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Opinion Editorials

Could vigilant Realtors have helped curb real estate fraud?

Rising to the challenge

Choices are always available to us. We can ignore issues, be complacent, and allow things to remain status quo without offering real, attainable solutions, or we can choose to be proactive about what is screwed up in the real estate industry. Just being angry and bitter is not nearly enough to change a policy, or to encourage action.

When we see something wrong, as Realtors, and licensees, we need to step up and file complaints with the Division of Real Estate, or Board of Realtors. It may feel bad acting as a narc, but our Code of Ethics and state laws are there for a reason- to protect other Realtors as well as consumers. Most of these have been on the books long before the invention of Dodd-Frank. During the housing boom and resulting crisis, there were no doubt illegal activities going on, but how many moved to do anything about it? How many filed complaints, or tried to prevent gnarly-ness from happening?

How to improve the industry

Even when a minor violation occurs such as an agent’s name being more prominent than their broker’s in an ad, an agent claiming to be number one in sales for the year when they aren’t, false advertising, or signs going up before listing agreements are signed- allowing these types of violations to go unreported is like paving the way for and approving of more serious offenses to be committed. More serious occurrences such as practicing real estate without a license, not giving out state or federally required forms, any type of fraud, taking kickbacks, or Fair Housing violations, must be reported. By not policing ourselves, there can’t, and won’t be an improvement within the industry.

When thinking of how often our choices can impact change, dieting and exercising comes to mind. Of course this won’t apply to everyone, but it is a true story… There is a guy who decided he wanted to lose weight. He began by changing his diet, restricting sugar, cutting out white flour, reducing caffeine, increasing protein, and eating less red meat. This same guy also joined a gym, and he took advantage of the trainers there and the advice they have to offer. Even when he had the choice between a salad and a burger, he’d go with a salad. When he had a choice between taking a walk or another half an hour in front of the TV, he chose the walk.

Accomplishing change

No one is holding a gun to his head either way; these are his decisions to make, but he knows that by doing nothing, or continuing to do as in years past, zero results will be accomplished. By choosing these healthier options, this guy (my husband) has lost 70 pounds since May. He is the perfect example of making a choice, acting upon it, and accomplishing change.

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If the real estate industry treats the profession and the real estate environment as seriously and as urgently as someone changing their health lifestyle, the industry would be much different for it as people take responsibility for the good and the bad in an effort to propel the health of the industry.

Written By

Katie Cosner, occasionally known as Kathleen, or KT, is a Realtor® with Cutler Real Estate and is active in her local Board of Realtors® on the Equal Opportunity & Professional Development Committee. She has been floating around online for a number of years, and is on facebook as well as twitter. While Katie has a few hardcore beliefs, three in the Real Estate World to live and die by are; education, ethics, and the law - insert random quote from “A Few Good Men” here. Katie is also an avid Cleveland Indians fan, which really explains quite a bit of her… quirks.


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