Real Estate Agent Ethics are taken for granted as being a higher standard.
If an agent is a member of an MLS they are also subject to the ethic standards of the National Association of Realtor's and local ethics enforcement by their respective MLS.
Yesterday I had an agent use a method of representation that was ethically wrong but within the guidelines of not being chargeable.
We expect truthful statements from real estate agents. We don't expect deceit.
The agent has a home listed for sale, the sale is an estate. The children are selling their fathers home, who pasted away unexpectedly.
My client made a full price offer and a minimal contribution toward prepaid and closing costs. The selling agent said she needed time, the seller's were out of state. Sounded reasonable.
A day goes by and nothing from the agent in response to our offer. I contact the agent again asking for the executed purchase agreement as accepted from the seller's. The seller's were tired and needed to address the purchase agreement after they were out of work. Fine, let me know.
Nothing, then I get a phone call at 8 pm, the seller's agent says, "We have another offer, we want your best and highest for consideration."
What! If you would have presented and signed we would not be having this conversation, was my response. We are not children. I didn't need to be told about client's being out of state, tired or unavailable. Instead tell the truth! Say another offer is coming in.
Since the agent waited until our offer had expired before sharing the second offer, we have no legal standing. Was the manner in which the agent handled the first offer ethical? NO, but can you get a ethics standards committee to charge the agent with an ethics violation? Probably not, since the offer response date had expired.
Is an ethical way to do real estate, Not in my book. Remember we repeat to our clients what real estate agents say to us. This means you pass along mis-information to your clients because another agents lack of ethical compass.
The seller's agent had given us twice the "warm fuzzy feeling" this is a done deal, the seller's think your offer is great. Then call and tell you, we have another offer and you need to resubmit a better offer and the seller will be the highest best offer.
This puts buyer's on an emotional roller coaster first happy, then mad and finally outraged. This also places a black-eye on the seller's brokerage and agent. Verbal advertising in a small town can hurt a brokerage and an agent. Since this is a small town 40 miles south of my normal area, Grand Rapids, Michigan. It doesn't take long for everyone to know how a transaction transpired.
People grocery shop, get hair cuts, use services for heating and cooling, a short discussion about the ethical nightmare created by the real estate selling agent and their business drops. The facts when telling the truth, come out. In this case karma may be more than the extra commissions were worth using decietful tactics.
The other fact, people love to share a juicy rumor regardless of fact or fiction. When it is fact, Small towns have a way of spreading the word on individuals and businesses, good and bad.
I don't know of any real estate agent or broker that would want to tell anyone anything but the truth. It just isn't worth the integrity loss or image rebuilding. We work so hard to create a professional image and just a few validate the image of carpetbaggers and in more modern times, another distrusted profession, car salesmen.
If you can't be honest and forth right find another profession. Quit tarnishing the real estate profession, help set the ethical standards for your profession. We have thousands of people that are career real estate agents and brokers that make sure they represent clients properly. They are also beacons for their profession. Be one of them!