Michael Mahoney - Keller Williams Boston Realtor
Michael Mahoney
(617) 615-9435(617) 615-9435

Does a Real Estate Agent Have to Disclose Their Ownership Interest in a Property They are Selling?

Does a Real Estate Agent Have to Disclose Their Ownership Interest in a Property They are Selling?

Realtors Need to Disclose if they have ownership in the property

Always disclose

If you are looking for the quick answer, then the answer is an astounding “YES”.

Realtors Must Follow Their Code of Ethics on Disclosure

Real Estate Agents are Realtors. Realtors have a Code of Ethics.   The code of ethics has 17 articles that Realtors must subscribe to.  The Realtor Code of Ethics has three main parts. Each part of the code has a specific area of real estate that it is focused on. Here are the three areas that the code is focused on:

  • Duties to Clients and Customers
  • Duties to the Public
  • Duties to REALTORS®

REALTORS® is used in this Code and Preamble, it shall be deemed to include REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.

Preamble of the Realtor Code of Ethics

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.

Can a Real Estate Agent Sell a Property They Own in Massachusetts?

The answers is that they can sell a property that they have an ownership interest in.  However, there must be a disclosure in writing.

The answer is very clear in article 4 of The Realtor Code of Ethics.

Article 4 (Case Interpretations for Article 4)

REALTORS® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest, any real property without making their true position known to the owner or the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they have any interest, REALTORS® shall reveal their ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s representative. (Amended 1/00) [listen]

Standard of Practice 4-1
For the protection of all parties, the disclosures required by Article 4 shall be in writing and provided by REALTORS® prior to the signing of any contract. (Adopted 2/86)

Video on Disclosing Ownership in A Property

Good Practice for Disclosures

Most lawsuits in real estate transactions, are the result of buyers feeling that someone held back information that would have aided in their decision making.  People get angry when someone did not tell everything they knew about the house. If you are not careful as a real estate agent or a seller, you could end up in land court.

It’s always best to error on the side of full disclosure.

Antonio and Alexia Cardena are Realtors in San Leandro, California. They wrote a well done article about real estate disclosures.


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Michael can be reached via email at mike@mmahoney.com or by phone at 617-615-9435. Michael has been a Greater Boston Realtor for 15 plus years in Massachusetts. I provide real estate services in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk and Northern Bristol County.

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I selected Mike after having a very unsuccessful experience with a previous broker. He had excellent ideas in helping to sell my house and continued to advertise it with a fresh perspective. His experience helped in a number of ways and I only wish we had... (more)


This is the second property I have sold in Weymouth MA with Mike as my broker. He research the area and give you all the information you need to decide what to list your property for, so it sells timely. He also helps review and negotiate all offers and is... (more)


We had been trying to sell our condo for well over a year and decided to give Mike a shot at it as he came well recommended. It was not easy for him but he persisted and had success. Even though it wasn't a big sale or profit for him, he acted as though it... (more)

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