When I was a full-time practicing agent out there in the trenches an opportunity came-up for me to volunteer for my local board. Called Grievance Committee, I was told I would sit on a panel and hear situations involving ethics and agents in real life scenarios. I thought that this could become quite helpful so I volunteered. The best thing I ever did
In my first few reviews with fellow panel members, I was amazed at how much I did not know. You heard me right! For one thing, the code of ethics kept coming up word for word as we applied it to conduct of others in the different scenarios. As I became familiar with the code in detail, I realized more about them
CODE of CONDUCT EXAMINED
You first hear the situation, read the supporting documents and complaint and then bounce it all off the code. That's when it started to make sense in this way. There are many ways to proceed in any given situation and sometimes those lines are blurred, crossed or ignored for reasons that we don't even suspect or consider but take part in. Directly or indirectly takes on a knew meaning. You really look at what happened
As I was examining what another agent did or did not do I couldn't help but examine myself at the same time. I also realized that this was a good opportunity to get some real down to earth foundational education in regards to consistent high-level ethical practicing of my profession. Let me clear however on this one point
I WAS ALWAYS ETHICAL
I conducted myself with integrity, honesty and had a strict code of protection for my clients and I knew right from wrong. But if you study the lettering of the code, it holds a high standard with little wiggle room yet it is not perfect thus having a panel to hear your conduct complaint. I became a type of code-enforcer over time. However the explanation, circumstances and the persons involved are very relevant to justice
MLS RULES TOO
I also became very familiar with the MLS rules and regulations which also contain a degree of proficiency rules when practiced. Often an agent was brought up on violations in regards to usage and it is surprising how many people did violate the rules. One of them was sharing MLS access with others licensed or not
From Grievance committee, I volunteered for professional standards work where we hear serious cases about the different scenarios involving sellers, buyers, agents, Brokers, escrow companies and the like. Amazing how many agents got caught up in what doesn't work and argued that position too
EVERY CASE COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED
Every time I heard a case what stood out for me was that it could have been avoided by the players involved. The main culprit? Pride Ala ego and vanity to be precise. Never being wrong or budging on the subject will guarantee you a day in court, a hearing or a sanction . People were their own worst enemies
NOTE: Not one case was dull. Quite the contrary. One learning real life example after another.
Commission disputes were especially nasty. How sad that we can act like animals when it comes to money driven antics that support the survival of the fittest and best aggressor/animal you can be. Who is the better liar became interesting to watch but what stood out was the deadly combo of pride and greed.
They saw I had the savvy and capability to administer justice and made me a sitting judge. I would control the proceedings and pass the final ruling after conferring with my panel members. Two things stood out for me while I was in this role that were important to me personally. I got to practice them to my hearts content
1. Let everyone speak as long as they want or until they got it all out. This was their day to do so and I wanted them to have it. I also wanted all-players involved to see and hear themselves and others something they could have done to prevent them all from being in front of me and making me rule on their conduct
2. Those that were found guilty for some reason brought out of me a mercy (for cause) frame of mind. My panel members would want to throw the book at these agents while I took a slap on the hand approach 99% of the time. Yes there was times when the book was thrown at violators but they deserved it and wanted it that way and I obliged. However the majority were to be treated with a corrective professional respect
GIVE AGENTS A CHANCE TO RECOVER
I wanted to take the mistakes people made and have them learn from them and become a better licensed player out there. That's what I was doing and it was worthy. Being too strict doesn't promote or support recovery or second chance opportunity. Many agents needed to make a living. All things must be considered and one mistake should not cost you your license
TIME IMPROVED ME
I got so good at doing this (per others) that they let their attorney go that represented the board and left it up to professional standards to handle their own. I did this for ten years! Me and my fellow members knew the laws, regulations, codes and everyone was given their day to learn, correct and behave again. Only a handful left bitter and worse for the hearings. So sad but personal conduct is subjective professional is not
THEY DON'T TEACH THIS IN SCHOOL
This experience is exactly what they should be teaching as mandatory for all Real Estate licensing and continuation courses. Its not hypothetical or play-acting or role-reversing but real life actions that effect clients, principals, co-agents, escrows and the industry at large. Once more it is free. Highly recommended!