Is there a ethical question when you find out the agent you are talking to has been having a affair with your husband.?

Asked by Trouble, 95125 Thu Jun 14, 2012

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Fri Jun 15, 2012

You say you "are talking to" the agent. You don't say you are a client of that agent. The agent therefore has no realty-related ethical obligations to you.

If the agent is a Realtor, then there's the Code of Ethics. But the Code only addresses professional behavior as it relates to real estate, business, and the economy. See

Here's an excerpt from the Preamble:
Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which REALTORS® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves. REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession. REALTORS® having direct personal knowledge of conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate Board or Association of REALTORS®. (Amended 1/00)
Now, if the agent is a Realtor (which you haven't established) AND if the agent acted improperly as a Realtor (whether or not due to the affair), then there is an ethical issue involved.

An agent having an affair with your husband may be immoral or improper. But that alone does not make it unethical.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Sat Aug 24, 2013
First define "talking to"-is this a contractual relationship? Are you and your husband still married, separated, getting divorced? Is this agent technically representing both of you in any transaction?

Obviously it's in poor taste. While "unethical" from my understanding, it only violates the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics if this agent is representing you (or both of you) and the relationship has negatively impacted their fiduciary duty.
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John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sun Dec 16, 2012
Don, is right, as I pointed out last June in my response to this question.

On the other hand, there are ethical questions that transcend the Realtor Code of Ethics. I believe this situation describes an ethical violation on a personal level that has nothing to do with being a Realtor.
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Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Sun Dec 16, 2012

If the agent acted in a manner that had a negative outcome on the sale/purchase of the property they represented you on, then yes there would be a question of ethics. Meaning did the agent conspire with your husband and not keep fully informed of the terms and conditions of the sale. Did with holding such information cost you money, or property?

As for as the two of them having an affair, that is just sad and wrong, but it is not something
(at least to my knowledge ) that any real estate governing body would have authority to correct an agent on. If the affair is between two consenting aduts there is nothing our boards can do.

I wish you the best !

Kawain Payne, Realtor
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Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Tue Nov 27, 2012
There is an ancient Bulgarian saying;
"Harder to find than a man who's never been unfaithful, is a man who's been unfaithful just once."
Probably not Bulgarian.
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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Tue Nov 27, 2012
Oh Wow!

Ethics went right out the window with this one! Sorry for what happened to you.
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Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Hi Trouble

Regret to hear of your dilema.

There is always an issue of Ethics when a Spouse is cheating.

The issue of Business Ethics would come into play if Your Husband was courting the
Agent, while she was working on helping you buy or sell the house, and what negative
Monetization effect she had. You would have a case if you can show "Financial Loss"
associated with the agent.

Otherwise, California is a No Fault State, when it comes to Divorces.

Good luck.
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Lisa Wiseman, Agent, San Jose, CA
Wed Oct 17, 2012
SO sorry! Yes, yes, yes and yes.
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Rob, Home Seller, Ottawa County, MI
Mon Oct 15, 2012
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Robert Lei, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Oct 15, 2012
You definitely should hire a different agent. Must be tough on you. I hope you recover soon from this situation.
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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Sat Jun 16, 2012
From the preacher man to the presidential candidate to the office of the White House, folks have been caught with there pants down. The ensuing conversation always concludes with, "You can not legislate morality!"

Your situation begs the question to be asked, "What is the outcome you are seeking? Equal representation? Retribution? Validation?" Knowing the hopeful outcome, one would think, should be instrumental in delivering guidance merited to be worthwhile.

Further it is not understood clearly the status of your relationship with your husband. Perhaps you have been separated for years. We just don't know. There may even exist a back story connecting your husband from a "before you" relationship.

It is unknown if you may have been involved in an affair with the agents husband. There is just so much we do not know that advise offered must really be tempered with the knowledge the sound bite we are being fed has a purpose that may not be so obvious.

The temptation to cite chapter and verse does little when the objective, the outcome sought, is unknown, although assumed by the writer or purposefully omitted by the submitter. Being right is not a substitute for doing the right thing.

What is the outcome you seek? Are you really in pursuit of a pathway to that outcome?
Representation, retribution, validation: each carries it's unique burden.

You can be confident, others have been there before you, and the fashion they choose to deal with such possible betrayal, instead of liberation, may have left them bound in the shackles of distrust and isolation. This is the difference between right and right thing.

Take great care.
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Laurel Grand…, Agent, Knoxville, TN
Sat Jun 16, 2012
That's unethical, immoral and disgusting on so many levels! And you are STILL married to him???
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No. Asap I kicked him out and divorced him. I just have a high regard for whats right and wrong and this was wrong. I'm shocked that in a time when selling houses is rough that someone would do this. Something like this could break a real estate agents rep.
Flag Sun Jun 17, 2012
Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Fri Jun 15, 2012
There are serious ethical questions when anyone is having an affair with your spouse! This is especially true if you have not already separated from that spouse. But even if you have, it seems unlikely that this person will be looking out for your best interests, so you clearly want to make a change.

Even if you have signed an agreement appointing the professional (I use the term loosely in this situation) as your agent or broker, you might have cause to terminate the agreement, especially if you are selling a house owned jointly or in common, OR if you will buy a house to own jointly or in common. I would talk to the agent's broker first. If that does not work, it definitely is time to talk to a lawyer.

Good luck,
Ron Rovtar

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Andrea Wince…, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Fri Jun 15, 2012
Was the agent also YOUR agent ? Here is a link to the Realtor Code of Ethics:…
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Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Fri Jun 15, 2012
The National Association of Realtors® publishes the Realtor® Code of Ethics; you might look at that to see if it somehow addresses your situation.

An ethics board would probably want to know how you had been harmed from a real estate brokerage perspective.

To put it another way - if your husband has a job or business, having an affair with his real estate agent may not affect his employers or customers in a material way.

Wishing you well in the next stage of your life,
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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Fri Jun 15, 2012
There really isn't enough information to give an informed opinion.

An agent should hold themselves to a high level of integrity and standards. This mean do not cheat... anyone. However, as for having an affair this behavior crosses all professions and an affair itself doesn't warrant investigation.

What would warrant a breach of fiduciary duties is if this agent was acting in a capacity of an agent to you, or you and your husband. And you were not aware of the affair at the time you hired this agent. If this agent was just hired by your husband to represent him alone and you were not a party to the transaction, it may be viewed differently.

You have received good advice about consulting with the Agent's Broker, Real Estate Board, and/or attorney. They should be able to review your very personal and private situation and advise you to what course of action you may want to pursue.

In any event, I wish you a successful end to a not so pleasant event.
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Ian and Laura…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Fri Jun 15, 2012
The question was not very specific, but if you have undergone a transaction with the agent already there is definitely an ethical concern in regards to her job as a Realtor. Either way, there is a general violation of ethics.

Based on the extent of the harm done or breach of trust in regards to the Real Estate transaction. Some good places to start would be:

1) Your local board of Realtors. Here in the South Bay we have 2. SILVAR in cupertino (408) 200-0100 and SCCAOR 408-445-8500 in Santa Clara. They can provide you with resources, and you could also file a grievance.
2) If there was a transaction done or some financial gain, then you may want to elevate the issue to attorneys. They may not be able to help you if you did not actually hire / use the services of the Realtor, but were simply "talking." Again without specifics that I'm sure you don't want to post on a forum my answer must also be general.

As far as the personal side, that part is between you and your husband. Marriage counseling, divorce, etc. As a Realtor talking in depth on this is out of the scope of duty, but you probably know your options: End the relationship or try to work it out.

Hope this helps,

Ian Batra
Intero Real Estate Sevices
(408) 342-3084
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Norman Aless…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri Jun 15, 2012
Of course there is an ethical question, if it is the same agent who sold your home. I would not only speak to a real estate attorney, but also her broker and MOST of all my divorce lawyer.
If it is as you have stated then you should be able to get some satisfaction.
At your service,
Certified Distressed Property Expert
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Thuan Nguyen, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Jun 14, 2012
My opinion in regards to affairs is they aren't occupation specific. Cheating is cheating. Having relations with someone you know is married is unethical in any field!
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John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu Jun 14, 2012
In another Trulia question you say that you have closed your transaction and you allege that you have been cheated out of a larger share of the sale proceeds.

Did you have an agent or not? Was it the agent whom you claim has had an affair with your husband? (You call him ex-husband in your other question.)

You should speak to the agent's broker.

If you were simply "speaking" to the agent and the agent never reprsented you, her action may be objectionable, immoral and unethical in one sense but may not be a violation of the Realtor Code of Ethics which does not cover extramarital affairs.
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Marcie Paul, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Thu Jun 14, 2012
Ohmygosh! Well she sure made your decision easy. I always coach my clients that once they lose confidence in their Realtor, it is almost impossible to recover. There are hundreds of fantastic, ethical, professional Realtors in Santa Clara County. Interview several and find someone who will make your life easier--not more complicated. Buying or selling real estate is likely the biggest transaction you'll ever make.. Life is full of really difficult decisions--let me help you with this one.

Marcie Paul
Intero Real Estate
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Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Thu Jun 14, 2012
Wow!!! Are you buying or selling your house? Do you need a good divorce lawyer?
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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Thu Jun 14, 2012
Having an affair with a married person is a breach of ethics right there... whether it's a Realtor, Butcher, Baker or Candlestick Maker.
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