The Ethical Agent Always Wins!

Ethics and fair housing are two of the most important issues will face in your real estate career. Although ethics, as a philosophical discipline, is a vast topic, in the simplest sense, ethical behavior can be thought of as nothing more than doing the right thing, behaving with integrity, treating people fairly, evaluating a situation and choosing the moral path, even if that path is not the easiest one to follow.

How would you characterize an ethical person?

  • You might answer that "an ethical person would treat other people fairly and honestly regardless, of their background or ethnicity."
  • You might think that "an ethical person would be compassionate toward others and consider the needs of other people when making a decision".
  • You would probably agree that " an ethical person would have integrity in upholding principles and convictions in his or her actions regardless of personal consequences."

In fact, all of these would be accurate characterizations, wouldn't you agree?

Fraud and Misrepresentation

Real Estate professionals, Salesperson or Broker, have a duty to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation and unethical practices. They are expected to maintain high standards of professional conduct in their dealings with the public and with other licensees. Sadly, violations by licensees often take some form of misrepresentation.

Fraud is a deliberate act with the intent to deceive or with reckless indifference to the truth. Actual fraud is an intentional misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact. For example, if the seller's agent advises the sellers to paint their basement before showing the home in order to hide the smell of mold, and neither the licensee nor the homeowner discloses the mold problem, both are guilty of fraud.

Law and Ethics in Real Estate

In real estate, we have laws and ethics. Real Estate License Law is written and enforced at the state level and includes the fundamental requirements for those practicing in real estate.

As far as ethics are concerned, code of ethics can be found at both the state and industry level. The National Association of REALTORS Code of Ethics historically predates most license law in the country. All members of NAR are expected to take biennial training in the Code of Ethics, 3 hours every two years.

In addition to laws and ethics at the state and industry level, there are also important federal business laws that all real estate professionals must adhere to, like Antitrust, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Consumer protection laws.

Here in New York state, the Department of State requires all Real Estate licensees must complete 22.5 hours of approved real estate continuing education to include 3 hours of Fair Housing and 2 hrs of Law of Agency, if it's your first renewal cycle, or 1 hour of Law of Agency there after. The NAR Code of Ethics is not a real estate license requirement in New York state, however, if you belong to a Board of REALTORS, you must complete 3 hrs of Ethical training every 2 years. Keep in mind, not all Real Estate Brokers are members of this Trade Association.

Here at Manfred we provide all of the required courses for New York Real Estate license renewal, online or in the classroom, we also allow our Manfred Members unlimited continuing education classroom and online. For more information, click below or give us a call at (518) 489-1682