Real Estate Ethics
Probably the most important facet of the Pittard system and the one that appeals to us is that all the systems are based on ethical values.
Sometimes, there is a vast gulf between the law on one hand and ethical considerations on the other. Legal becomes the lowest standard, ethical the highest. Forcing real estate agents and salespeople to be ethical doesn't work. Those in the real estate industry need to realize the importance of ethics because from ethics comes trust, the most vital ingredient of any relationship.
Unfortunately, there are some real estate agencies who feel that if it's legal, it's fine. We don't believe that to be the case. This is why we refuse to resort to some activities considered normal by most real estate people (and, sadly, by most of the buyers and sellers of real estate). I'm referring here to such things as open homes, vendor paid advertising and auctions. (Hint: ask us why!)
Of prime importance is the Latin phrase 'Primum non nocere' which roughly translates as 'First, do no wrong'. In everyday life this really means that, even if something is legal, it is still wrong if somebody is at risk because of it.
Examples abound in real estate:
- Open homes put sellers at risk: People's homes and possessions being put at risk by allowing non-qualified buyers through the home. E.g. - by running 'open homes' and by not qualifying buyers before bringing them to the property.
- Auctions put buyers at risk: Selling by auction with the attendant risk to buyers that many may have wasted money obtaining information about the property to enable them to buy unconditionally but not achieving the purchase. (After all - there can be only one purchaser)
- Auctions put sellers at risk: Selling by auction with the risk to sellers that they may not achieve the best price by that method. (For example - Two buyers: a) who can buy to $370,000 and b) who will happily pay up to $400,000. The bidding passes the reserve of $350,000, proceeds to $370,000 (bid by a.) and the hammer falls on the final bid of $371,000 by b. The seller has missed out on a further $29,000 that a good negotiator could have persuaded a willing purchaser to pay.
There is nothing illegal in any of the above activities.
Ethically, however, we consider:
- It is unethical to put home sellers at risk by allowing non-qualified people to enter a sellers' home
- It is unethical to use a method of sale that requires buyers to spend money obtaining information that will be wasted if they are unable to purchase the home
- If we are chosen to represent a seller in the sale of their home then it is our duty to do our utmost to best represent the sellers' interests rather than our own. We believe that auctions put the interests of the real estate agent ahead of the interests of the sellers