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Real estate licensees can get a better deal on houses

Experts recommend ethical and legal guidelines

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Real estate professionals may have the upper hand in the real estate market when it comes to buying and selling their own homes -- but they can't always exercise this advantage. Real estate professionals can earn a commission when they buy a property for themselves, for example, which could give them a better deal than a typical consumer would receive. But they could run afoul of state licensing law if their personal real estate transactions conflict with their clients' interests, or if they do not properly disclose their professional status. It's not uncommon for real estate licensees to represent themselves in the purchase and sale of property, though there are some ethical and legal guidelines that experts recommend. There are gray areas, too, and actual practices may vary by state, brokerage company and individual agent. Tom Pool, a spokesman for the California Department of Real Estate, said that while state law doesn't specifically mandate that real estate licensees disclose the...