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Submit My Offer, Or Else! A Matter of Ethics…

Submit My Offer, Or Else! A Matter of Ethics…

So I get a call from a gentleman on one of my bank owned properties. Then a voicemail. Then a text. Then another call. (I’m out showing.) I nicely text him that I’ll call him back shortly, as I’m finishing up with a client. He called me 20 minutes later and says, “You didn’t call me back.” Ugh…  The conversation goes something like this:

Him: The house needs a new roof, there’s a hole.

Me: No there’s not. (It was repaired/replaced, almost seamless.)

Him: Yes there is. There’s a leak in the house.  I saw it. (mind you, he hasn’t been in the house.)

Me: No there’s not.

Him: And there was a fire in the electric.

Me: No there wasn’t.

Him: Yes there was.

Me: No there wasn’t. What makes you think there was?

Him: I saw through the window.  Burnt wires. (not a burn ANYWHERE, no wires LEFT!)

Now let me tell you, you can’t see ANYTHING through the windows of this house, the gas seals are all blown. I’m getting a bit annoyed at this point. So he asks is if I can show him the house NOW. I explain it’s getting dark and there’s no power on. He says he lives 3 blocks away. I do not. I agreed to drive to meet him. Walks in the door…

Him: There’s no heat.

Me: Nope, there’s no AC, either.

Him: The house has septic, doesn’t work, no good.

Me:Yup, but you can hook into sewer 200 feet away for a quarter of the price…

Him: There’s well water, no good.

Me: Yep but public water is right there at the curb.

Him: The roof is bad.

Me: PLEASE, let’s not start that again…

He asks how much the other offer is that’s on the table. I explain that I can’t tell him that, it’s illegal. “You can tell me!” he says. I asked him what number he’s thinking. It’s lower than the present offer that’s on the table. He then starts back at square one and starts to plead his case again, I explained that it’s not ME he has to convince, it’s the bank.

Him: But the house needs $60,000 in work.

Me: No it doesn’t, but what’s your point?

I explain the house is priced with the needed repairs already taken into account.

“I won’t pay that much,” he says. “Well, somebody else might,” I stated. “Nobody will!” he says.

Really? I explained that my other one last month went to a highest and best and sold for $13,000 over asking. I then explain that my job is to submit your offer to the bank. Again, it’s not ME that you have to convince, it’s the bank. He says, “Well, you’ll do that for me.”  I then have to explain to him that that is how the bank came up with the price in the first place, I already DID explain all of that to them. He then says, “Fine, I’ll have my home inspection, and I’ll demand a price reduction.” I then have to explain that the chances of that happening are remote. He’s buying the house as is.

He says, “I came directly to you so I can get the best price!”  I explain to him that he needs to understand that just because HE won’t pay that price doesn’t mean that somebody ELSE won’t., “I know the house is in bad shape.” I explain, “Hey, I’d love nothing more than to tell you this house. I don’t get paid if I don’t sell the house.” He gets annoyed, and says to just submit his offer. I explained that it’s less than the other offer on the table, he says, “Either you submit it or I’ll get another agent that will! You have to submit my offer!” I say okay, fine, & I did. We go to a highest and best, and what do you think happens? He loses to another person who pays more than list price.

Whose fault is it that he didn’t get the house? According to him, it’s mine. He says I didn’t explain how bad the house was to the bank. I had to explain to him that the house, like anything else, it is only worth what YOU’RE willing to pay for it. And the house was worth it to somebody else. He then yells at me that I was supposed to be representing him, & I didn’t do that because he didn’t get the house. Did I fail to mention that there were eight other offers on the table? And yes, he KNEW that. I now have to give him a lesson in ethics 101, explaining that there is no preferential treatment, and that I could lose my license if I had given it to him.  That HE was being unethical by asking me to tell him what other offers were on the table.  And that no single paycheck is worth my losing my career, my reputation.

So the next time somebody says, “Submit my offer (lowball) OR I’ll get an agent that will!” I will graciously pass them on to “someone that will…”

See below REALTOR Code of Ethics for 2016

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Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
of the National Association of REALTORS®
Effective January 1, 2016

Duties to Clients and Customers
Articles 1-9

Duties to the Public
Articles 10-14

Duties to REALTORS®
Articles 15-17

Where the word REALTORS® is used in this Code and Preamble, it shall be deemed to include REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.

Preamble
Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which REALTORS® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves. REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession. REALTORS® having direct personal knowledge of conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate Board or Association of REALTORS®. (Amended 1/00)

Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interests of those who utilize their services, REALTORS® urge exclusive representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over their competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about other practitioners. In instances where their opinion is sought, or where REALTORS® believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage or gain.

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal.

In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

Accepting this standard as their own, REALTORS® pledge to observe its spirit in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in accordance with the tenets set forth below. (Amended 1/07) [listen]

Duties to Clients and Customers
Article 1 (Case Interpretations for Article 1)

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01) [listen]

Standard of Practice 1-1
REALTORS®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-2
The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted in person, electronically, or through any other means.

The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are applicable whether REALTORS® are acting as agents or in legally recognized non-agency capacities except that any duty imposed exclusively on agents by law or regulation shall not be imposed by this Code of Ethics on REALTORS® acting in non-agency capacities.

As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the person(s) or entity(ies) with whom a REALTOR® or a REALTOR®’s firm has an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship; “customer” means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information, services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm; “prospect” means a purchaser, seller, tenant, or landlord who is not subject to a representation relationship with the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm; “agent” means a real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting in an agency relationship as defined by state law or regulation; and “broker” means a real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting as an agent or in a legally recognized non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)

Standard of Practice 1-3
REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.

Standard of Practice 1-4
REALTORS®, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant representative, shall not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or other benefits that might be realized through use of the REALTOR®’s services. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-5
REALTORS® may represent the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the same transaction only after full disclosure to and with informed consent of both parties. (Adopted 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-6
REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 1-7
When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS® shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing. REALTORS® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. REALTORS® shall recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance is contingent on the termination of the pre-existing purchase contract or lease. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-8
REALTORS® , acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall submit to buyers/tenants all offers and counter-offers until acceptance but have no obligation to continue to show properties to their clients after an offer has been accepted unless otherwise agreed in writing. REALTORS®, acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall recommend that buyers/tenants obtain the advice of legal counsel if there is a question as to whether a pre-existing contract has been terminated. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/99)

Standard of Practice 1-9
The obligation of REALTORS® to preserve confidential information (as defined by state law) provided by their clients in the course of any agency relationship or non-agency relationship recognized by law continues after termination of agency relationships or any non-agency relationships recognized by law. REALTORS® shall not knowingly, during or following the termination of professional relationships with their clients:

reveal confidential information of clients; or
use confidential information of clients to the disadvantage of clients; or
use confidential information of clients for the REALTOR®’s advantage or the advantage of third parties unless:
a) clients consent after full disclosure; or
b) REALTORS® are required by court order; or
c) it is the intention of a client to commit a crime and the information is necessary to prevent the crime; or
d) it is necessary to defend a REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s employees or associates against an accusation of wrongful conduct.
Information concerning latent material defects is not considered confidential information under this Code of Ethics. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/01)

Standard of Practice 1-10
REALTORS® shall, consistent with the terms and conditions of their real estate licensure and their property management agreement, competently manage the property of clients with due regard for the rights, safety and health of tenants and others lawfully on the premises. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/00)

Standard of Practice 1-11
REALTORS® who are employed to maintain or manage a client’s property shall exercise due diligence and make reasonable efforts to protect it against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and losses. (Adopted 1/95)

Standard of Practice 1-12
When entering into listing contracts, REALTORS® must advise sellers/landlords of:

the REALTOR®’s company policies regarding cooperation and the amount(s) of any compensation that will be offered to subagents, buyer/tenant agents, and/or brokers acting in legally recognized non-agency capacities;
the fact that buyer/tenant agents or brokers, even if compensated by listing brokers, or by sellers/landlords may represent the interests of buyers/tenants; and
any potential for listing brokers to act as disclosed dual agents, e.g. buyer/tenant agents. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/03)
Standard of Practice 1-13
When entering into buyer/tenant agreements, REALTORS® must advise potential clients of:

the REALTOR®’s company policies regarding cooperation;
the amount of compensation to be paid by the client;
the potential for additional or offsetting compensation from other brokers, from the seller or landlord, or from other parties;
any potential for the buyer/tenant representative to act as a disclosed dual agent, e.g. listing broker, subagent, landlord’s agent, etc., and
the possibility that sellers or sellers’ representatives may not treat the existence, terms, or conditions of offers as confidential unless confidentiality is required by law, regulation, or by any confidentiality agreement between the parties. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/06)
Standard of Practice 1-14
Fees for preparing appraisals or other valuations shall not be contingent upon the amount of the appraisal or valuation. (Adopted 1/02)

Standard of Practice 1-15
REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03, Amended 1/09)

Standard of Practice 1-16
REALTORS® shall not use, or permit or enable others to use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller. (Adopted 1/12)

Article 2 (Case Interpretations for Article 2)

REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. REALTORS® shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency or non-agency relationships as defined by state law. (Amended 1/00) [listen]

Standard of Practice 2-1
REALTORS® shall only be obligated to discover and disclose adverse factors reasonably apparent to someone with expertise in those areas required by their real estate licensing authority. Article 2 does not impose upon the REALTOR® the obligation of expertise in other professional or technical disciplines. (Amended 1/96)

Standard of Practice 2-2
(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-12 1/98)

Standard of Practice 2-3
(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-13 1/98)

Standard of Practice 2-4
REALTORS® shall not be parties to the naming of a false consideration in any document, unless it be the naming of an obviously nominal consideration.

Standard of Practice 2-5
Factors defined as “non-material” by law or regulation or which are expressly referenced in law or regulation as not being subject to disclosure are considered not “pertinent” for purposes of Article 2. (Adopted 1/93)

Article 3 (Case Interpretations for Article 3)

REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker. (Amended 1/95) [listen]

Standard of Practice 3-1
REALTORS®, acting as exclusive agents or brokers of sellers/ landlords, establish the terms and conditions of offers to cooperate. Unless expressly indicated in offers to cooperate, cooperating brokers may not assume that the offer of cooperation includes an offer of compensation. Terms of compensation, if any, shall be ascertained by cooperating brokers before beginning efforts to accept the offer of cooperation. (Amended 1/99)

Standard of Practice 3-2
Any change in compensation offered for cooperative services must be communicated to the other REALTOR® prior to the time that REALTOR®
submits an offer to purchase/lease the property. After a REALTOR® has submitted an offer to purchase or lease property, the listing broker may
not attempt to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect to that cooperative transaction. (Amended 1/14)

Standard of Practice 3-3
Standard of Practice 3-2 does not preclude the listing broker and cooperating broker from entering into an agreement to change cooperative compensation. (Adopted 1/94)

Standard of Practice 3-4
REALTORS®, acting as listing brokers, have an affirmative obligation to disclose the existence of dual or variable rate commission arrangements (i.e., listings where one amount of commission is payable if the listing broker’s firm is the procuring cause of sale/lease and a different amount of commission is payable if the sale/lease results through the efforts of the seller/ landlord or a cooperating broker). The listing broker shall, as soon as practical, disclose the existence of such arrangements to potential cooperating brokers and shall, in response to inquiries from cooperating brokers, disclose the differential that would result in a cooperative transaction or in a sale/lease that results through the efforts of the seller/landlord. If the cooperating broker is a buyer/tenant representative, the buyer/tenant representative must disclose such information to their client before the client makes an offer to purchase or lease. (Amended 1/02)

Standard of Practice 3-5
It is the obligation of subagents to promptly disclose all pertinent facts to the principal’s agent prior to as well as after a purchase or lease agreement is executed. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 3-6
REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation. (Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 3-7
When seeking information from another REALTOR® concerning property under a management or listing agreement, REALTORS® shall disclose their REALTOR® status and whether their interest is personal or on behalf of a client and, if on behalf of a client, their relationship with the client. (Amended 1/11)

Standard of Practice 3-8
REALTORS® shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or inspect a listed property. (Amended 11/87)

Standard of Practice 3-9
REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker. (Adopted 1/10)

Standard of Practice 3-10
The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of sellers/landlords. (Adopted 1/11)

Article 4 (Case Interpretations for Article 4)

REALTORS® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest, any real property without making their true position known to the owner or the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they have any interest, REALTORS® shall reveal their ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s representative. (Amended 1/00) [listen]

Standard of Practice 4-1
For the protection of all parties, the disclosures required by Article 4 shall be in writing and provided by REALTORS® prior to the signing of any contract. (Adopted 2/86)

Article 5 (Case Interpretations for Article 5)

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning a property or its value where they have a present or contemplated interest unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties. [listen]

Article 6 (Case Interpretations for Article 6)

REALTORS® shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and consent.

When recommending real estate products or services (e.g., homeowner’s insurance, warranty programs, mortgage financing, title insurance, etc.), REALTORS® shall disclose to the client or customer to whom the recommendation is made any financial benefits or fees, other than real estate referral fees, the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm may receive as a direct result of such recommendation. (Amended 1/99) [listen]

Standard of Practice 6-1
REALTORS® shall not recommend or suggest to a client or a customer the use of services of another organization or business entity in which they have a direct interest without disclosing such interest at the time of the recommendation or suggestion. (Amended 5/88)

Article 7 (Case Interpretations for Article 7)

In a transaction, REALTORS® shall not accept compensation from more than one party, even if permitted by law, without disclosure to all parties and the informed consent of the REALTOR®’s client or clients. (Amended 1/93) [listen]

Article 8 (Case Interpretations for Article 8)

REALTORS® shall keep in a special account in an appropriate financial institution, separated from their own funds, monies coming into their possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, trust funds, clients’ monies, and other like items. [listen]

Article 9 (Case Interpretations for Article 9)

REALTORS®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing. (Amended 1/04) [listen]

Standard of Practice 9-1
For the protection of all parties, REALTORS® shall use reasonable care to ensure that documents pertaining to the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate are kept current through the use of written extensions or amendments. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 9-2
When assisting or enabling a client or customer in establishing a contractual relationship (e.g., listing and representation agreements, purchase agreements, leases, etc.) electronically, REALTORS® shall make reasonable efforts to explain the nature and disclose the specific terms of the contractual relationship being established prior to it being agreed to by a contracting party. (Adopted 1/07)

Duties to the Public
Article 10 (Case Interpretations for Article 10)

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14) [listen]

Standard of Practice 10-1
When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however, REALTORS® may provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/06)

Standard of Practice 10-2
When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a property, transaction or professional assignment to a party if such demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source. The source of such information and any additions, deletions, modifications, interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in reasonable detail. (Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06)

Standard of Practice 10-3
REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/14)

Standard of Practice 10-4
As used in Article 10 “real estate employment practices” relates to employees and independent contractors providing real estate-related services and the administrative and clerical staff directly supporting those individuals. (Adopted 1/00, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06)

Article 11 (Case Interpretations for Article 11)

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/10) [listen]

Standard of Practice 11-1
When REALTORS® prepare opinions of real property value or price they must:

be knowledgeable about the type of property being valued,
have access to the information and resources necessary to formulate an accurate opinion, and
be familiar with the area where the subject property is located
unless lack of any of these is disclosed to the party requesting the opinion in advance.

When an opinion of value or price is prepared other than in pursuit of a listing or to assist a potential purchaser in formulating a purchase offer, the opinion shall include the following unless the party requesting the opinion requires a specific type of report or different data set:

identification of the subject property
date prepared
defined value or price
limiting conditions, including statements of purpose(s) and intended user(s)
any present or contemplated interest, including the possibility of representing the seller/landlord or buyers/tenants
basis for the opinion, including applicable market data
if the opinion is not an appraisal, a statement to that effect
disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s exterior was conducted
disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s interior was conducted
disclosure of whether the REALTOR® has any conflicts of interest (Amended 1/14)
Standard of Practice 11-2
The obligations of the Code of Ethics in respect of real estate disciplines other than appraisal shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the standards of competence and practice which clients and the public reasonably require to protect their rights and interests considering the complexity of the transaction, the availability of expert assistance, and, where the REALTOR® is an agent or subagent, the obligations of a fiduciary. (Adopted 1/95)

Standard of Practice 11-3
When REALTORS® provide consultive services to clients which involve advice or counsel for a fee (not a commission), such advice shall be rendered in an objective manner and the fee shall not be contingent on the substance of the advice or counsel given. If brokerage or transaction services are to be provided in addition to consultive services, a separate compensation may be paid with prior agreement between the client and REALTOR®. (Adopted 1/96)

Standard of Practice 11-4
The competency required by Article 11 relates to services contracted for between REALTORS® and their clients or customers; the duties expressly imposed by the Code of Ethics; and the duties imposed by law or regulation. (Adopted 1/02)

Article 12 (Case Interpretations for Article 12)

REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08) [listen]

Standard of Practice 12-1
REALTORS® may use the term “free” and similar terms in their advertising and in other representations provided that all terms governing availability of the offered product or service are clearly disclosed at the same time. (Amended 1/97)

Standard of Practice 12-2
REALTORS® may represent their services as “free” or without cost even if they expect to receive compensation from a source other than their client provided that the potential for the REALTOR® to obtain a benefit from a third party is clearly disclosed at the same time. (Amended 1/97)

Standard of Practice 12-3
The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not, in itself, unethical even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on listing, selling, purchasing, or leasing through the REALTOR® making the offer. However, REALTORS® must exercise care and candor in any such advertising or other public or private representations so that any party interested in receiving or otherwise benefiting from the REALTOR®’s offer will have clear, thorough, advance understanding of all the terms and conditions of the offer. The offering of any inducements to do business is subject to the limitations and restrictions of state law and the ethical obligations established by any applicable Standard of Practice. (Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 12-4
REALTORS® shall not offer for sale/lease or advertise property without authority. When acting as listing brokers or as subagents, REALTORS® shall not quote a price different from that agreed upon with the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 12-5
Realtors® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that Realtor®’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures. (Adopted 11/86, Amended 1/16)

Standard of Practice 12-6
REALTORS®, when advertising unlisted real property for sale/lease in which they have an ownership interest, shall disclose their status as both owners/landlords and as REALTORS® or real estate licensees. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 12-7
Only REALTORS® who participated in the transaction as the listing broker or cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim to have “sold” the property. Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may post a “sold” sign only with the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/96)

Standard of Practice 12-8
The obligation to present a true picture in representations to the public includes information presented, provided, or displayed on REALTORS®’ websites. REALTORS® shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that information on their websites is current. When it becomes apparent that information on a REALTOR®’s website is no longer current or accurate, REALTORS® shall promptly take corrective action. (Adopted 1/07)

Standard of Practice 12-9
REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that REALTOR®’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

Standard of Practice 12-10
REALTORS®’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® from:

engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or
presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or
to otherwise mislead consumers. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/13)
Standard of Practice 12-11
REALTORS® intending to share or sell consumer information gathered via the Internet shall disclose that possibility in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

Standard of Practice 12-12
REALTORS® shall not:

use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or
register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less than a true picture. (Adopted 1/08)
Standard of Practice 12-13
The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS® to use and display only professional designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are legitimately entitled. (Adopted 1/08)

Article 13 (Case Interpretations for Article 13)

REALTORS® shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law and shall recommend that legal counsel be obtained when the interest of any party to the transaction requires it. [listen]

Article 14 (Case Interpretations for Article 14)

If charged with unethical practice or asked to present evidence or to cooperate in any other way, in any professional standards proceeding or investigation, REALTORS® shall place all pertinent facts before the proper tribunals of the Member Board or affiliated institute, society, or council in which membership is held and shall take no action to disrupt or obstruct such processes. (Amended 1/99) [listen]

Standard of Practice 14-1
REALTORS® shall not be subject to disciplinary proceedings in more than one Board of REALTORS® or affiliated institute, society or council in which they hold membership with respect to alleged violations of the Code of Ethics relating to the same transaction or event. (Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 14-2
REALTORS® shall not make any unauthorized disclosure or dissemination of the allegations, findings, or decision developed in connection with an ethics hearing or appeal or in connection with an arbitration hearing or procedural review. (Amended 1/92)

Standard of Practice 14-3
REALTORS® shall not obstruct the Board’s investigative or professional standards proceedings by instituting or threatening to institute actions for libel, slander or defamation against any party to a professional standards proceeding or their witnesses based on the filing of an arbitration request, an ethics complaint, or testimony given before any tribunal. (Adopted 11/87, Amended 1/99)

Standard of Practice 14-4
REALTORS® shall not intentionally impede the Board’s investigative or disciplinary proceedings by filing multiple ethics complaints based on the same event or transaction. (Adopted 11/88)

Duties to REALTORS®
Article 15 (Case Interpretations for Article 15)

REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices. (Amended 1/12) [listen]

Standard of Practice 15-1
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded ethics complaints. (Adopted 1/00)

Standard of Practice 15-2
The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses and their business practices includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly publish, repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others. This duty applies whether false or misleading statements are repeated in person, in writing, by technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/12)

Standard of Practice 15-3
The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, and their business practices includes the duty to publish a clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading. (Adopted 1/10, Amended 1/12)

Article 16 (Case Interpretations for Article 16)

REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients. (Amended 1/04) [listen]

Standard of Practice 16-1
Article 16 is not intended to prohibit aggressive or innovative business practices which are otherwise ethical and does not prohibit disagreements with other REALTORS® involving commission, fees, compensation or other forms of payment or expenses. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 16-2
Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from making general announcements to prospects describing their services and the terms of their availability even though some recipients may have entered into agency agreements or other exclusive relationships with another REALTOR®. A general telephone canvass, general mailing or distribution addressed to all prospects in a given geographical area or in a given profession, business, club, or organization, or other classification or group is deemed “general” for purposes of this standard. (Amended 1/04)

Article 16 is intended to recognize as unethical two basic types of solicitations:

First, telephone or personal solicitations of property owners who have been identified by a real estate sign, multiple listing compilation, or other information service as having exclusively listed their property with another REALTOR®, and

Second, mail or other forms of written solicitations of prospects whose properties are exclusively listed with another REALTOR® when such solicitations are not part of a general mailing but are directed specifically to property owners identified through compilations of current listings, “for sale” or “for rent” signs, or other sources of information required by Article 3 and Multiple Listing Service rules to be made available to other REALTORS® under offers of subagency or cooperation. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-3
Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to provide, or entering into a contract to provide, a different type of real estate service unrelated to the type of service currently being provided (e.g., property management as opposed to brokerage) or from offering the same type of service for property not subject to other brokers’ exclusive agreements. However, information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other REALTORS® to whom such offers to provide services may be made. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-4
REALTORS® shall not solicit a listing which is currently listed exclusively with another broker. However, if the listing broker, when asked by the REALTOR®, refuses to disclose the expiration date and nature of such listing; i.e., an exclusive right to sell, an exclusive agency, open listing, or other form of contractual agreement between the listing broker and the client, the REALTOR® may contact the owner to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTOR® might take a future listing or, alternatively, may take a listing to become effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive listing. (Amended 1/94)

Standard of Practice 16-5
REALTORS® shall not solicit buyer/tenant agreements from buyers/ tenants who are subject to exclusive buyer/tenant agreements. However, if asked by a REALTOR®, the broker refuses to disclose the expiration date of the exclusive buyer/tenant agreement, the REALTOR® may contact the buyer/tenant to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTOR® might enter into a future buyer/tenant agreement or, alternatively, may enter into a buyer/tenant agreement to become effective upon the expiration of any existing exclusive buyer/tenant agreement. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-6
When REALTORS® are contacted by the client of another REALTOR® regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same type of service, and REALTORS® have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into a future agreement or, alternatively, may enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive agreement. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-7
The fact that a prospect has retained a REALTOR® as an exclusive representative or exclusive broker in one or more past transactions does not preclude other REALTORS® from seeking such prospect’s future business. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-8
The fact that an exclusive agreement has been entered into with a REALTOR® shall not preclude or inhibit any other REALTOR® from entering into a similar agreement after the expiration of the prior agreement. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-9
REALTORS®, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide the same type of real estate service. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-10
REALTORS®, acting as buyer or tenant representatives or brokers, shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker at first contact and shall provide written confirmation of that disclosure to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker not later than execution of a purchase agreement or lease. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-11
On unlisted property, REALTORS® acting as buyer/tenant representatives or brokers shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord at first contact for that buyer/tenant and shall provide written confirmation of such disclosure to the seller/landlord not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

REALTORS® shall make any request for anticipated compensation from the seller/ landlord at first contact. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-12
REALTORS®, acting as representatives or brokers of sellers/landlords or as subagents of listing brokers, shall disclose that relationship to buyers/tenants as soon as practicable and shall provide written confirmation of such disclosure to buyers/tenants not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-13
All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.

Before providing substantive services (such as writing a purchase offer or presenting a CMA) to prospects, REALTORS® shall ask prospects whether they are a party to any exclusive representation agreement. REALTORS® shall not knowingly provide substantive services concerning a prospective transaction to prospects who are parties to exclusive representation agreements, except with the consent of the prospects’ exclusive representatives or at the direction of prospects. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-14
REALTORS® are free to enter into contractual relationships or to negotiate with sellers/ landlords, buyers/tenants or others who are not subject to an exclusive agreement but shall not knowingly obligate them to pay more than one commission except with their informed consent. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-15
In cooperative transactions REALTORS® shall compensate cooperating REALTORS® (principal brokers) and shall not compensate nor offer to compensate, directly or indirectly, any of the sales licensees employed by or affiliated with other REALTORS® without the prior express knowledge and consent of the cooperating broker.

Standard of Practice 16-16
REALTORS®, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase/lease to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers nor make the submission of an executed offer to purchase/lease contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-17
REALTORS®, acting as subagents or as buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not attempt to extend a listing broker’s offer of cooperation and/or compensation to other brokers without the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-18
REALTORS® shall not use information obtained from listing brokers through offers to cooperate made through multiple listing services or through other offers of cooperation to refer listing brokers’ clients to other brokers or to create buyer/tenant relationships with listing brokers’ clients, unless such use is authorized by listing brokers. (Amended 1/02)

Standard of Practice 16-19
Signs giving notice of property for sale, rent, lease, or exchange shall not be placed on property without consent of the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 16-20
REALTORS®, prior to or after their relationship with their current firm is terminated, shall not induce clients of their current firm to cancel exclusive contractual agreements between the client and that firm. This does not preclude REALTORS® (principals) from establishing agreements with their associated licensees governing assignability of exclusive agreements. (Adopted 1/98, Amended 1/10)

Article 17 (Case Interpretations for Article 17)

In the event of contractual disputes or specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 between REALTORS® (principals) associated with different firms, arising out of their relationship as REALTORS®, the REALTORS® shall mediate the dispute if the Board requires its members to mediate. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation, or if mediation is not required, REALTORS® shall submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the policies of their Board rather than litigate the matter.

In the event clients of REALTORS® wish to mediate or arbitrate contractual disputes arising out of real estate transactions, REALTORS® shall mediate or arbitrate those disputes in accordance with the policies of the Board, provided the clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or award.

The obligation to participate in mediation or arbitration contemplated by this Article includes the obligation of REALTORS® (principals) to cause their firms to mediate or arbitrate and be bound by any resulting agreement or award. (Amended 1/12) [listen]

Standard of Practice 17-1
The filing of litigation and refusal to withdraw from it by REALTORS® in an arbitrable matter constitutes a refusal to arbitrate. (Adopted 2/86)

Standard of Practice 17-2
Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to mediate in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose not to mediate through the Board’s facilities. The fact that all parties decline to participate in mediation does not relieve REALTORS® of the duty to arbitrate.

Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to arbitrate in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose not to arbitrate before the Board. (Amended 1/12)

Standard of Practice 17-3
REALTORS®, when acting solely as principals in a real estate transaction, are not obligated to arbitrate disputes with other REALTORS® absent a specific written agreement to the contrary. (Adopted 1/96)

Standard of Practice 17-4
Specific non-contractual disputes that are subject to arbitration pursuant to Article 17 are:

Where a listing broker has compensated a cooperating broker and another cooperating broker subsequently claims to be the procuring cause of the sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the listing broker and any amount credited or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)

Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the seller or landlord and any amount credited or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)

Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the buyer or tenant and, as a result, the listing broker reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97)

Where two or more listing brokers claim entitlement to compensation pursuant to open listings with a seller or landlord who agrees to participate in arbitration (or who requests arbitration) and who agrees to be bound by the decision. In cases where one of the listing brokers has been compensated by the seller or landlord, the other listing broker, as complainant, may name the first listing broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed between the brokers. (Adopted 1/97)

Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases arbitration shall be between the listing broker and the buyer or tenant representative and the amount in dispute is limited to the amount of the reduction of commission to which the listing broker agreed. (Adopted 1/05)
Standard of Practice 17-5
The obligation to arbitrate established in Article 17 includes disputes between REALTORS® (principals) in different states in instances where, absent an established inter–association arbitration agreement, the REALTOR® (principal) requesting arbitration agrees to submit to the jurisdiction of, travel to, participate in, and be bound by any resulting award rendered in arbitration conducted by the respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association, in instances where the respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association determines that an arbitrable issue exists. (Adopted 1/07)

Explanatory Notes
The reader should be aware of the following policies which have been approved by the Board of Directors of the National Association:

In filing a charge of an alleged violation of the Code of Ethics by a REALTOR®, the charge must read as an alleged violation of one or more Articles of the Code. Standards of Practice may be cited in support of the charge.

The Standards of Practice serve to clarify the ethical obligations imposed by the various Articles and supplement, and do not substitute for, the Case Interpretations in Interpretations of the Code of Ethics.

Modifications to existing Standards of Practice and additional new Standards of Practice are approved from time to time. Readers are cautioned to ensure that the most recent publications are utilized.

Copyright 2016, National Association of REALTORS®, All rights reserved. Form No. 166-288 (01/14 VG)

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Stay in Your Own Lane!!!

Stay in Your Own Lane!!!

BY

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Northfield DRE#1008764

Stay in Your Own Lane!!!

Earlier on my way home from the gym, I was listening to a great channel on Sirius XM. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with Joel Osteen, but he also has a gentleman that is on his channel, and for the life of me I have no idea who he is. He’s funny as all get out, and still manages to get his point across (Guy after my own heart). I was able to take away a few things from the ride home that makes complete and total sense, and I’m going to give them a little twist from a real estate  perspective.

When it comes to real estate, each and every one of us take an insanely different approach. I’m not just talking about being able to read a client, pick out which “type” of person they are and act accordingly. I’m talking about how we conduct ourselves as agents. With real estate, there really isn’t any one size fits all. I may not be able to do what you do the way you do it, but you can’t possibly do things the same way I do them. Our personalities may be so far apart, and maybe not, but we each put our own flair on our approach because of who we are. We can learn different things from different people, and some of those people love to say,  “I taught you everything you know, but I didn’t think teach you everything I know.”  But that’s when you can turn around and say. “You may have taught me everything I know, but you can’t do it the way I do it.”

 Back in the day, one of my favorite sayings was, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”  As the years have gone by and I have learned that I don’t always know what I need to, and there’s still plenty that I need to learn everyday, I had to tweak that a bit. Now it’s more like driving a car, but much faster. You may drive a BMW, I made drive a truck, but we all drive in our own lane. We can change lanes, change directions to get where we need to go, learning with different people, trying to reach our destination of our own greatness.  But the most important thing to remember is to stay in our own lane. Passing is allowed, as long as its not done on the right. No taking advantage along the way. Enjoy the different scenery as you go. We can learn different things from different people…

Pay it forward!!!

Chris :0)

Whether you’re looking to buy a home, or trying to sell a home, I can help! We have the best real estate marketing to get your house sold, best realtor services ever! I cover Atlantic County, NJ, Cape May County, NJ, Ocean County, NJ, Cumberland County, NJ, , Gloucester County, NJ, Camden County, NJ and Burlington County, NJ, too! Pick a town, any town! Need some suggestions? Ok! Absecon, Galloway, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Linwood, Somers Point, Ocean City, Sea Isle, Hammonton, Williamstown, Sicklerville, Mullica, Tuckahoe, Middle Township, Upper Township, Lower Township, Rio Grande, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, New Gretna, and Port Republic. Any you don’t see here? CALL ME! I’m sure I’m on it!

Chris :0)

Christine Gerbehy

Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors

Northfield Office

1001 Tilton Rd. Northfield, NJ 08225

609-646-1900

I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!

I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!

So…

You’d like me to sell your house you say?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  BUT.  There’s a few things you’ll need to do first.  Like patch the holes in the walls?  Paint the black walls a slightly lighter shade?  Rake the leaves from last year?  Ok?  You get that done, and I’l be back in 2 weeks to take the listing and take AWESOME pics of your house, m’kayyyyy?

I'm GOOD, but I'm NOT God!
I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!

Fast forward to 2 weeks later…

 

I pull up, leaves are pretty much gone, ok, good.  But the garbage cans are overflowing in the driveway, one is knocked over onto the lawn.  Heading for the door, I’m almost afraid to see what’s inside.  I knock, owner is all smiles.  The black room is now a perky purpley lavender color.   Ooooooooookay fine.  I go to check the walls.  Where the holes were, I MEAN are, there ARE now 2 dressers in front of them!  As in, the holes are still there!!!

So now I try to reason with the owner that the holes are, errrrr, unacceptable?  They don’t want to have to fix them.  Alllllllrighty then.  Moving on…

So, I start taking pictures of the home, asking the husband to please move the garbage cans so that I can get a good pic of the outside.  I get to the kid’s rooms, there are toys EVERYWHERE.  NOT on shelves, or neatly arranged.  Like, I couldn’t go in the room without twisting my ankles, which I DID.  Legos everywhere.  Books on top of toys on top of trucks.  Ok, let’s pass on the pics of THAT room.  I get to the master bedroom.  I kid you not, there were dirty clothes EVERYWHERE.  I can’t…..

At this point, I feel like I need a shower.  I’m done.  I get to the kitchen, where the sink is full of dirty dishes, condiments from their taco Tuesday all over the counter.   A cheery, “All done?!” from the wife.  Yep, I’m DONE all right.  “What’s wrong?” she asks.  What ISN’T?

I now explain to her that there is no way on this green earth that I can post pics of the house like this if they ever want to get it sold.  I explained that I gave them 2 weeks, and they didn’t do anything except paint the black room.  She then says she sees pics of rooms like this posted on the internet all the time.  To which I say “Yes, and that’s why they haven’t sold yet!!!  She sees nothing wrong.  She thinks the home will sell itself.  She literally says, sarcastically, “Well, if you don’t think you can sell it…”

At that point, I pick up my listing agreement and my camera, and I say, “Listen, I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!  I am NOT a miracle worker!  I cannot wave my hand and BAM!  Your house is sold!  I think you need another agent…”   3 weeks later, the home still wasn’t listed.  I watched and waited.  2 weeks after that, somebody’s sign was in the ground.  Turned out to be a newbie agent.  Not only were the MLS pics of the inside full of the laundry, the toys and the dishes, but the house was also priced $30k OVER what I told them they needed to list it for!  Newbie+lazy listers+tell the seller what they wanna hear=recipe for disaster.  Last I checked, the house was still listed at the same price, on the market for 146 days.  Did a driveby, same overflowing garbage, different day.  Eventually, they’ll learn.  Or get another agent that will do the right thing, as long as THEY do, too…

Guys, we ALL, as in ALL agents, are here to help you sell your home.  But we CAN’T if you don’t help.  Of course you love your house.  But you need to step back and ask yourself, would someone ELSE love my house if they were here right now?  First impressions are HUGE here.  You need to clean.  Declutter.  Polish your home like the diamond that it can be.  Only then can we get it sold for top dollar.

Whether you’re looking to buy a home, or trying to sell a home, I can help! We have the best real estate marketing to get your house sold, best realtor services ever! I cover Atlantic County, NJ, Cape May County, NJ, Ocean County, NJ, Cumberland County, NJ, , Gloucester County, NJ, Camden County, NJ and Burlington County, NJ, too! Pick a town, any town! Need some suggestions? Ok! Absecon, Galloway, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Linwood, Somers Point, Ocean City, Sea Isle, Hammonton, Williamstown, Sicklerville, Mullica, Tuckahoe, Middle Township, Upper Township, Lower Township, Rio Grande, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, New Gretna, and Port Republic. Any you don’t see here? CALL ME! I’m sure I’m on it!

Chris :0)

Christine Gerbehy

Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors

Northfield Office

1001 Tilton Rd. Northfield, NJ 08225

609-646-1900

I’m a Realtor, NOT a Referee!

I’m a Realtor, NOT a Referee!

   Ok, so the ongoing reality is that when we went to real estate school, they taught us the LAW, NOT how to sell a home.  Well, there’s a WHOLE LOTTA OTHER things they didn’t teach us…

 

Liiiiike, how to negotiate… how to deal with rejection, aaaaaaand…

 

                                                                          HOW TO BE A REFEREE

 

“Wait, WHAT?!” you ask?  This isn’t what I signed up for!!!  I don’t play games… watch baseball… watch fights…  Oh, wait, yes, I do…

 

Now.  I deal with quite a few rehabbers, fixand flippers, partners of sorts.  Now YOU would think, and I would think, that in a partnership, everything’s hunky dory.  Partners know each other.  Meep!!!!  WRONG!!!  Creative differences are one thing.  Financials are another.  PERSONAL takes it to a whole new level…

 

I’ve been told BY SAID CLIENTS that I should have been a marriage counselor, a mediator, or,at minimum, a referee.  I have one set that didn’t make it through a deal.  I have another set that are KILLING each other every.  Single.  DAY.  And yet another that bicker on a daily basis.

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  DING!!!

 

 

And it’s let the games begin….   I keep telling them that they need to meet in the middle, because at the end of the day, it’s all about the paycheck.  Two deals kept threatening each other with lawyers, they quit, they want to dissolve their partnership.  DING!!!!  ONE kept screaming, “List the house as is!!!” half completed. The other said, “I’ll let the place get foreclosed on first!!!”  I keep explaining that if I list it as is, they won’t get out as even a break-even.  I spent 2 1/2 HOURS tonite in the middle of 2 SCREAMING partners/clients that I’m in my 2nd deal with.  I know they’ll get through it, as I’ve been here with them before.  One headache and a bottle of wine later, everybody left on speaking terms.  DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!  “The one looks at me and says, “You sould have been a referee, or at LEAST a marriage counselor!”  The other one apologizes and says,”I’m sorry, you don’t get paid to do this…”  I just looked at her, because it seems that in many of my deals, this is the norm.  As I hit the mat, down for the count, the final bell goes off…

 

We all deal with it.  Arguing spouses over whether to accept the low offer on their homes, partners arguing over how the money is spent, rehabbers fighting over what design will net them more money on the out number.  This is a time when you really hope that you really REALLY know your clients, so you can head the problems off at the pass.  Why?  Because if you can’t, or don’t, it will be YOU that will not get paid when the deal falls apart…

 

Remember, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee?”  You have float like a butterfly,  feel out the situation, try to calm it down, but if people are too busy mud-slinging, STING LIE A BEE.  MAKE THEM STOP.  Explain that it’s counterproductive to getting the deal DONE.  Clients hitting below the belt verbally?  TKO, disarm the argument.  Agents need to learn how to do the old verbal rope a dope.  Sometimes it can truly be an art form.  Verbal sparring is the order of the day.  Are you ready to come out punching?

 

 

 

Whether you’re looking to buy a home, or trying to sell a home, I can help! We have the best real estate marketing to get your house sold, best realtor services ever! I cover Atlantic County, NJ, Cape May County, NJ, Ocean County, NJ, Cumberland County, NJ, , Gloucester County, NJ, Camden County, NJ and Burlington County, NJ, too! Pick a town, any town! Need some suggestions? Ok! Absecon, Galloway, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Linwood, Somers Point, Ocean City, Sea Isle, Hammonton, Williamstown, Sicklerville, Mullica, Tuckahoe, Middle Township, Upper Township, Lower Township, Rio Grande, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, New Gretna, and Port Republic. Any you don’t see here? CALL ME! I’m sure I’m on it!

Chris :0)

Christine Gerbehy

Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors

Northfield Office

1001 Tilton Rd. Northfield, NJ 08225

609-646-1900

In order to be successful at anything in life, you have to EMBRACE THE SUCK.

In order to be successful at anything in life, you have to EMBRACE THE SUCK.

What is the suck you ask? The suck is anything that you have to do, that you KNOW you have to do, that you really don’t want to have to do, EVER. The fact remains, you GOTTA do it. This goes for real estate, sales, really life in general. I mean don’t get me wrong, will have to do suck things in life. Cleaning, working. But what I’m talking about are the calls that you KNOW you have to make that you don’t WANT to make. Cold calling. Calling clients to tell them that you haven’t gotten a single bite on their property. BPOs that you know are under deadline. Door knocking. Anything that involves going outside of your comfort level is also known as the suck.

Unfortunately, in real estate, the suck is the cornerstone of your business. This is why you MUST embrace it. If you don’t, you will have no business, end of subject. You need to get past it, get over it, or learn to love it, in other words, EMBRACE THE SUCK. Hate cold calling? Too bad. Hate dealing with irate clients? You better learn how to deal with it, and fast. Hate going out and showing houses full of bed bugs termites and cockroaches? Guess what? If that’s all your client wants to look at, you better embrace the suck, or they’ll find another agent that will.

embrace the suck
embrace the suck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photoFound on theartofstoryproject.com)

When I got started I used to work in an office of veteran agents that refused to work after 1 p.m. on Friday until 9 a.m. on Monday. They couldn’t be bothered with answering phone calls from “newbie home buyers” on the weekends. Let me tell you something, that was the beginning foundation of my business when I started. I told those agents please shut your phone off. I’ll take your money all day long. To which they said, “I don’t care, SOMEBODY will sell it, but it won’t be ME on a weekend.”

They also hated doing open houses for their clients in the fall and winter, so they’d have other agents do them for them. Again, that was the beginning foundation of my business. God knows I froze my tail off in vacant houses my first winter with no heat on.  In two of them, it was colder in the house than it was outside! But, I had to…EMBRACE THE SUCK.  Believe it or not, each of those two iceboxes brought me my first sales!

So, YES, there are things we HAVE to do that we HATE having to do.  But, NOT doing them will cost us business.  But, when we DO them, that’s what sets us apart from everybody else.  And THAT, my friend, is where the magic happens.  EMBRACE THE SUCK!

 

Realtor Safety

Realtor Safety

Guys, we’ve all gotten that one creepy phone call from a potential client that “just doesn’t feel right…” You need to go with your gut and protect yourself. Here are just a few tips on realtor safety…

Always let someone know what homes you’re going to show.  Get the client to meet you at your office, and get a copy of photo id and driver’s license.  Get their make and model of car and license plates.   Then, get to your showing early.  Scope out all of the doors and exits in case you need to make a quick getaway.  Keep your cell phone dialed to 911, so that all you’d need to do is hit the send button for help.  Look into the new GPS tracking jewelry.  Just remember, taking these steps might just save your life!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

njrealestatemama

Starting Your Real Estate Business Right

Starting Your Real Estate Business Right

CONGRATS!!! YOU GOT YOUR LICENSE!!!! Now what? Choosing an office to work for isn’t as easy as it seems. Do your homework before you jump!

Before you decide where you’re going to go hang your license, you need to seriously consider a few things…

1. Location

How close is your office to your home?  If you don’t have a fax machine or scanner in your house, and you need to fax, you’ll need to drive to your office.  In the winter?  Snow? 3am?  Last thing you wanna do is have to drive 20 mins. to your office…

2. Training

What training does your prospective employer offer?  Classes?  Seminars?  ASK!!!

3. Mentoring

Does your office offer mentoring?  In Realtor school, they taught you the LAW, NOT how to sell a home.  You WILL needsomeone to show you how to do contracts, find tax records, etc…

4.  What’s included?

Some offices, you pay for nothing.  Others, you pay for EVERYTHING.  Paper, faxes, ink, signs, it will get expensive QUICKLY.  ASK!!!!

5.  Technology

What technology does the office offer?  Online apps?  Software?  Internal systems?  Websites?

6.  Chemistry

When you meet each broker, hopefully, you will know whether you will mesh.  You need a broker that will help you to grow your business, not compete against for listings.  Ask a ton of questions.

Hopefully, your search will be a short one.  Just be sure to weigh your options!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

njrealestatemama

The Difference Between Looking At a Home Online vs In Person

The Difference Between Looking At a Home Online vs In Person

SURPRISE!!! That’s what usually goes off in the background when you walk into a house that you saw online, only to see that it’s NOTHING like what it looked like when you saw it on Zillow. Size, noises, smells, there are a TON of things that you WON’T see in the listing online…

It never fails.  You THINK you’ve found the perfect home looking on Zillow.  You’ve convinced yourself that the house is perfect, yard is huge, house is beautiful, huge master, bigger den, full basement.  Then you get there to walk through it.  And, it’s a SHOE BOX.  Not even, small, it’s TINY…

That’s what a wide angle lens camera will do to you.  You see, it’s a special camera that you can use to fit an entire room into a photo.  You can’t do that with most regular cameras.  And, the problem is, it makes the room look three times the size.  So, don’t have your heart set on a house before you go physically see it.

Then, let’s talk about SMELLS.  When an agent takes pictures of a home for sale, 9 times out of ten, they’re removing the dog bowls, cat bowls, litter box, and anything else that says potentially, there may be pet odors in the home.  So, you won’t find that out till you get there.  Same goes for that farm next door to that beauty!  You won’t see any yard pics that will show that farm next door, especially if you can smell any manure of anything else at the property…

nj real estate mama

Lastly, NOISE.  Guys, you have no idea from pictures if the next door neighbor has a dog that barks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Your house may back up to a major highway.  Last year I showed a GORGEOUS home in a nice area, and we didn’t realize until we were IN The home, and heard the noise outside, that there was a lumber yard right across the street adjacent to the home.  We could barely see it around the corner, but we heard it!  And, they received deliveries practically around the clock.

So, before you have your heart set on a house you see online, GO SEE IT.  And, go see it at different times of day.  See your potential neighbors, their kids.  Traffic.  Noise.  You NEED to do this, or you may be in for some unpleasant surprises after it’s too late.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

nj real estate mama

So, You’ve Decided To Sell Your Home…

So, You’ve Decided To Sell Your Home…

Ok, so you’ve decided to sell.  What next?

You’re going to need to become RUTHLESS.  Ruthless with CLEANING.  Ruthless with PURGING.  Ruthless with REPAIRS.  But most importantly…

You’re going to need to get a thicker skin.  Your Realtor may look at, and through your home, and probably going to tell you a ton of things you’re not going to like.  Like, that you need to remove things, and DE-PERSONALIZE.

Listen, it’s not that we don’t like your STUFF.  We may actually LIKE your STUFF, but a buyer can’t see THEIR STUFF in your house if all of YOUR STUFF is still there!  Your potential buyer need to be able to envision their personal belongings  in the house to really realizr that your home may be the one they want to buy…

So you’re gonna have to de-personalize.  De-clutter.  Clean clean CLEAN!  Get your stuff into boxes, out of the house, or at LEAST out of sight.  Boxes, closets, basement, garage, wherever.  Garage sale!  Free to a good home!  Just get rid of it.

nj real estate mama

Next is repairs.  Guys, anything wrong with your home becomes BARGAINING LEVERAGE.  Read: LESS MONEY FOR YOUR HOME.  Don’t let stupid, easy, cheap to fix things like leaky faucets, broken locks on windows, missing door pulls, etc., bring down the price of your home.  Carpet stains?  Carpet smells?  Rent a steam cleaner and DO IT.  Pet smells are unacceptable.  You need to neutralize odors.

Lastly, curb appeal.  Guys, if you can’t get people to NOTICE your home, you won’t get them IN your home.  You need curb appeal.  Keep the grass mowed.  Keep the hedges trimmed.  Make sure all of your windows are clean.  If you can, power wash the exterior of the house.  Last, fresh paint on the window trim, door trim and the door, if it applies.  It’s an instant face lift for the house!  Maybe a seasonal plant or two on the porch.  Azaleas for a splash of color.

So, when you decide to sell, become ruthless!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

5 More Reasons Your House WON’T SELL!

5 More Reasons Your House WON’T SELL!

“Wait! What the HELL are you talking about?!  Whaddya MEAN my house WON’T SELL?!” you scream. “My house is pretty dang nice! I just spent a TON of money on the chachkas on all of my countertops! My wallpaper is only 2 years old, all 4 rooms of it!!!”

Okay, you want to sell your home.  Nobody said it would necessarily be easy.  I can sit here any day of the week and tell you things that you’re doing (or not doing) that are killing your chances of your home selling.  Here’s just a couple of home sales crimes that you NEED to be sure not committing…

1.  Wanna sell your house?  YOU NEED TO LET ME SHOW IT!!!!!!

The best Realtor in the universe can’t sell your home if you don’t let them show it.  You need to accomodate showing agents to schedule appointments to show your home, and then HONOR those appointments!  You also can’t really, unless there’s an extreme circumstance, only allow showings 2 days a week for 4 hours a day.  There aren’t many buyers that will wait that long to see it, or their hours may not mesh with yours.  Keeping a lockbox on your home allows appointments to show your home to be scheduled, and you

don’t even need to be home.  Just keep your home tidy, and all will be fine.

2.  “Whaddya MEAN I’m priced too high?!”

Okay, quite often, one of two things happens to trigger this response. Did you talk to your agent about your price?  Let me rephrase that…  did you LISTEN to your agent when you discussed the listing price?  Did you insist on pricing your home at what YOU thought it is worth?  If you did, well, when you get what you think are lowball offers, don’t be shocked.  Your agent, if they’re really good, brought you comparables before you listed.  They showed you homes that have sold in the last 6 months, and that are listed for sale now, and are as close to an exact match to your home as there is.  THAT, my friend is where YOU need to be priced.  NOT $30k higher.

One of the problems many homeowners face is that they may have an inexperienced agent, or worse, an agent that will tell you what you want to hear to get you to list your home with THEM.  They will say that your number is fine just to get you to sign that paper.  End result?  No showings, more time on the market (NOT a good thing)and most importantly, NO SALE.  Interview a few agents before you sign!

3.  You NEED to De-personalize

You may be proud of your family and all their accomplishments.  I’d be proud of my family with all 65 of those college degrees hanging on the wall, too.  But, your prospective buyer needs to see HIS family pics on the wall.  HIS wall hangings.  HIS bar mirrors, if it’s going to be his man cave.  He can’t do that with all that wall clutter.  What about all of those trophies and statues and figurines and pictures and chachkas and….  PUT THEM AWAY!  Just put them in a box until you can put them on your next fireplace mantel.  When you’re trying to sell, your buyer needs to picture where they’re gonna put all of THEIR stuff.  They can’t do that if yours is taking up all of that counter space.

4. That Smelly Smell that Smells…. SMELLY!

When you live in anywhere, you’re in that airspace for most of the day.  It’s familiar, so unless there’s bad food in the garbage that you can smell, you may not notice that something’s amiss.

You know you’re going to have showings today while you’re at work.  Did you take out the garbage?  Are last night’s dirty dishes still in the sink?  How about dirty laundry?  Is the basket of sweaty gym clothes out?  How about the baby’s dirty diaper pail?

nj real estate mama

I’m not trying to be gross or disgusting here.  Every one of things happened to me on showings last year!  And I mean to the point of literal gagnation.  I kid you not.  And believe me when I tell you,  not ONE of those homes got a bid from any of my clients.  When people smell smells, it means that the house is NOT CLEAN.  Then, they need to know what’s causing it.  Or, worse, if they SEE what the problem is, then they wonder what they HAVEN’T seen.

5.  In a word, WALLPAPER

I don’t know where to file this, de-personalize, repairs or what…

Wallpaper is a very personal choice.  You took hours, days, WEEKS to pick it out!  And yes, unless it’s a historic Victorian house trying to stay true to period, it needs to go.  If a buyer absolutely HATES the print, they also more than likely know what a pain in the butt it is going to be to remove it.  That’s a job that nobody wants to do, and a headache nobody needs to have.  You will need to strip it off and repaint the walls a nice, neutral color.  Again, unless it’s there for a reason (historic home), it needs to go.

The sooner you address these potential problems, the sooner you will get your home sold…

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”