In the real estate industry some people feel that real estate investors or agents lack conduct and ethics. This notion can be a little disappointing for investors. However, this notion is not absolutely true. Like every industry, real estate has their set of ethics as well. But, a few ignore them and this has led to the maligned image of the industry.
Sometimes agents work for the parties (the buyers and the sellers) and they do not disclose this information to the opposite party. This misconduct is unethical and could be profitable only for the agent. However, not all agents follow such practices. Thus, a generalization for unethical practices of agents would be unfair. In the real estate business ethics are not just about the agents, it’s also about lenders, appraisers, investors and even landlords and homeowners.
Customers: When you are dealing with your own customer it is necessary to disclose your identity. If need be you should be able to show your licenses, certificates, your experience and other details to your customers. You should inform the customer about all matters related to property. Disclose all information that may seem important, to help your customers. Whatever information you have about the customer, safeguard it and ensure that it is not misused.
If you’re an investor that deals in different properties, there would be times when clients of other investors or agents approach you for a particular property. If you’re aware that they’re clients for another agent then it’s advisable to ask them to approach you through their investor or agent.
Disclose any potential conflict of interest: It is ethical and sometimes statutory that you do not accept the advice of an advisor who has a conflict of interest with you.
Adhering to the laws: Real estate investment business has different laws that have to be adhered to. It is necessary for an investor to be aware of the existent laws and any amendments made recently. Relying on lawyers for all legal matters is not enough and your awareness about law helps you when you’re amidst such deals.
Lying to lenders: It is often seen that the mortgage brokers get faulty appraisals done to show the property value to be higher than the market value. This leads lenders providing risky loans to the buyers and leaving the buyers with marginal credit. The buyers are also not left with any equity if they do not have the credit to get such a mortgage. The lenders also end up risking higher amounts that may not be recovered.
Landlord ethics: Sometimes it’s observed that investors do not invest in neighborhoods where landlords have bad tenants or where properties are not maintained. These factors also affect the returns to investment. If you are renting out the premises to tenants it is necessary for you as a landlord, to ensure that your property is being used properly and no misuse for criminal activities is done. The upkeep and repairs on the property also need to be taken care of by the landlord.
If you’re an investor its advisable you consider the importance of ethical practices and try to follow them.