Welcome to my Blog!
I used to blog regularly about distressed homeownership...foreclosures, short sales, loan modifications, etc...but then I got super busy with business and family, and it fell by the wayside. Thank goodness all those particular issues have resolved themselves for the most part, right?
For the past few years, though, I have noticed an alarming trend in real estate...and quite frankly it is exhausting. It seems as though many Realtors have forgotten (or maybe they never really knew) about their fiduciary duty to their clients and customers.
You see, real estate practitioners in California have a Law of Agency, which states that we have a fiduciary duty to our clients. Simply stated, we are REQUIRED to put our client's needs above all others, including our own! I challenge you to ask the next real estate agent/broker that you are thinking of hiring to explain what the word 'fiduciary' even means, and how it pertains to your potential relationship with them. If they can't explain it to you in clear, certain terms, then RUN, don't walk! If they don't understand this very basic, highly prioritized, un-bendable rule that is foundational in their business, then how in the world are they going to properly represent you and your interests?
Too often I hear agents engage in demeaning conversations about their clients and customers, and I always think "Really??? If your client or customer was standing here listening to you, would you still be saying that???" Oh my goodness...don't even get me started.
As a Realtor, we are required to treat our clients and customers properly, which is defined in Article 1 of the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics. Just so you understand how important it is to a Realtor, the Articles in the N.A.R. Code of Ethics are actually prioritized, with the most important Article being first.
More and more I see and hear agents referring to the almighty dollar as the most important thing that drives their business and their business practices, and they carelessly violate fundamental rules because they are chasing after the next deal. The saddest part of all is that they don't even know they are doing this because the people that have trained them also never learned the underlying concepts of true professionalism in real estate.
Professionalism seems to have been trodden underfoot when the foreclosure boom hit and technology took over. We all became faceless entities that relied upon faxes, emails and texts. Gone were the days of face-to-face interactions--- presenting offers in person to the seller and their agent so that you could sell your buyer and their offer to a seller, shaking hands at the negotiating table after designing win-win strategies between buyers and sellers, and actually meeting all the parties in person (escrow officer, loan officer, etc) so that you can recognize them and say 'hello' when you pass them at the local grocery store.
Ask today's real estate practitioner what a termite inspector is looking for, or what a loan processor does, or what an appraiser's guidelines are to determine value, or the basic qualifying questions for a potential home buyer...these are just a small sampling of things that a true professional should know.
I could go on and on, but for now I will leave you with this thought...hiring a real estate professional is so much more than how much they are charging for their commission or how they will advertise your property (for a seller)...or who picks up the phone and can meet you at the property first (for a buyer). Make sure the person you hire actually knows, and understands their fiduciary duty to you. If they do, that is the first step to hiring a true professional.