Loyalty means the agent must put the client’s interests before anyone else’s, including their own. It would be disloyal, for instance, for a buyer’s agent to purchase property of interest to the client for themselves without first finding out if the client wanted the property. Loyalty can also become an issue if an agent is receiving a bonus or fee sufficiently different from that the client would expect or is typical in the situation.
In such cases, doubt can be raised about whether the agent’s conduct in the transaction was driven by their duty to the client or their own interest in the bonus or fee. It is not that the agent is receiving a fee or commission. There is nothing disloyal or wrong about an agent receiving a fee or commission. Rather, it is that the fee or commission is unusual enough to cast doubt on whether it, instead of client needs, motivated the agent’s actions. As with any conflict of interest calling into question the agent’s loyalty, disclosure of the conflict is the appropriate course of action for the agent.
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