Most state’s real estate laws, as well as the Code of Ethics, of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and the local, constituent, societies, require a set of rules, those licensed to sell real estate, as well as Realtors, must, abide by. While these might, seem, both logical, as well as reasonable, in the real world, there are often, many challenges, to an individual, proceeding, in accordance with, the finest aspects, of truly ethical behavior. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, consider, and review, 5 of these, potential challenges, and obstacles.
1. Balancing selling, with maintaining integrity: Real estate agents do not make money, or earn their living, until/ unless, they market and sell houses, and properties. This might impose considerable stresses and strains, to maintaining the highest degrees of integrity, focused on providing the utmost ethics!
2. Allegiance to client, versus ethics: Legally, morally, and ethically, licensed real estate professionals, consistently owe, their clients, their absolute allegiance. However, there is a caveat, which is, one’s ethical commitment, does not mean, lying, when it comes to material statements, regarding the condition, or other pertinent factors, which might impact, another party! Often, this may be, a somewhat, fine line!
3. Disclosure – the line between material, and non – material items: While ethics demands maintaining fiduciary and fiscal confidentiality, and the specific reasons, one’s clients, are selling, one must legally disclose, any material malfunction, or item, which the buyer, is entitled, to know. For example, material statements, and items, include, prior known conditions, such as termite infestations, leaks, fires, or other conditions, but does not include, anything of a personal nature. It includes knowledge about anything which might impact, negatively, the future value, and/ or desirability of a home (and its location), but, obviously, one can’t have knowledge of the unknown! An agent must never lie, to any party to the real estate transaction!
4. Competition, with other agents: After over a decade, as a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, in the State of New York, I understand, the incredible amount of competition, agents face, in order to acquire listings. However, one must avoid exaggerating, or over – stating, the expectations, and proposed values, to prospective clients. Homeowners, wanting to sell their home, are generally poorly served, and/ or represented, unless their agent, tells them what they need to know (and understand), rather than merely telling them, what they want to hear!
5. Selling/ promoting yourself: Part of acquiring clients and listings, is effectively promoting yourself, by selling, potential clients, on why they should choose you!
Real estate agents should abide by the utmost dedication to ethical behavior, and proceed, with the ethics, clients need, and deserve! Will you be capable of proceeding with this degree of balance?