Right, Wrong and the Realtor Code of Ethics

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

I was thinking about the Realtor Code of Ethics the other day.  This isn't something I sit around and do that often, but it crossed my mind that day because I was mad. 

You see, I had a seller who didn't listen to my counsel in regards to pricing.  And then he decided to remodel the kitchen during the middle of the listing period against my advice, putting in granite and stainless steel appliances.  Once the work was done (and it did look nice), the house was close to expiring.  When I visited with him about relisting, he was only willing to give me 30 days because I hadn't been able to do an open house.

Grrrrr.  Now I know that he's going to relist the house with somebody because he is intent on selling it.  Besides, he now lives in another state and has to sell the home.  Not getting the listing didn't really surprise me because I found out early on that one of the grown children knows our local real estate market much better than I do even though he is in the education field and lives elsewhere.  Again.  Grrrrr.

Bob and the little red guyOn the particular day that I was thinking about the Realtor Code of Ethics, I had also been having a long conversation with the little red guy that sits on my shoulder.  He had been telling me all day long about how I had been wronged and how I knew the proper pricing and how the guy should have relisted the house with me.  And then he even went so far as to suggest that I call up all my Realtor friends and tell them all not to Bob and the little White guylist his house.  Yeah!  That would show him wouldn't it! 

But then the other guy who sits on my other shoulder punched the little red guy in the mouth, knocking him off my shoulder.  He then proceeded to whip out his copy of the Realtor Code of Ethics and read me the riot act.  He looked me square in the eyes and said, "What do you think you're thinking here Mr.?!"  After a lecture on what is right and what is wrong and how I am bound by the Code of Ethics, I had to admit that he was right and I was wrong.  What was I thinking?

It could have been something like this...

1. I am a human being too.  I really do understand when you don't want to work with me any longer for whatever reason,  But it hurts when you burn me.  Most Realtors won't say this is so, but it is.

2. I  deliver real time information to you about the housing market.  I'm sorry if it isn't what you want to hear.  I don't want to hear it either.  It isn't easy for me to sell houses in this kind of market and my own house has lost value too.  Please remember that I am schooled in what I do.  You aren't.  When you don't believe what I report, discuss it with me in a mature way instead of acting like a know it all.

3. Why is an emotional connection to a house so hard to deal with?

4. I am glad the Realtor Code of Ethics exists.  It helps me on my best days and on my worst days in Real Estate.  It not only protects you as a client, but it helps me stay on track and remember that I am held to a higher standard...even when you choose to forget the humanity of the person who is trying to help you.

I guess that's about it. 

Oh and I should tell you that the little red guy had a concussion, but he's gonna be okay.  He told me he had an appointment with some other Realtor later that day.

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Bob Haywood
Bob Haywood
Owasso, Oklahoma REALTOR®

(918) 272-7272

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Comments (65)

Simon Mills
Mills Realty - Toluca Lake, CA

Been there...done that!  I had a client who just would not listed to me regarding his home being overprice.  He let the lisitng expire, sunk $20,000 in to updating the kitchen and listed his property with another agent for $40,000 MORE than it was listed with me.  Some people think they know better and unfortunately the lesson is usually very costly.

Sep 15, 2010 06:53 AM
Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker
Aloha Kai Real Estate - Clearwater, FL
Licensed in Florida, Washington, and Hawai'i

Hi Bob. When that happens to me I think... "Next!" I am glad that we have a code though some do not always follow it :)

Sep 15, 2010 06:56 AM
Stephanie Williams, Realtor Murrells Inlet
Seaside Properties - Murrells Inlet, SC

Very entertaining post!  Loved the pictures.  I'm sure I would have the same conversation in my head if that had happened to me.  Just glad the little white guy won. 

Sep 15, 2010 07:24 AM
Dennis Puckett
Adams,Cameron & Co. - Deland, FL

Very entertaining and point well made. We've all been there at one time or another.

Sep 15, 2010 07:24 AM
Robert Sizer

One of the most challenging aspects of building report with our clients is revealing their perceptions and guiding them into reality without alienation. It can get pretty tricky, especially when reality is in contrast with their dreams, goals and fantasies.  

Seems that the best cure for a deals gone awry are the deals where all parties feel well served, and value the professional services we render. And, of course, not taking it personally.  Thanks for your sharing your experience, with a sense of humor.  It's sound therapy for us all!

Sep 15, 2010 07:35 AM
Manuel Monserrate
Raleigh, NC

Great job with the pictures!  Definitely subscribing to it.  It's probably harder to go through this today than at other times when things have been better, but oh well, you always have to look for a bright side.

Sep 15, 2010 07:42 AM
Heather Tawes Nelson
Live Better in Arizona - Scottsdale, AZ
Associate Broker, ABR, CLHMS, CRS - Scottsdale, AZ

Hysterical photos-  I love them! Very clever.... Alas, I am sorry you did not get to relist.

Sep 15, 2010 09:52 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

Not matter what else happens in life, we always have to look ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge who we are and what we've done.  Doing the ethical thing may not be the most lucrative sometimes, but it will always be what gets us the most respect from ourselves, our peers, and ultimately our clients.

Sep 15, 2010 10:09 AM
Jackie Hawley
Coldwell Banker Professionals - Oxford, MI
Southeast Michigan Real Estate

14 or 15 years ago after picking up my lockbox on an expired listing, I was on the phone whining about losing the listing and as I said "I hope it rots" my car hit some black ice, rolled, and I went head first into my windshield (I now wear a seat belt). 42 stitches later (in my scalp) I decided to let them expire gracefully.

Sep 15, 2010 11:14 AM
Gary & April Greer
Century 21 Wright - Temecula, CA
Real Estate Professionals

Wish the little red guy could just leave me alone, LOL!

Sep 15, 2010 11:36 AM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

It is a drag when these kind of things happen.  Some people just do not want to hear the truth.  It happens all the time.  When I encounter a listing with a client like this, I try & have them use my fee for services schedule instead of a normal commission.

Sep 15, 2010 02:45 PM
George P. Cruz Sr.
Premier Brokers International - Port St Lucie, FL

Good realtors are good no matter what the situation that they put us on.

George Cruz sr

Port St Lucir Fl

Sep 15, 2010 03:07 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree with Patricia Kennedy - It wasn't the code of ethics that guided you. It was that guy on your shoulder. Without him, you wouldn't have given that code a second thought.

Sep 15, 2010 09:10 PM
Reece Nichols-Mary Wilcox - Kansas City, MO
Reece Nichols Mary Wilcox BPOR, CDPE, ASD, SFR, AB

Cute...and appropriate.  Thanks for the reminder.

Sep 16, 2010 01:56 AM
Jon Elshaug
Sinacore & Associates - Fallbrook, CA
Independent REALTOR 760.390.8396 - USMC (Ret)

You put your heart and soul into your job and they still drop you off a steep cliff.  As they say "Semper Gumby" ( alway flexable)

Sep 16, 2010 03:24 AM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Bob: Next! This happens and I try to get as many leads and transactions as possible so that one seller does not make or break my day!


Sep 16, 2010 04:19 AM
Monica Atherton
eXp Realty - Georgetown, TX
Your Georgetown Real Estate Gal

Sorry you didn't get to re-list the house but as they say "Some will, Some won't, So what, NEXT.  I am learning (through the school of hard knocks) to let it go and move on.  I was spending too much time being frustrated about Mr. and Mrs. Know It All.  Have a prosperous week!!!

Sep 16, 2010 09:44 AM
Nicole Fleming
FC Tucker Emge - Henderson, KY

More agents need their little person in white to knock out that person in red!  Good for you. Getting revenge tastes sweet in the short run, but would cost you so much more eventually.  We win some, we lose some.

Sep 16, 2010 04:43 PM
Joe Daniels, Broker, Appraiser, Realtor(R),
Personal Service Realty - Jacksonville, FL


It's interesting that even back in Caesars day they killed the messenger, but unfortunately todays assumptions can be related in the Jack Nicholson phrase in "A few good men" to your customer " You can't handle the truth!" And unfortunately that is what a large percentage of sellers will look for, someone to buy their listing for what they want to sell it for. Then too, the rest of the realtors are scoundrels too, when it dowsn't sell.

Sep 16, 2010 05:31 PM
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

It sounds as if your client lost a good agent, YOU, and will sit on the market with an agent who doesn't tell him he needs to lower his price.  If he has to sell he will just keep sitting on the market for months with his market value possibly dropping.  Margaret C.

Sep 19, 2010 11:36 AM