Your reputation is the most valuable thing you own.

Your reputation is the most valuable thing you own.

I recently wrote about my thoughts on the recent anti-underquoting legislation. Since the new legislation was announced, which I broadly support, I’ve noticed a number of overly negative stories in the media. Now this may simply be the government supporting their legislation with tough talk about “crackdowns’ and ‘shonky behaviour’ to appease the masses, however I don’t see much coverage on what the new legislation actually encompasses.

Most of the changes are aimed at providing clarity around setting and reviewing price estimates. They require greater transparency in how selling prices are determined (or reviewed), including justification in writing to the client and of course updating the sales agreement. Agents must also record all estimates (disclosures) provided to potential buyers while a property is being marketed. Price guides cannot range more than 10%, eg $1 million to $1.1 million. In addition terms such as ‘offers over’, ‘bidding from’, ‘offers above’ and other vague terms are banned.

To me these changes are all common sense. They’ll provide more clarity for buyers, sellers and agents which is a good thing. However these changes are clearly aimed at a very small percentage of operators who do the wrong thing and deserve to be named and shamed.

So why do a small number of operators, in almost all industries, do the wrong thing? The answer is ethics or, in this case, the lack of. Your reputation is the most valuable thing you have in business and it’s a combination of two things – what you’ve achieved and, more importantly, how you’ve gone about it. Being ethical is simply conducting yourself according to a set of principles and these are shaped in a large part by your upbringing and life experience.

My parents have been small business owners for three generations. In fact, my first sale job was working in their hardware store. I worked with my parents behind the counter from the age of ten and the experience it gave me was invaluable. Our reputation was based on great customer service, providing accurate information and delivering on what you promise; in other words, ethics. We built great relationships will all our customers and they knew and trusted us. To me having a customer for life is more important than having a lifetime of customers.

During my military service, especially the Australian Commandos, our code of ethics was central to everything we did. We knew we could rely on our fellow soldiers in any situation. Together with our rules of engagement we had very clear operational parameters for every situation. It was a code ethics we lived and operated by. Under operational conditions, having complete trust and faith in my fellow soldiers was crucial to coming home safe.

I value my integrity, it’s the cornerstone of my business. Real estate agents are often tarred with the one brush, portrayed in a negative light. While there are unscrupulous operators in every industry I take pride in the fact that Curran Property holds the values of honesty and integrity in every customer engagement. So, I’m glad the government is weeding out the “dodgy” operators; it just means there’s more room for the good ones!

Posted in Ethical practice, Legislation, Real estate commentary on 12th February, 2016

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