Here at AIC, we’ve often talked about how your goal is to be the “known, liked, and trusted” figure and friend in your clients’ eyes. Establishing that trusted relationship means that people can turn to you for good advice, professional knowledge, and even just a friendly face.
While it’s important that you maintain an ethical standing in all parts of your life, it’s especially important in your role as a real estate agent.
Sales positions are often mistrusted by the general public since no one likes being sold to (or feeling manipulated). To maintain a professional standing and reputation it’s doubly important that salespeople BE ethical and trustworthy.
You Hold the Power
Salespeople have a special kind of power. Often, you’re holding information that those involved might not fully understand, or have any experience with. Buying and selling a home may be a person’s largest business transaction they ever have in life, and often their biggest fear.
This is why all REALTORS are held to such a high standard. The comprehensive Standard of Ethics gives a long list of all of the ethical considerations in play during real estate transactions. There are a lot! And they often go even above and beyond the law, to ensure agents are aware of their huge responsibilities. YOU hold the power to be the best agent you can be.
In Business, In Life
While you have a lot of transaction-specific considerations to be aware of, a lot of the big ethical real estate considerations have to do with your daily life, too. Being a person of integrity every day, and making sure everyone is fully-informed and involved when they need to be, should spill over into all your relationships.
What are some of those ethical considerations?
- Communication. The best agents keep clients informed every step of the way. They explain what they are doing and why, so clients understand the reasoning for everything that happens during a transaction. This also helps set you up as an honest, straightforward person who wants the best for your clients in your professional partnership.
- Knowledge. You have a lot of knowledge your clients probably don’t have. Market conditions, info about geographical areas, pricing tactics, sales and marketing tactics being used by other agents with listings they may be looking at (higher commission for buyer agent, for example) that you COULD use to push your clients toward certain listings or areas. On the flip side, if you don’t have certain knowledge, it is not ethical to pretend that you do. An example of this could be in cases where someone misrepresents him/herself as a specialist in an area that they aren’t.
- Your Presence (In Person, Online). An ethical person has the responsibility to be as accurate as possible and include all you know even in informal situations. This includes social media interactions. Also, opening yourself up online also opens you to trolls and online negativity. An ethical person generally will be the bigger person if someone is negative online. Have a negative review? Respond professionally, and don’t involve yourself in an argument or a situation where you’re responding to an opinion with your own opinion. Keep things factual, simple, and positive and others will see that you’re taking the high road. Want more about how to deal with negativity online? Read this article.
- Good Working Relationships. Have you ever had issues with other realtors? It can make working with others difficult if you haven’t taken steps to clear the air. If you haven’t kept the relationship professional, no one wins. You still need to show properties listed with agents you might not like, and they should be showing yours if everyone is paying attention to their own ethical considerations. You can’t force others to be ethical, of course. You can only lead by your good example.
- Keeping Your Client’s Interests At Hand. Your job as an agent is to think about what your clients need, not how much you need to make on your commission, or how much time you have available today to drive them around and show them homes. Example of unethical actions in this case: You have a dinner date, and to save your own time you keep clients in a particular neighborhood even though you know there are houses you should show them miles away.
All in all, we as a society agree it’s better to be an ethical and good person, all around – for our own health, and to help make the world a better place in general. Since you have a special power as a Realtor- you have a special responsibility too! Make your power a superpower by doing the right things.
‘Coming Soon’ Listings – Weigh In
Here’s a question for you.
One of the ethical real estate issues brokerages are grappling with has to do with the rise of ‘coming soon’ listings in recent years. These ‘coming soon’, or ‘pocket’ listings, allow other Realtors to view listings before they are posted on the MLS or online. This gives the networks these agents or offices have cultivated special access and opportunities. They also may or may not be in the seller’s best interest – they may not get as many or the best offers that they could have if the home was listed normally.
What do you think about the exclusivity offered by these kinds of listings. Ethical, or not?
What do YOU think? We want to hear from our members!