How your personal ethics can affect a transaction

Real Estate Agent with Keller Wiliams -Citywide

As an agent I often find clients look to us to set the tone for how to respond during negotiatons. From the first encounter with a client, we are  free to make a choice whether or not this is someone we want to be linked to going forward. The desperation to have a warm body to work with can often brinng addded stress to our lives  especially as we continue through the process of listing  for a seller or representing a buyer . This very important relationship should be carefully considered. 


In our work we easily become intertwined with our clients needs and values. Agents often seem reluctant to express  a moral compass about how to behave in a contractual negotiation. I'm not talking church morality- but contract morality..explaining that a home inspection does not mean a buyer has the right to abuse or a seller has the right to ignore. It means doing what is asked for and what is fair. 


I often hear agents complain about their 'bad' clients. Perhaps a good look in the mirror is in order to see if we have anything to do with this 'bad' behavior. 

Our standards and procedures along with our code of ethics is a guideline for how we should behave as agents. Yet, I often see agents who won't are afraid to draw a line in the sand- even if it means their  professional reputation.

Of course there are those agents who need to feel powerful and promise their clients that they'll do everything short  of channeling  Genghis Khan to get them a 'deal'. Is the quiality of self aggrandizing necessary to be a successful agent? I don't think so. In fact- the agents that I always hope to negotiate with are those who are the real pros- elegant, fair, and most importantly- win win.


Maybe we'd be better respected by other professionals if we showed our clients by example how to behave towards others involved in a transaction.

It's been  said we attract who we are.If you hate your clients and ugly transactions are more your norm - it's time to look carefully at what you  communicated by your behavior.Sometimes it's more admirable to walk away from a deal with someone you know is not ethical. If our practices are built on referrals- is this the person who you'd want to send you their like minded friends? 

Each of us has the power to change our experience. If we are ever to be respected by those we serve- the time is now. 

Is any  transaction worth your reputation? 


Posted by
Kathleen LoGiodice Fong
Keller Williams | Citywide Realty
2101 Wilson Blvd. | Suite 100 | Arlington, VA 22201
VA: 703.538.2134 | DC/MD: 202.642.3664 

The strength of experience...the reputation for results.

Comments (9)

Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland


Channeling Genghis Kahn, What a great line that is. Sounds like something straight out of Dennis Millers mouth.

The very first thing I do when meeting a new prospect for the first time, is to make a decision on the spot if I want to work with them or not. No vibe no work.

I learned along time ago that I could not work with the thousands of people I talked with, so why not choose the cream of the crop. Amount of money is NOT part of the selection process.

Apr 04, 2007 04:48 PM
Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate - Los Gatos, CA
CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
Hi Kathleen,

You are on target. Sometimes, clients whom we think are reasonable people turn out to not be that way at all - and we are a little ambushed in contract. But if the agent always has bad clients, that is the proverbial "red flag" for sure.

A few years ago, I began putting something of central importance to me on my website: "Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley". And you know what? My 'jerk factor' went through the floor. Honest to goodness, it seemed to help me to atract the right clients and repel the wrong ones.

The occassional bad client can happen to anyone, but Kathleen, you raise a good question: what's your norm?

All smiles,
Apr 04, 2007 04:52 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK
Great post.  Herb, I agree with you. If I hear or see red flags or anything seems questionable, I don't go there.
Apr 05, 2007 12:58 AM
Christina Williams. REALTOR® TN property search & local insights
First Realty Company - Crossville, TN
Goof job Kathleen. I always do my best to offer quality work ethics with my career.
Apr 05, 2007 01:03 AM
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Thanks Kathleen...I see your point and it is well taken.  I always want to take the HIGH ROAD with clients and work hard for them or know when to walk away from a situation I know will not work out well. As you know some clients will really test us and I have one that tested me last week.  I brought this seller 2 offers inside 45 days and the seller killed both of the sales because of a counter I advise her against and for not having a poper legal description.  After both sales fell due to no fault of mine she and her sister pointed the finger at me and told me I didn't work hard enough to put the deals together for them!  You ahve no idea what I really wanted to say to the dear!  Thanks and have a wonderful and blessed day.
Apr 05, 2007 04:01 AM
Cynthia Sloop
Community Association Manager - Indianapolis, IN
You make a great point!  I have some of this lesson the hard way.  As a newer agent, I often struggle with "should I try and make it work or let it go?"  In hind sight, I often should have let it go.
Apr 05, 2007 04:39 AM
George W. Miller
Keller Williams Realty - Naugatuck, CT
Naugatuck and Beacon Falls Real Estate
I agree with the comments, its hard to walk away from a deal in a tight market but a difficult client is not worth the aggravation. It will affect your attitude towards all your other clients.
Apr 05, 2007 05:38 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

People who want a beat-em-up agent never liked me much. It's just not in me to be confrontational and obnoxious just to show off for my client. Am I a good negotiator! Absolutely! But I don't strive to make enemies along the way to the closing table.

I have the names of a few "nasty" agents on my list to refer these clients to. They can live happily (or rather, grumpily) ever after together.

Apr 05, 2007 07:13 AM
Desiree Daniels
RE/MAX Tri County - Robbinsville, NJ

No transaction is worth my reputation.   I will cut someone "out" of my teams services in a heart beat if they are not straight forward and honest. .... especially sellers.   Buyers on the other hand...  I understand buyers needing "hand holding" to which i am a professional.   I if there is one thing i always tell them when we first get together.  ...  "the more information you give me and the more you share honest criticism about the homes we see... the more efficiently i can serve you."

I love my job and one person, family etc will not take that away from me.... my clients and future clients need me.

Thanks for the post.

Apr 05, 2007 02:35 PM