First off, I need to acknowledge that the vast majority of REALTORS conduct their business ethically. I don't know statistically, but my guess is that we have as high a percentage of ethical members as any professional group in the USA. That said, a few bad apples can definitely spoil the barrel. There are some who just don't care and do whatever they please as long as they don't get caught. Some even get caught, fined and jump right back in doing the same old stuff. I think we can all agree that these agents are rare and we all decry their actions.
But there is another group that I want to address. They are the agents who are willing to cross over into the 'grey areas' if you will. They would never knowingly write a bad contract, fudge a report, suggest anyone lie about anything related to a transaction, take money 'under the table', etc, but at the same time, they see nothing wrong with ignoring city ordinances - yes, that's right, they think it's perfectly acceptable to break the law because "everyone else is doing it." Like undisciplined adolescents, they excuse themselves with this lame reasoning.
What am I talking about? Directional signs.
In our city, it is illegal to post directional signs (with only a few exceptions such as "open house" signs and they must be removed immediately after the event). And yet, we see them all over town. Our local board, NEFAR, has warned agents repeatedly that it is illegal, carrying hefty fines but agents continue to use them. Oh, the use tapers off a bit right after the warnings but then increases after awhile.
I've observed some street corners with as many as 8 different signs pointing in the same direction. (Ignoring the fact that they are illegal, does this even make good economical sense? If there is already a sign pointing toward my listing why on earth would I waste my money - let alone take the risk of being fined hundreds of dollars - putting up another sign?!)
And, really folks, do you like the way it makes our city streets look? I don't. To me it is just plain tacky. Also, if agents would practice good ethics by obeying this law, they would have good standing to demand that the city enforce the law as it applies to FSBOs too. Imagine if the FSBOs couldn't put up these signs how much harder it would be for them to attract buyers. As professionals, we are already paying for legal advertising. Let's make the FSBOs pay too.
You may ask, "Is this really a question of ethics?" I would answer, "absolutely!" What is more unethical than knowingly breaking the law?
Disclaimer: If directional signs are legal where you work then this article doesn't pertain to you.
ABOUT THE BLOG OWNER
TIMOTHY H. FENNELL, PA
Tim Fennell is a Florida licensed Real Estate Broker with The Legends of Real Estate, REALTORS® in Jacksonville, Florida.
His strong background in business development, real estate investments, counseling and marketing greatly enhance his skills as a Listing and Internet Marketing Specialist.
Tim and his wife, Susan, have over 30 years experience in Jacksonville Real Estate sales, marketing and investing. Both are Accredited Consultants in Real Estate (ACRE®). When you're ready to be consulted with, rather than sold to, give Tim and Susan Fennell a call.