During the last four decades I have observed, with some chagrin, an increase in complaints about agents who are not exercising their due diligence and who are exhibiting a lack of professionalism. Every Monday, it seems, many of us in management get a call or email outing an agent for a flagrant breach on an offer presentation or for failing to respond to a fellow agents’ inquiry.
Our registrar has seen complaints mount every year. Many complaints are about non-compliance with regulations. The real estate board here in Toronto has seen many more complaints from the public and fellow agents.
I have long lobbied for our disciplinary body to institute a mandatory ethics update course every two years, and it finally arrived in Ontario this summer. However, since then I have been mystified at how many issues we still have to handle on a weekly basis. Is it because some agents out there just don’t give a damn? I wonder how many agents were truthful when they took the online update.
Sure, some of us make the occasional error or blunder, but there are reports of continuous ethical breaches. Often when I ask agents who did this or that, the answer I get is, “Oh, I don’t have the time to lodge a complaint”, or “I don’t want to get him in trouble…” Good grief! Then how do they expect to help us clean up this growing number of miscreants? Many more great agents abide by proper practices and unfortunately get painted with a broad brush of negativity about our profession.
Getting back to why some blunders occur, I think it’s because we don’t say, “Wait a minute” enough. The rush to complete listings and agreements of purchase and sale often results in downright sloppiness.
Ask, “have I checked the details of the listing? For example, is there a locker included? Or, is the hot water heater leased or rented? Or, one of the most common errors: Is that roof really new? (“It’s two years new!”)
Here are some hard and fast rules to avoid potential breaches or errors:
Review the document. Check it more than once – then check it again. If you are not positive about something in it, call one of your brokers or managers. Think it over before you commit yourself and your brokerage.
Be respectful of all who are involved with your dealings. Don’t make up any of your own clauses that haven’t been approved. The same goes for any documents that may put you into conflict with provincial or federal guidelines, such as a valid Power Of Attorney.