Does it matter? What good are Realtor ethics “convictions” if the public (and even fellow Realtors) do not know about them? So far as I can tell, the public do not have access to ethics complaints. Where is the benefit to the consumer if violations are kept behind closed doors?
One Realtor association member told me that –
The information regarding hearings, including any sanctions, is not accessible to the public or to the members. It is used more as an education process. That said, before a hearing panel sets the sanction, the member’s file is checked to see if there were previous violations. In cases where the person has had multiple case violations they could face suspension or termination of membership.
Who is being educated? Do education programs prevent recidivism?
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the public (and Realtors) can check for Real Estate Board violations with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, (not the Realtor Board) but the public has no access to ethics violations.
One (big) caveat – Context. If Ethics violations were to be opened to daylight, they would need to be to be presented in proper context; often times the nuances are what grey the line between black and white. Without context, transparency could be more damaging than helpful – to both the Realtor profession and the public’s perception of same.
Agent scorecard. Like the back of a baseball card, agent profiles on the brokerage website would include stats detailing every single, double triple, HR and RBI by that agent along with any error (complaint to DRE), placing each agent into a very real, truthful and transparent context for the consumer
This is a great idea in concept – I can see it now – # of listings taken every year, % of listings sold, % of asking price, % of business provided by Buyer-Brokerage, Ethics complaints won/lost, Real Estate Board fines …
However, I was speaking to a fellow Realtor last week and she related to me one of the most egregious stories of Realtor behavior I have heard in my seven years in the business. When asked if she had filed an Ethics Complaint, she said, “no.”
What good is the system if no one uses it and no one knows about it?