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Duty Bound

January 06, 1991

I read with interest Mildred Jones' letter in response (Dec. 2) to Robert J. Bruss' answer in "Whom Does the Realtor Really Represent?" (Nov. 4). As a broker with 20 years experience in real estate, Mildred Jones should know that a real estate agent is a fiduciary.

A fiduciary has a duty to act primarily for his principal's benefit and, much like a trustee, must exercise a standard of care, objectivity, and confidence in excess of any other relationship. It is absolutely impossible to have that relationship with two parties who are on opposite sides of a purchase-and-sale transaction because what might be best for the seller is not necessarily best for the buyer.

For example, how can a seller's agent obtain the highest price and the best terms for the seller and at the same time obtain the lowest price and the best terms for the buyer? In that respect, an agent would be attempting a feat very similar to an attorney attempting to represent both parties in a divorce.

PEGGI COLLINS, Torrance

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