ethics in real estate
The Code of Ethics in real estate practice is governed by the National Association of Realtors. We are members as Realtors. The articles contained within the code are so important. It always surprises me how these are not practiced by some real estate practitioners. Having a California Broker’s License does not mean that every licensed individual is always working within the parameters of honest and fair dealings.
To file a complaint requires time and effort. By the time the offender has closed escrow with you, often it is just so much paperwork many agents will not file. For the most part, the Sacramento Association of Realtors Grievance Committee and Pro Standards Committees are not kept very busy considering how many members we have. The horror stories I have heard over the 25 years in my practice makes me shake my head in frustration.
Most of the agents I know in Sacramento practice our real estate profession honestly, ethically and with integrity. Still, it astounds me when a few bad apples — and why do apples get the rap, what have apples ever done; why isn’t the phrase a few bad grapes, or maybe the California Association of Winegrape Growers cracks a bigger whip — set such terrible examples from which judgments and stereotypes form.
This came up a few days ago because an agent said he was less concerned about his buyer’s disloyalty and more concerned about my honesty because I let him know his buyer was trying to go around him by contacting me directly. He called my alert of his client’s inappropriate contact and solicitation “refreshing.” I call it doing business the way I expect to be treated. It’s that simple. This agent, though, obviously has had a different experience with other agents.
Sure, there are those in the real estate profession who live in their own world. You might wonder how they make it in a demanding business that requires communication when they do not communicate. For example, I texted a few agents with listings in a condo complex last week to ask if they knew the percentage of owner occupancy. Crickets. I begged another buyer’s agent to send an addendum, required to meet a tight deadline, repeatedly calling, texting, leaving voicemails. Crickets. I routinely contact all buyer’s agents after showings to request feedback and, much of the time, you guessed it: crickets.
It doesn’t make these agents dishonest or unethical. It makes them ineffective, maybe lazy confused or lacking business. Some “forget” to send signed purchase offers to this Sacramento Realtor because they are busy with their children’s preschool or caught up in some other routine that interferes with their practice of the real estate profession. They haven’t yet learned to make their business a number one priority.
I read this morning about how the author and philosopher, Cornel West, while lecturing this week at Sac State, said that exhibiting honesty and integrity makes a person in business countercultural. It seems odd to me. I believe that working honestly, ethically and with integrity means you attract others of the same mindset. Like I said, many of the agents I know in the real estate profession possess those qualities, and they don’t think twice. But maybe it’s me who lives in her own world.