Jun 21, 2019
Yes, You Can Trust Your Real Estate Broker
By Elliot Bogod
The job of a real estate broker is trust-based. There is serious capital involved in every transaction, especially for those of us who specialize in luxury transactions, and in order for us to succeed in helping our clients achieve their goals, we must be trusted. Brokers who don’t earn their clients’ trust can’t close deals and don’t stay in business.
Reputation is what brings us clients (and the coveted repeat clients), who are the most important assets of any industry. Reputation is rooted in the personal moral code of a broker. High moral code equals high reputation. High reputation translates into high profits.
It’s no coincidence that the National Association of Realtors places an emphasis on ethics. The Code of Ethics, adopted by that organization in 1913, is what I consider to be one of the most detailed and yet easy-to-follow documents on professional ethics in existence today. NAR training in the Code of Ethics is obligatory for all members. The Real Estate Board of New York, of which I’m a long-standing member, requires all brokers affiliated with it to complete the ethics course. Certainly, our industry takes ethics very seriously.
It’s not easy to become a real estate broker. The laws, regulations and multiple technical aspects of the profession are extremely complex. You have to understand legalese, and you have to be good at math. Even to pass your first exam and get your license to sell real estate, you have to study a lot of complex subjects — including various aspects of fiduciary duty (the ethical obligations of a broker to the client). You have to know the intricacies of the market, develop intuition and, most importantly, build a network of trusted colleagues who know they can rely on you as you can rely on them. I know of no real estate professional in their right mind who would risk throwing it all away by engaging in such a questionable manner.
Unfortunately, there are dishonest people in our profession — as there are in any profession — but such people tend to quickly lose their standing (and their business). I firmly believe that there are few professions that encourage and promote ethics in their practitioners to a degree comparable to that of real estate. It would be close to impossible to be a liar — or even slightly unreliable — and maintain a reputation as an ethical, dedicated, trustworthy professional. This was even true twenty-odd years ago when I started practicing in real estate. Very few would risk destroying the results of all the hard work they put into their study, and the reputation they created, by cheating their clients or colleagues. Today, with easy access to real estate information online, it’s even less possible to be dishonest and remain in business than ever before.