In a DIY, information-heavy culture, such as we currently find ourselves in, the critical element in a real estate agent’s dealings with clients rests on his/her ability to provide an impartial, fair, reputable and trustworthy service to the buying or selling process.
This is a core component of my business model. I stake my reputation on it.
Not so long ago, the value of hiring a professional real estate agent rested heavily on a consumer’s requirement for information and an agent’s ability to negotiate skillfully and to effectively market real property. These days, info is everywhere and unstructured marketing can happen via a thumb swipe on social media. The only factor in the info/marketing/negotiation trifecta that can’t be easily reproduced in the DIY arena is negotiation skills.
When it comes to negotiation. some people come by it naturally, some don’t.
I excel at negotiation. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. If you don’t believe her, ask my Mom. Or, better yet, ask the thousands of clients I have helped over the years.
Negotiating skills aside, there is a New Kid on the Block when it comes to the true value of a Real Estate Agent.
People used to pay for information, marketing & negotiating skills but the new reality is that the value of a licensed real estate agent rests more & more on his/her ability to build a bridge between buyers & sellers by introducing consistent and reliable ethical components into the process of acquiring or disposing of real estate.
Real estate as an industry is changing. Debate about who should regulate ethics abounds.
Some industry professionals are proponents of an ethical complaint resolution process that involves the local Board, along with oversight by a national governing body. No matter how you look at it, this is a two-tiered complaint resolution process, which can be intimidating to individuals because we all intrinsically understand the complexities and red tape required when it becomes necessary to navigate multiple tiers of governance.
Industry specific enforcement of a Code of Ethics needs to be local. This provides individual complainants with regional accessibility, a sense that the intricacies of local market conditions will be understood, confidence that sensitive issues can be dealt with face-to-face and a strong underlying concept that ethics are of immediate and intrinsic import to the local real estate industry.
When ethics are perceived to have been enforced from a higher body that is far removed from the complainant’s experience, there is a corresponding concept that ethics are being ENFORCED as opposed to being internally and organically EMBRACED. If our goal as real estate professionals is to enhance the industry, then we must not leave the public with the perception that our ethics are being imposed upon the industry.
It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that individual complainants feel confident that ethics is woven into the industry from the ground up, rather than being regulated from the top down.
While it is essential that ethical conduct among real estate professionals be regulated and monitored, I believe that principled conduct is essentially personal in nature.
Earlier in this post I mentioned that, when it comes to negotiation, some people come by it naturally, some don’t. The same is true for ethics.
Sure, guidelines can be set, processes outlined, expectations monitored. But, in the end, it takes a personal touch to ensure that specific individual real estate transactions are conducted with integrity and trust.
Real estate agents who uphold high standards will naturally rise to the top.