What’s the Point of the Story?
In recent months I’ve adopted Jim Duncan’s response to people who complain about other agents. I saw him ask “How did the complaint process go?” to a commenter on a blog; and I thought that it was brilliant. I can safely say that on an almost daily basis one member or another will tell me about a bad deal or woe they’ve encountered with another agent. After hearing tales of woe, I offer them Mediation and the Code of Ethics complaint form. Almost every time, some series of excuses come forth. The excuses range from lack of time, not wanting to really get anyone in trouble, lack of serious penalty or that the VREB is a quicker and easier solution. My thought is that if it isn’t serious enough to reduce to writing; than the conversation is just gossip.
Have We Seen Better Days?
My understanding (as I wasn’t there) is that in the early 1900’s when NAR was started, it was intended to bring real estate men together to uniform the industry and provide a level of responsibility. Then in the 1920’s the Standards of Practice were developed and was the rule book for these folks. License law came about around the 1950’s and since then a lot of changes to the regulations have followed the changed to the Code of Ethics. So, in essence we’ve been trying to improve the practice of Real Estate for 100 years or better. And we’re still trying… It’s clear that the Code of Ethics has influenced regulation; but has it otherwise served its purpose?
I hear agents lamenting the “old days” of real estate when people behaved better; but I have to wonder if there were really better days in the past, why did the previous generations need to keep creating new regulations, if everyone was so much better?
If a Violation Happens in the Forest…
The Virginia Regulations closely mirror the Code of Ethics, at least in the major areas. If an agent can write a complaint and simply turn it over to a trained investigator at VREB; why is filing with the Association a better option? I’ve been asked this question a few times, and I really don’t know how to answer. (It’s important to note that many Associations will forward complaints that are a proven violation, of the public trust, to VREB, after the Ethics hearing) Of course the Association has a place in Arbitration, of course the Code of Ethics is a valuable tool, but if you don’t use these items why would you expect others to?
To all the folks who think the Code is irrelevant, I would submit, it’s because you aren’t using it. It’s relatively low rate of utilization is weakening it….not the lack of adherence.