Honesty Policy

Despite what my teenage daughters would have the world believe, I don’t dwell under a rock nor do I regularly have my head in the sand. And that means although I may not really know who Lady GaGa is, I am aware of some of the less than flattering opinions the public has about real estate agents. This has been on my mind since I blogged yesterday about the stereotypes that have haunted our industry for a long time now. But out of all the clichés associated with this industry,  the one that gets me the most is that real estate agents are dishonest.

Honesty, although it seems a simple enough concept, is actually fairly open to interpretation. For example, if a seller doesn’t think the crack he patched over on the ceiling is worth mentioning to his real estate agent, but construction work next door later brings that part of the roof down on the new owner, was his omission of this detail dishonest? I actually don’t believe so, because people’s perceptions of what is and isn’t important – and as such what is or isn’t dishonest - varies significantly.  

Who amongst us has never told a white lie, or omitted certain details with nothing but the interests of another person at the forefront of our minds? I think most of us are guilty of this, which is where I believe it is the intent that decides the case of honesty versus dishonesty.

When charged with the selling of a person’s home, it is the Agent’s responsibility to be honest in their assessment of the property and honest in the way they conduct themselves. As an Agent, it is our responsibility to only make promises we can keep. It is doing otherwise that makes us dishonest. Honesty also means tackling the hard part of the job and never being uncommunicative with clients. Even if the news is bad, the vendor deserves the truth. That said, if petty unconstructive comments about the property for sale have been made during home opens or property inspections, sharing every detail of this with the seller is just unnecessary and possibly hurtful. The decision to keep these details to yourself does not, in my eyes, make you dishonest.

Equally, an Agent is relying on honesty from the vendor. In this industry, we need honesty in relation to service feedback, issues with a property, or what a seller’s expectations really are. The cornerstone of honesty is communication, and it’s certainly a two way street.

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/03/2009 at 8:46 AM | Categories:


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