Ethics and the Real Estate Agent

One or possibly two of the misconceptions the public has about Real Estate Agents may actually be based on a little piece of truth, along the lines of  ‘one bad apple makes the whole barrel look rotten’ kind of thing.   Agents take heart – for the general public isn’t so easily fooled and most Agents give them very good reason to see how great the difference and how few and far between those bad apples are.  When I first became a Realtor in 1991 I was proud of  the  Code of Ethics  provided by the National Association of Realtors.  It holds the entire Industry to a high standard the public can appreciate and I believe it also fosters a race to excellence skunksamong the great majority of Agents!  So why do those images of Agents as “skunks” continue to persist?

To some degree that misguided public perception continues precisely because of articles such as these two I’ve highlighted here.  These two headlines are real and are actually taken from stories advocating that Home Buyers and Sellers run from agents, but only after using the agent to find the house they want or gain the information they need.

“Why the Buyer doesn’t seem to trust you.”

Could it be because they are getting bone headed advice like this article goes on to give them?  The writer of this article goes on to claim Agents are no more than self serving lieing scum who will say and do anything and cheat anyone to get a transaction closed so they can collect their commission no matter who gets hurt or used in the process and with no thought for anything or anyone else outside their own narrow selfish interests.

And then this encouraging, happy headline:

“Why You Can’t Trust Real Estate Agents When Buying A House.”

by ________________ (I’m saving this soul from getting hate email by blocking his/her name!)

I should point out however that real estate agents are normally quite useful during the search since they often know more than you do about the general real estate and can get you access to private showings. The other big benefit is their access to sale price information for similar houses.
It’s important to know the market so that you don’t have to rely on the asking price or your agent to tell you the proper market value of the house.

(Italics are the EXACT QUOTE).

After the insulting comment that agents are useful, this boneheaded article goes on to tell you how to use, then dump an agent so they work for you but don’t get paid for their efforts.  Articles like these two which were published online in January of 2013 make my blood boil.  Sure, there may be some unethical agents but they are not the norm!

We cannot regulate everyone’s behavior in this industry since all Agents are by definition Independent Contractors.  We can, however, continue to work together to dispel this false image of the Agent as blood sucking scum.  Almost every agent I know or have met in my years of practice were wonderful, warm and caring people dedicated to helping others find happiness in the home of their dreams.  At the worst those who fumbled a transaction did so out of inexperience rather than malicious intent.  The very nature of the Real Estate transaction dictates the necessity of objective third parties to represent the best interest of the selling and buying parties.

Thank goodness the majority of the public see’s past this kind of crass article as well and recognizes the worth and value of having a knowledgeable source of information working on your behalf during what is often a stressful and emotionally charged time in one’s life.   And shame shame on those who tarnish an entire industry with a brush stroke of such false color.

When was the last time you, the Agent read the Code of Ethics?   It really is  worthy of a fresh reading even if you are not a member of the NAR. Click the link in the article above for a PDF copy.   For the record, this ghost blogger is no longer an active agent or active member of the NAR.  I remain active on the fringes of the Industry, writing articles about Real Estate, and providing blog content for Real Estate Agents to publish on their web and Social Media sites.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  You are welcome to comment and add your opinions as well as share this article with others you think will find it interesting reading.  Subscribe to this blog for updates delivered direct to your inbox once or twice a week.  Thanks for joining in!


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