Topic 4.6: Transaction Broker Relationship

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this topic, you will be able to
• list the duties of a transaction broker, and
• describe the specific duties of limited confidentiality.

Presumption of Transaction Broker Relationship

Florida law presumes that a licensee is acting as a transaction broker. A transaction broker provides limited representation to a buyer, a seller, or both, in a real estate transaction, but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity or as a single agent. Most Florida brokerage firms act as transaction brokers in all transactions.

Transaction brokers provide a limited form of nonfiduciary representation to a buyer, a seller, or both in a real estate transaction.

Transaction Broker Duties

Duties of a transaction broker include

  • dealing honestly and fairly,
  • accounting for all funds,
  • using skill, care, and diligence in the transaction,
  • disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable to the buyer,
  • presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing, and
  • limited confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party. This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure
    • that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price,
    • that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer,
    • of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property,
    • that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered,
    • any other information requested by a party to remain confidential, and
    • any additional duties that are mutually agreed to with a party.

Because a licensee is legally presumed to be a transaction broker unless otherwise agreed between the broker and the customer, disclosure of the transaction broker relationship is not required.

Consent to Transition from Single Agent to Transaction Broker

In a situation where a broker is the single agent for the seller, and the buyer (who the broker represents as a single agent) becomes interested in the seller’s listing, the broker cannot continue to be a single agent for both parties, nor be a single agent for one party and a transaction broker for one party. It is likely that the broker will change hats to become a transaction broker.

A single agent can change to be a transaction broker at any time during the relationship. Before changing status, the broker must get the informed written consent of both the seller and the buyer that it is all right to stop being a fiduciary and become a transaction broker. This is accomplished by having each party sign a Consent to Transition to Transaction Broker Notice. Both parties must sign the notice before the broker can proceed in the transaction.