Article 11 of the Code of Ethics - What agent don't know, they don't know

Education & Training with Real Estate Expert Witness Support

I am on the professioal standard committee of our local association.  Besides being a member,  I frequently am the presiding officer on these cases. We get the general run of the mill, untrained agents and those who let greed get in the way of their decision making process.

But,  the one that really gravels me is Article 11 violations.  The first part asks that we are reasonably competent and operate within the standard of care.  But, the second paragraph is where the test is frequently made. It says that an agent should not work in an area of real estate unless they are competent. In California,  once licensed,  an agent can sell homes, income, new homes, commercial,property, raw land. and biz Ops.  In addition,  they can do loans,  lease real estate and property manage.  There is no way that anyone,  including me,  is qualified and competent in all these areas ..... even marginally.  But,  I see it happen every day. The poor clients don't understand that the nicest residential agent may not know what to do with a 10 unit apartment house.  I had a recent case where I was an expert where the agent did just about everything wrong including but not limited to :

1)  Used the residential form on an income property'

2)  Didn't get or ask for a whole list of disclosures that should  or could have have been provided

3)  Left language out of the contract and failed to write in language that would have benefited the buyer

4)  When countered,  didn't effectively counter back to protect the buyer

4)  Once the disclosures that were made,  failed to point "red flags" out to the buyer and give them competent advice on what to do

5)  Allowed Passive contingency removal,  then let the date pass without asking for an extension because the buyer didn't have their loan yet

6)  And, a lot more.

And,  what happens to the agent.  Yes,  they got sued but the agent probably has a $2500 deductible on their E/O policy ....thus,  the agent is not really hurt.  The client, on the other hand .........

We have tp put pressure on representatives of our state Associations to raise the education requirements for becoming an agent.  One solution is to require that we take extra training and testing if we are going to do something other than residential.  I know this is difficult because in California,  our own Association (CAR) has opposed increasing educational requirments.  Maybe they see less members.  I would rather they focus on excellence.

This isn't about excluding new people from the industry,  as the unions sometimes do.  This is about protecting the clients form a well meaning agent who just doesn't know what they don't know.


Posted by


Guy Berry

Email -

Visit my Website  

Connect on Facebook



Comments (2)

Gerard Maher
Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty - Ocean Springs, MS
CRS Ocean Springs, MS

I agree that we need more training. IN fact, I think that after a licensee get their license, they should have to do a 6 month to a year apprenticeship. That way they get experience, but they are learning from a more expereinced agent.   

Jul 25, 2008 09:25 AM
Dana Couch-Davis
Kendall Haney Realty Group - Memphis, TN

Gary you are so right.  The purpose of licensing is to protect the public from incompetent agents.  One problem I have is often some licensing boards use the word incompetent too freely.  I agree agrents cannot work in every realm of the industry and shouldn't try.  Some of this seems to stem from Broker Supervision.  Maybe firms need to have a dedicated Commercial (just an example) person in the office who can take referrals and provide referrals back to the Residential folks.  There has to be solution and the Brokers have to work to find it.  This isn't just about Dead Presidents on paper!  :)

Jul 25, 2008 09:26 AM