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Top Ethical Issues in Real Estate


While licensed professionals must act in an ethical manner in order to retain their licenses and avoid license loss, this does not always happen. When money is on the line, people will often go to great lengths to get as much money as possible. This may mean compromising their ethics and even engaging in criminal activity.

This is especially true in the real estate field, where there is a significant amount of money at stake. Real estate brokers and sales associates work on commission, so they want to maximize the amount of money they receive from a sale.

To do so, though, they often push the limits of what is ethical and what is not. This is especially true nowadays with the popularity of social media as well as the financial issues associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the biggest ethical issues facing real estate professionals in the current home market.

Handling Disclosures

Property disclosures are one of the biggest real estate disputes. Many agents hide property defects to avoid scaring off potential buyers. However, they must make disclosures within the scope of their license. If they are in doubt, disclosing is the best option.

Handling Multiple Offers

For a real estate agent, the higher offer obviously offers more commission, but that choice goes to the seller. The higher offer may come with a lot of contingencies, for example, and drag the process on for a while, while the cheaper offer may be a quick and easy deal. Realtors need to present all offers as objectively as possible. They also need to inform the seller and all buyers of confidentiality issues.

Accessing a Property Without Permission

Real estate agents aren’t always available to show a house to a client, but that doesn’t mean they have the authority to show the house whenever they feel like it. The seller sets the terms and conditions for showing the property, so agents need to make sure they abide by them. Allowing unauthorized users to access lockboxes is a violation that could lead to punishment.

Use of Social Media 

Sometimes the lines are blurred when it comes to what you can and cannot post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. However, the National Association of Realtors considers social media posts to be a form of marketing, so it’s important that agents represent themselves appropriately. This means using photos and content that accurately describe the property. Also, professional affiliations must be clear.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Real Estate Broker License Lawyer

Since the real estate industry typically involves properties worth six or seven figures, a lot is at stake. Sometimes real estate brokers will engage in unethical behavior in order to make a sale (and profit).

However, this can be detrimental to your license. If you are facing licensing issues, seek legal help right away from Tampa real estate broker license lawyer David P. Rankin. I have been involved in several hundred license discipline proceedings before the Florida Real Estate Commission and was the attorney for the Greater Tampa Realtors for 18 years. Schedule a consultation today by calling (813) 968-6633 or filling out the online form.