california bureau of real estate
Raising the bar does not mean calling the real estate police. For one thing, there are no official real estate police. One also can’t just notify the California Bureau of Real Estate of a violation and expect the staff who handle consumer complaints to know which rules or regulations had been violated. The staff is made up of people who just work there, they have a 9-to-5 job, and that job is not to monitor or memorize every real estate regulation on the books.
If one is gonna file a complaint at the California Bureau of Real Estate, one needs to do one’s own homework and point out the codes or regulations the perpetrator has trampled. Otherwise, one most likely will encounter some yo-yo saying that seems OK to me, when the actionable item is against the law. Perhaps the violation could be grounds for losing a real estate license, but then we agents are not the commissioner running that arm of state government. Tip: don’t just say an agent can’t do XYZ without citing case or code numbers.
Raising the bar is what every real estate agent has a duty to do, but few get involved. They’re too busy with clients, family, friends, themselves. Yet, how much effort is it to educate the violator? Sacramento Realtors should speak up. When you see something, say something to the agent. Care enough to educate. I’m not suggesting punishment nor do I advocate filing a complaint with the Sacramento Board of Realtors, unless it’s the last resort. Just talk to the agent.
Sacramento Realtors are often unsupervised. Or, they are complacent: been doing it this way for X number of years, buddy, ain’t seeing no reason to change now, sort of attitude. They are not interested in raising the bar. Nobody died and appointed them Governor. But if we don’t speak up, it makes us part of the problem.
For example, an agent sent a text message to one of my sellers yesterday, thanking them for allowing a showing. He also rambled on, sharing personal specifics about his buyer and then asked the seller whether the seller would consider a particular type of negotiation. When I informed the agent he was violating Article 16 of the Realtor Code of Ethics, he denied it. He became defensive, explaining he was only trying to . . .
It was Labor Day. Nobody was really working in Sacramento real estate. Yet, I took the time to explain that the agent appeared to be interfering in my fiduciary relationship with the seller. He cannot negotiate with the seller directly. He cannot throw out ideas for consideration nor try to influence the seller’s opinion of the buyer. I wonder how long he’s been doing business this way?
I don’t want to make enemies out of other Realtors. Nobody does. I don’t wanna report real estate agents, that’s not my style. Just stop and think, people. Raising the bar will only make the real estate profession better. Speak up. Inspire greatness.
Agents need to be truthful when asked if they have shown a property to their buyers if, for no other reasons, than the California Bureau of Real Estate makes honesty a requirement for a license and the REALTOR Code of Ethics demands it. You would think being honesty for real estate agents is a no brainer but some apparently disagree. The dishonest sort tend to twist honesty into a pretzel and a format they recognize, something they can rationalize, but there really is no rationalizing the truth. You are or you aren’t. You did or you didn’t. You did not have sexual relations with that woman. You are not a crook. You’re just some whack job driving a white Bronco very slowly.
We all get it. We all wish it would stop.
Except, sometimes, the people who perpetrate and give life, meaning and clarity to the unfortunately descriptive word: asshole. This sort doesn’t give a crap.
The California Bureau of Real Estate created bare-bone requirements to become a Sacramento real estate agent. You must be 18 (you do not have to be a high school graduate), you must complete 3 real estate courses, and an applicant for a real estate license must be TRUTHFUL and HONEST. Right there, that requirement probably knocks out at least 1 person out of every 5, yet they still get a real estate license because if they are untruthful, do you think they will admit it? Ack.
In the REALTOR Code of Ethics, the very first article a REALTOR pledges is to treat all parties HONESTLY. Yes, honesty for real estate agents is a prerequisite.
Yet, when a listing agent asks a buyer’s agent who submitted an offer the sellers want to accept if the agent showed the property to the buyers and the agent responds, “Yes, she loved it,” when the agent did NOT show the property, well, what do you make of that? When presented with the facts such as maybe the sellers were home all day and did not possess a business card from that agent, only then might the buyer’s agent admit that the buyer did not actually view the inside. Inferring, btw, that the buyer was outside of the property with the agent, which probably did not happen, either.
It’s the writer’s instinct in me, I ask questions and probe.
Agents, you might be tempted to “fudge” the facts even if you don’t see it as outright lying, but please don’t. Dishonesty is against the law, it’s against the Code of Ethics, and sellers might ignore your buyer’s offer when they find out what you did. I will tell them. It’s in my fiduciary to disclose what I know to my sellers. Just be honest. Why is honesty for real estate agents so tough?