It is assumed that local conditions of markets may be different, but ethics and social responsibility principles should be applicable to all markets. 

It has been proposed that a uniform code of ethics and social responsibility should be created by World Trade Organization and UN organizations work to solve diverse cultural differences to arrive at cooperative strategies in markets.

Lack of ethics includes stealing, buying a buyer, selling only builder inventory or one agency listings.

Lack of ethics results in market and public damage and creates imbalances from which the public must protect itself. There is one winner, and the rest are losers.  Ultimately, even the winner fails. 

A common charge against the free-market society is that its institutes “the law of the jungle,” of “dog eat dog” behavior which spurns human cooperation competition. 

Murray N. Rothbard an economist who wrote a lot about ethics in free markets is quoted below:

¨There is an emphasis on material success as opposed to spiritual values, philosophy, or leisure activities. This jungle is exactly a society of coercion, theft, and parasitism, a society that demolishes lives and living standards. 

The peaceful market competition of producers and suppliers is a profoundly cooperative process in which everyone benefits and where everyone’s living standard flourishes (compared with what it would be in an unfree society). 

The undoubted material success of free societies provides the general affluence that permits us to enjoy an enormous amount of leisure as compared with other societies, and to pursue matters of the spirit. It is the coercive countries with little or no market activity that are notable examples in the last half of the twentieth century. These are communist countries, where the grind of daily existence not only impoverishes people materially, but also deadens their spirit. ¨

We hope sharing other perspectives helps us re-examine our own viewpoints.

What are Ethics in real estate?

“Ethics” refers to customs, values and practices a society or community consider to be morally sound, by which our behavior is measured. Although there is not an official code for all real estate agents, many are members of the National Association of Realtors, which has an ethics code. Ampi National has a similar code of ethics as the NAR. Members are to follow them.

The real estate industry should encourage the highest level of ethics in business practice to promote and preserve the right to own, use, exchange, and transfer of real property.  It’s imperative that practitioners within the industry know ethical standards, understand why they’re important, and abide by them.  The most important ethical consideration in the real estate industry is communication, along with honesty and integrity.

Complaints about us as real estate agents include:

1. Inaccurate Information provided to a buyer is a common complaint. Attention to detail is key throughout the transaction to ensure risk is minimized. It’s important to note that it’s not only inaccurate information which can be an issue, but also information not disclosed — such as flood or ground movement. If we know about it, it must be disclosed to the buyer.

2. Misleading photos or information in the multi-listing service (MLS) is another common complaint. This can include situations where an incorrect photo is uploaded to the MLS.  Or it could be that photos are edited into a state where they no longer represent a true and correct representation of the property.

3. A lack of knowledge about local or neighborhood-specific issues is also a complaint often seen in real estate. Sometimes purchasers find out things about the neighborhood that they do not like post-purchase — for example, a new road development. Keep in mind, as a broker or agent, anything that can materially affect the value of the property needs to be disclosed. So, if we know a new highway is starting construction right next to the home, we need to disclose this information. For more general local or neighborhood information, we should refer buyers to other sources of information.

How we deal with these issues and solve these problems is important. As real estate professionals, we must have the knowledge, information, skills and experience to identify, limit and manage our clients risks. 

This article is based upon legal opinions, current practices, and my personal experiences.  I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of real estate conduct his own due diligence and review.

Harriet Murray

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