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It’s been a whirlwind of a week so far…
I’ve hinted at this before, but never shared it. My wife and I are moving from Seattle to North Carolina.
The last two items on our list are to buy a house and then schedule the movers.
So we’ve been looking at a lot of homes. We’ve been touring them virtually. And we’ve been planning a trip to go see some in person.
But what we never thought would happen just did.
We put in an offer on a home that we didn’t see in person. Just virtually. That's a strange experience.
But we loved the house and figured there would be time to go see it in person during due diligence.
But things didn’t work out with this one.
The sellers had used an agent to list their home on the MLS, but they weren’t using the agent to sell the home.
The real estate industry, like any other, operates on mutual trust and good faith negotiation. Each realtor is bound by a set of ethical principles and standards. Plus, they want longevity in their business.
So they are motivated to operate ethically and play nice with other realtors.
They both want the same thing, after all. When the house sells, they both get their commission.
But when there is no agent in the picture, all the ethical obligations go out the window.
And this was clear from the moment we submitted our offer on this house.
In a span of 2 days, the seller attempted to coerce our realtor into breaking her code of ethics 3 times.
And it quickly became clear that they were using our offer to get other prospective buyers to increase theirs.
But there weren’t any other buyers…
So they kicked the can down the road, making up some excuse about the super bowl… lying to us about what was going on.
Eventually, they got an offer which I can only assume was higher than ours and they accepted that one.
And while this isn’t the end of the world, it definitely was a bummer.
There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to get the highest price for your home.
But the ends don’t always justify the means. And when you agree to compromise your ethics for money, it's only a matter of time before you do something evil.
It reminds me of the business gurus I’ve worked with. They will lie, cheat, steal, and screw over anyone so they can make money.
And they won’t think twice about it.
The wild and crazy Kanye West once said something true:
“The difference between a businessman and a visionary is that a visionary will do bad business for the vision.”
Maybe I’m old fashioned. Or maybe I’m a visionary. But I believe that you should operate ethically in everything you do.
Even if it means getting less money for your house.
Or earning less in a business deal.
Ethics is one thing you can’t put a price on.
Once you do… it’s a slippery slope.
There is an old adage about a wealthy man who walks up to a beautiful woman at a bar and asks if she would go home with him if he paid her $1 million. She agrees.
So he counters with $100. She is disgusted by this. She isn’t a prostitute.
But he disagrees. She already agreed that she would go home with him for a sum of money. They just haven’t figured out how much yet.
And the same is true with ethics.
If you would agree to sell out for any sum of money, you have still agreed to sell out.
It’s just a matter of time before the right offer hits you at the right time and you do something you're not proud of. Or you do something that jeopardizes everything you've built.
And that’s not how ethics works.
Remember that not everybody has as high of standards as you and I do.
So be careful out there.