Goodrich • March 10 2011 09:49AM


Connie, Great post,  I guess I never looked at it in those terms.  Luck has it that 9 out 10 list with me, so I do not see this that often.

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) over 8 years ago


Very interesting.  It would be wise of the agent to have a solid local referral agent or two to help in circumstances like this.

In North Carolina, our disclosure tells the Seller to not tell us anything they do not want a Buyer to hear, and if I bring the Buyer to a property where I failed to land the listing, and I knew the Seller's bottom dollar price, I would be compelled to relate that price to my Buyer.

Now, I can't go spreading the price all around town, but once I am engaged to work for the Buyer, they have a right to knowledge I possess.

I love seeing how things work in different jurisdictions.  Understanding variables in agency is important when working with folks coming in from out of state.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

This is a really important reminder.  We need to be explaining these things to potential sellers prior to them dicussing their situation.

Posted by Joe Kenny, Better Than Your Average Joe (Realty Executive Midwest) over 8 years ago

Confidentiality is a very important part of our ethics Connie. Thanks for using examples to illustrate this.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

HI CONNIE!  Well - this is beautifully said and with that, it is better to refer out. In many cases, referring out is the most ethical thing to do if you aren't sure that you can represent with confidentiality.

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 8 years ago


Cherise is especially sensitive to the confidentiality of her clients.  I think this is why they open up to her even more than usual - because they can trust her and rely on your ethical integrity.  Great post... g

Posted by Cherise Selley, Colorado Springs Realtor (Selley Group Real Estate, LLC) over 8 years ago

Will, thank you first of all for subscribing to my post, I look forward to getting to know you though our AR friendship!  I also generally get 9 our of 10 of my appointments but in Texas we really have to make sure about our possible liabilities.  Thanks for your visit and comments!

Mike - it is so interesting the varied rules present in different states.  Here in Texas we assume the general public does not read ethics and the fear that agents may not disclose that anything a seller said could be visited with others if there was no protection in place.  Texas tends to implement very strict rules for consumer protection.  Thanks for your comments!

Joe - absolutely - I tell the sellers that I am duty bound to maintain their confidences.  The scary part are many agents just aren't familiar with this ethics and could possibly cause a problem. 

Gary - the old teacher in me - show illustrations and one is more likely to remember.  Thanks for your visit!

Gabrielle - I agree, sounds like a referral is a wonderful choice and one agents should consider in the event they are faced with this situation.

Gordon - Confidentiality is huge and not only keeps you our of legal issues but builds trust in your professionalism and respect from other agents.  Appreciate your comments and visits to my posts!

Posted by Connie Goodrich, CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

I guess I never considered it ethical to withhold information from my buyer. My personal Christian ethics tell me that if I am working for the buyer I am bound to disclose something that may make the buyer uncomfortable with their purchase in the future. ie In ND you do not need to disclose that there was a suicide in a home and if I knew but was asked not to disclose I doubt I could keep it to myself. The buyer would surely find out soon and wonder about my integrity if I did not disclose it.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) over 8 years ago

Hi Connie. great post and it is very interesting how each state is required to handle each situation.  Referring out in Texas sounds like the best thing to do.  Have a great evening.

Posted by Judith Parker, CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC (ProStead Realty) over 8 years ago

Bob - well, we have a duty to disclose issues that would be seller's disclosure issues and a listing agent does as well, even if the seller told the agent not to.  Suicide in Texas is not a disclosure but if ask you must be truthful.  But if I was asked about what the seller's bottom line or if they were getting a divorce, that would be confidential.  Interesting isn't it?  Thanks as always for your comments.

Judith - yes, I think if this came up and you did know something like price then best to refer.  If you were unaware of any info like that then I see no conflict.  Thanks for your visit!

Posted by Connie Goodrich, CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Connie,

Great post.  When I go on a listing appointment I let them know I represent them, period.  If a buyer wants to look at the home, I will show it, but let them know I represent the seller.  If they want to write an offer on it, I have a buyers agent write it up.

Posted by Cindy Edwards, CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677 (RE/MAX Checkmate) over 8 years ago

Hi Connie-interesting dilemma regarding Etics-I am not sure here if you had a signed buyers agency what would be best-thanks

Posted by Tim Peterson, Realtor Safety Training Classes (Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes) over 8 years ago


    I never really considered this a problem. If I go on a listing appointment the things the seller shares with me are in a situation where they expect what they share with you as a potential listing agent to be confidential. If I didn't get the listing and represented a buyer on that property I wouild not share any information given to me in that situation of confidence.

Posted by Larry Riggs, GRI, SRS Your Frederick County Specialist (Century 21 Redwood) over 8 years ago

I had one situation where I represented both sides of the transaction, and although it was financially lucrative, I think that transaction is what turned me into mostly a buyer’s agent. I’ve only been taking listings from past clients.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 8 years ago