Over 38 years, I have defended hundreds of real estate agents who have been sued. It often begins by doing something that just does not feel right. Humans by nature can ignore that feeling if they can see a reward, especially if it is financial.
Go get independent legal advice and discuss the following ideas:
1) get independent representation for the seller. An agent is good, but a good real estate lawyer is better. 2) Do not have discussions about the business terms with the seller (deal with the seller's agen or lawyer), 3) Do not even dream of taking a commission. A reduction in price might be OK but a commission as a seller's agent is the kiss of death, and 4) make the Seller's obligation to perform contingent upon her review of an appraisal ordered by your lender (under current regs, neither you nor the loan officer will be allowed any contact with the appraiser).
There will probably be more ideas in the mind of your lawyer. These few will make the transaction somewhat obtuse. That's the idea. These ideas came to me as a recalled watching particularly skilled lawyers examining my real estate agent clients under oath. If you can't get the image.....think about rectal surgery without the benefit of anesthesia.
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You should consult the BRE legal department.
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I'd like to chime in just to say that the State Board governing your licensure may have already addressed this exact situation and a call to them may resolve this quickly.
On a side note, I commend your pro-active approach to this situation and your concern in doing the ethical option.
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