Real estate is one of the most lucrative industries. With the entrance of technology into the scene, however, fierce competition in the industry has forced real estate agents to change the way they do business. Unfortunately, it has become harder for a number of them to uphold honesty and high levels of ethical practice in their dealings with their clients.
More than an impressive educational background, several years of experience, honesty and fairness have become the most important qualities of a real estate agents. There are so many cases of people who’ve been left penniless and homeless after giving agents all their life’s saving for the payment of homes, condos and other investment only to get nothing at the end. While it is not easy to tell a dishonest agent from an honest one, it would pay to know the obligations of your agent in regard to ethics.
Ethical Requirements of Realtors
Most property buyers and investors do not know it, but it is a rule that real estate agents should put the interests of their clients before theirs. This means that they should not dwell too much on getting fatter commissions at the expense of fairness and honesty to the client. In addition, it is unforgivable for a realtor to knowingly give wrong information on the market value of a property to a client with the intention of deceiving him or her into listing it.
Whether you are buying or selling a property, you will have to let in your agent into information that you consider secret—in most cases, this is financial information. If he or she leaks the information to other parties including colleagues and clients, he or she has seriously breached the code of ethics governing realtors. Moreover, the confidential information should not be used for the benefit of the agent.
What to Do If Violation Occurs
Few real estate agents would care to explain the code of ethics under which they operate to their clients. Therefore, many people remain in the dark, never knowing when the agent behaves unethically. If you are convinced that a realtor has acted unethically in your business dealings, you can seek redress by filing a complaint with the Toronto real estate organization under which the agent in question operates.
There is a wide of range of sanctions which may be imposed on the agent if found to have gone against the code of ethics. They can be as light as a simple letter or warning or as heavy as expulsion from membership of the association. The agent’s license may also be cancelled in addition to paying a fine or being jailed if found guilty by the state.
The situation is not too bad. Most real estate agents out there are making fair, clean deals. However, knowing your rights as well as obligations of the realtor will do you more good than harm.