Being in real estate sales has a lot of pluses. For example, selling vacant has few inspections, limited amendments and usually a cash deal. The minuses are usually low commissions due to low listing prices and the same amount of paperwork regardless of listing price.
This past week I invested around 2.5 hours of my time sending information and responding to emails for a potential client. He or she was seeking vacant land of five (5) to 10 acres. Even though I had asked and received the decision-making parameters, those parameters changed two times.
The search was extended to two (2) plus acres to 4.99 acres along with having power to the property line. Thankfully, the client did visit the properties on his or her own and I did not have to visit the properties. Finally, a potential decision was made provide a couple of more questions could be answered. That entailed another email.
There have been several other another land closings which even had more invested time. One client was on the search for land for nearly a year. Between emails, research and visiting the various properties, my time investment was well over 40 hours. A decision was finally made, and a successful closing happened.
As to residential real estate, that usually entails numerous emails, touring various homes and numerous inspections. Clients may start with one budget and then find something with a lesser investment.
The Code of Ethics in Articles One (1) through Nine (9) detail the ethical obligations we have as Realtors to our Clients. This statement is the most important “When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.”
No where in this statement does it mention your time consideration as a Realtor or your compensation expectations. Yet as in any industry, salespeople (yes Realtors are salespeople) look to be adequately compensated for their time. Herein lies the rub.
Numerous hours can be invested in real estate and the hourly rate can be as low as $20 per hour. Again, the Code of Ethics doesn’t care about your time investment or your expectations regarding your hourly rate. What matters is protecting and promoting the interests of your client.
This rub also happens for both vacant land and residential homes with lower listing prices or those where the Buyer Agent’s commission appears to be less than other commissions being offered for similar properties. Yes, we can show those properties that pay higher commissions. If we ignore the lower paid commissions, are we protecting and promoting the interests of our clients or are we protecting and promoting our own economic interests?
Ethical quandaries will always be present. We, as Realtors, are held to a higher standard and one that I personally believe to be very beneficial because it distinguishes us from those online websites to real estate agents.
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