Fishhawk Lake Real Estate-Ethics and Full Disclosure

Real Estate Agent with John L Scott Market Center 700512026

Here is an excellent quote from Benjamin Franklin:

“It takes many good deeds to build a reputation and only one bad one to lose it”.


Every day, as a realtor, we are given the choice to be ethical or underhanded. You could choose to disclose or not disclose a fact that you know about a home you are listing. You could be totally up front and maybe lose a sale as a result, but you would also know that you weren’t hiding anything to  “protect” your seller and possibly keep a deal going as a result that could be problematic in the future.



This reminds me of the great football coach, Joe Paterno. How very sad that he went through many many years of being a huge success and at the end of his life, a bad decision made regarding a man he knew (and seemed to be protecting) who was being unlawful could completely tarnish his image and cause many of us to question his ethics.


Hiding details or only telling half-truths can often come back to haunt you. Once again, full disclosure is absolutely your best bet. I call it, “Warts and All”;describing what a property is really like and the buyer can then move forward and trust you and the seller that much more and decide with ALL OF THE FACTS whether or not this is the property that suits his/her needs.


Here’s an example: a property has flooded and the flooded area has been completely remodeled . A buyer comes along and isn’t aware of floodplains, flood insurance, or how much damage was sustained and fixed as a result. I inform my sellers to write in their own words, exactly what happened and how they fixed it. If they have photos, or some invoices in a file, that is invaluable to the potential buyer. Bottom line, if something bad has happened, DISCLOSE IT up front, because people can be a lot more forgiving when you are being honest as opposed to having them discover that you have covered this up, because then they will question what else you may be hiding.


 In having to hold onto records for not less than six years (in the state of Oregon), you never know what could resurface and if you have been as transparent as possible, then you know in your heart that you have been as ethical and honest as you could be. Taking notes, writing every conversation down, really helps in case you are ever brought in front of a judge or questioned about a potential transgression. A paper trail can help in a trial or arbitration situation.




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Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi Gayle-Honesty is the best policy. When it comes to lack of disclosure I had that happen to my home in NY. The folks that were supposed to help me DIDN'T. That is WHY I value people who are forthright and honest and not just out for the almighty dollar. You are one of the most honest people I know which is one of the many things I value about our friendship. Glad Jenna is doing better even if it takes predisone. It worked wonders for my shoulder but was only on it for 7 days. Long term it is not so good.

Apr 11, 2012 08:11 AM #1
Rose King
UTR, Texas Realtors - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

Hi Gayle! This is a wonderful reminder to everyone! Just today I spoke with a potential seller about a water stain in her ceiling. She wanted to have it painted so no one would ask about it. Having it painted was a good idea, but I told her she still had to disclose how the stain got there! Have a great day!

Apr 11, 2012 08:39 AM #2
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Gayle, you can't take a day off with high integrity and your Joe Paterno story was so true and also sad there at the end too. Do not deal with people with low ethics. You will get the mud on you.

Apr 11, 2012 08:46 AM #3
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

My paper trail is exactly what is going to hang an agent that I'm filing ethics charges against. What she put in her written statement and what her emails and voice mails say and dates certainly don't go together with her statements.


Apr 11, 2012 09:10 AM #4
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Do you ever wonder why Ben Franklin was so wise? He and a few others like Thomas Jefferson and even Mark Twain said things that absolutely apply now - all these years after their deaths. 

Apr 11, 2012 01:09 PM #5
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Gayle ....The paper trail is definitely the best way to go just never know when you will need it!  Have a great day!

Apr 11, 2012 09:11 PM #6
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

So agree with this Lake Goddess pal. I have an odd couple I'm dealing with right now - I'm being my usual transparent self and am making a point to save every single email or communication we have - in short, I don't know if I can trust them. It's an awful feeling but it's helping me cover my bases...just in case. 

Apr 12, 2012 03:07 AM #7
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Thanks, everyone....I'm not being remiss in my lack of commenting to YOUR wonderful comments, just have lots more studying to do before 4/20 to get my classes finished!

Apr 12, 2012 06:15 AM #8
Marge Piwowarski
Phoenix AZ Horse Property - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC

Gayle, I am fortunate in that I can't remember having sellers try to conceal "issues" .  I encourage them to disclose because that is their only legal defense if there are issues in the future. 

Apr 12, 2012 02:16 PM #9
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Excellent blog Gayle.  I have this complaint all the time, where it is obvious something I find has been hidden, or they tried to.  And sometimes the realtor pretends like it is an oversight.  C'mon...

The Golden Rule gets tarnished so often.

Apr 12, 2012 07:20 PM #10
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Great post Gayle!  When discussing the topic of 'Disclosure' with a Seller or one of my Agents... I ask them this question... Is there anything about the home or property that would cause a potential buyer to NOT buy it???  And I follow it up with this... You'll rarely be sued for disclosing too much!

Apr 13, 2012 12:23 PM #11
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Excellent advice GF and worked with a client who didn't disclose a foundation issue which ended up biting them in the @$$. They ultimately lost the buyer.  Not only will the truth come out, but people should have dignity and character giving full disclosure when selling. SUGGESTED!

Apr 13, 2012 12:28 PM #12
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Those who value their license are ethical and when you find someone who isn't, it is best to avoid them at all costs!!! Great post!

Apr 13, 2012 10:25 PM #13
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Also suggested!!!

Apr 13, 2012 10:25 PM #14
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Gayle, great post! I listed a house this week that had water stains in the must be disclosed I told him even if you do not see the water stains. 

Apr 14, 2012 12:46 PM #15
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate

"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905
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