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Code of Ethics Case Studies

#1-16: Obligation to Advise Client of Market Value

REALTOR® A listed Client B's house at $136,000. The house was sold to Buyer C, who met Client B at a cocktail party a month later and told him that he had just been offered $148,000 for the house but declined the offer feeling that if he decided to sell, he could do considerably better.

On the basis of this information, Client B charged REALTOR® A with unethical conduct in not having advised him as to fair market value and pointing out that the offering price was considerably below market value. The Board's Grievance Committee referred the complaint to the Professional Standards Committee for hearing.

The Hearing Panel reviewed the facts. At the time the listing contract was signed, REALTOR® A advised his client that he had not recently been active in the part of the city where the house was located and that before fixing the price definitely it might be well to have an appraisal made, but the client declined saying that he felt $136,000 was a fair price.

REALTOR® A's defense was that he had indicated the desirability of an appraisal to determine a fair asking price; that he had indicated he was not active in the neighborhood where the home was located; and that while he had a feeling that the client might be placing a low price on his property, he felt his professional obligation to the client was discharged when he suggested having an appraisal made.

Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 1, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Show Answer