Agents have ‘duty of care’ to refer clients: Harcourts

Harcourts Financial Services chief executive officer Andy Graham has said referring clients to a credit adviser, such as a mortgage broker, is all a part of an agent’s ‘duty of care’.

According to Mr Graham, it is irrelevant whether clients arrange finance through their local bank, existing relationships, or a new mortgage broker. He said ensuring the client has help arranging finance approval as they consider making a new purchase is part of the service that all agents should be providing.

Mr Graham said a recent independent survey showed that about 65 per cent of the time, finance was not discussed as part of a real estate transaction.

“I found this a staggering statistic, given that finance consultants are an integral part of a property transaction to ensure the sale is completed,” Mr Graham said.

He also said an agent has no conflict of interest by using a ‘referral-based’ relationship with a finance consultant.

“Standard Privacy Requirements and close monitoring of all compliance procedures ensures the finance transaction is always completed at ‘arms length’,” he said.

“This means there is never a conflict of interest, or any form of distrust by the client.”

However, Mr Graham said referrals will only occur if the real estate professional has full confidence that the finance consultant will look after their client perfectly, and that they have the “knowledge and experience to complete the transaction in an efficient and professional manner”.

Harcourts Financial Services chief executive officer Andy Graham has said referring clients to a credit adviser, such as a mortgage broker, is all a part of an agent’s ‘duty of care’.

According to Mr Graham, it is irrelevant whether clients arrange finance through their local bank, existing relationships, or a new mortgage broker. He said ensuring the client has help arranging finance approval as they consider making a new purchase is part of the service that all agents should be providing.

Mr Graham said a recent independent survey showed that about 65 per cent of the time, finance was not discussed as part of a real estate transaction.

“I found this a staggering statistic, given that finance consultants are an integral part of a property transaction to ensure the sale is completed,” Mr Graham said.

He also said an agent has no conflict of interest by using a ‘referral-based’ relationship with a finance consultant.

“Standard Privacy Requirements and close monitoring of all compliance procedures ensures the finance transaction is always completed at ‘arms length’,” he said.

“This means there is never a conflict of interest, or any form of distrust by the client.”

However, Mr Graham said referrals will only occur if the real estate professional has full confidence that the finance consultant will look after their client perfectly, and that they have the “knowledge and experience to complete the transaction in an efficient and professional manner”.

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