Thursday, October 18, 2012
The REALTOR CODE
The REALTOR® Code
In my role as a Managing Broker, it is not unusual to hear complaints from agents about other agents acting “unethically”. On occasion I have to deal with members of the public expressing concerns about one of our associates acting in a manner which was considered unethical in their eyes. These allegations tend to stem from the complainant imputing motives on the actions of the agent. They interpret what they have experienced as unethical when the results of a transaction, or negotiation do not conform with their expectations nor provide for their well-being. The insinuation is that the agent manipulated circumstances into their own interest, rather than the interest of the client or customer. What comes into play is the subjective nature of our understanding of the ethical boundaries of our business.
Ethical behavior is described in the Dictionary as follows:
1. ( used with a singular or plural verb ) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. ( usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
Ethics are, in a nutshell, the often unwritten, but internalized, rules of conduct that allow for the well-being of others. While many maintain that it is the religious imprint of our current or past affiliations of faith that give us a moral compass, there is a growing understanding that we all have an innate sense of fairness and communal responsibility. This inborn awareness of what is fair has even been demonstrated in studies with primates that associate in groups.
We all have slightly different points of reference when it comes to acting fairly. Although the “golden rule” is a universal axiom, we are also influenced in what our ethical boundaries are through our upbringing, (including where we are in birth order comparative to our siblings), our cultural background, and our religious influences. Due to these variants in one’s personal experience, it is important to set an objective guideline to overcome the elastic nature of moral and ethical boundaries. The statement that there is “honour among thieves”, suggests that even within groups that might be seen as lacking in moral fibre, a certain ethical standard is upheld. One might be tempted to respond to an accusation of unethical behavior with a question of which standard is being referred to!
CREA developed a code of ethics in 1913 for the real estate industry with the specific reason of ensuring that a standard of conduct be adhered to. They created 28 guiding principles help to determine when someone is acting unethically. This code has a higher standard than the existing legal requirements in many cases. The local real estate boards have taken these guiding principles and applied them to their professional standards doctrines. Boards also appoint professional standards committees to police the actions of agents based on the rules of conduct built around the code of ethics.
CREA describes the code this way:
CREA’s REALTOR® Code has been the measure of professionalism in organized real estate for over 40 years.
A REALTOR’s® ethical obligations are based on moral integrity, competent service to clients and customers, and dedication to the interest and welfare of the public.
The REALTOR® Code, by setting high standards of professional conduct for REALTORS®, helps to protect Canadians' rights and interests. It also creates a level of trust between REALTORS® and their clients.
There have been instances where a member of the public contacts me with a complaint, and it becomes evident that the designated agent they were dealing with did not instill a level of trust in their relationship with their client. As a result, as soon as something did not go as planned, the agent was seen as acting outside of the standards and values of the client. Even if nothing was done wrong in a technical sense, the client is left with a bad taste regarding their dealings with the agent.
When someone complains about unethical behavior to me, I will step back and picture the scenario from every angle possible. In most cases, after getting the details, it becomes clear that the agent was not acting unethically but rather, outside circumstances conspired to create that impression to someone that didn’t have the full details. As the saying goes, “There is always at least two sides to every story”. It is a rare occasion that I have found a REALTOR® acting intentionally against the well-being of others. It is for those occasions that the REALTOR® Code becomes a valuable tool in organized real estate.
Understanding the 28 articles in the CREA Code of Ethics is invaluable toward building a solid reputation as a REALTOR®. It is the ethical standard that sets us apart.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Supply and Demand
Vancouver continues to be one of the most interesting case studies in North America for Real Estate activity. Predictions abound about the vulnerability of the Vancouver market. Many call the hot market, "a bubble", but from where I stand, I don't see Russia...only the horizon.
The unique Vancouver combination of being the primary Pacific port in Canada, locked into a narrow crease of land between mountains and waterways, and being the most temperate climate in the country make it a compelling location for migrants. In deed many point to the "investor class" migrants who see Vancouver as a destination of choice in Canada as being a primary factor in rising house prices. This is just one factor among many for the climbing sticker price on Vancouver properties.
A year ago Vancouver was the host city to the Winter Olympics. This cast a concentrated focus on this mountain city by the sea. Not surprisingly since then, prices have continued to climb. Some neighbourhoods have seen double digit growth in already comparatively high prices. The Vancouver westside neighbourhood has some of the most expensive "dirt" in the country. Builders and investors look to purchase lots in some of the more mature neighbourhoods in the hope of tearing down the older home and building a newer luxury class dwelling. The problem continues to be that demand outpaces supply.
Multiple offers and bidding wars continue to push prices skyward. As long as affordability remains in reach, Vancouver will continue to demand the highest property values in Canada. Scarcity of supply that meets an overabundance of demand is always the recipe for accelerated prices. That fact doesn't appear to change anytime soon in Vancouver. Not surprising...given that this is best place on earth!
Friday, November 5, 2010
How to be the BEST
RE/MAX is the number one Real Estate Franchise on the planet...that is an undisputed fact. However, the reason for the Franchise's greatness lies at the grassroots, in the quality of the REALTORS(r) its associate Brokerages have been able to attract. After watching these amazing professionals work their magic for several years, these are the traits that I have seen surface among the cream of the crop...
1. Create a positive attitude. Research shows that most failure in business stems from an attitude problem. A positive attitude looks for solutions to problems, and is not de-motivated by them.
2. Stay Motivated. The RE/MAX organization has seen this as a key element to building it's sales force around the world. The tools that are available to offer encouragement and motivation to our agents is unmatched. That is why year after year, the top agents in Canada are usually RE/MAX agents.
3. Have Integrity. Always tell the truth and maintain your ethical standards. Face up to mistakes right away and take immediate steps to correct them.
4. Be consistent. Know your strengths and weknesses and focus on tasks that you do well; delegate those tasks that you don't do well. Stay on track.
5. Expect Success. The top challenges in life are to manage your expectiations and to mange the unexpected...this will determine your results.
6.. Manage Relationships. Get to know people by taking a genuine interest in them. Allow your spontaneity to show others how to be positive and upbeat. The top agents are truly nice people!
7. Use Team Skills. A healthy team attitude begins with a solid commitment to help other team members win. You may see the agent, but you don't see the hundreds of support players behind him.
8. Have Vision. People are driven by visions of improvement...lead others to better solutions by offering a clearer vision. Have a clear vision and you will rise to the top. Focus turns light into a laser.
9. Follow up. Listen carefully to what people are asking. Repeat their needs back to them and explain how you will solve them.
10. Practice Self-Improvement. Always keep your temper in check, speak calmly and stay focused on learning. RE/MAX has a slogan that says, "The more you learn, the more you earn."
These are just brief lessons from the amazing agents at RE/MAX Select Properties. They are a guide book by example of how to be the best!