“Do the right thing” is the ethical philosophy that most people apply as they navigate their personal and professional lives. It’s a good starting point. But as a real estate investor or agent, how will you handle situations like these?
- You want to purchase a four-unit apartment house. The seller tells you that only one unit is currently occupied, by a couple who will be “happy to vacate” their apartment. But when you meet with the tenants, they turn out to be an elderly couple who are relying on their low rent. They haven’t signed a lease in years and are paying month-to-month. Should you buy the building and evict them? Should you buy the building and let them remain as tenants, even though their presence will lower the rental income you can collect on the property? Should you just walk away from the deal, realizing that another investor will probably buy the building and evict them if you do?
- You are trying to rent a small unit in a building you own. A young woman applies to rent the unit. She tells you that even though she is not currently working, both her parents recently passed away and she “needs the low rent.” Should you rent to her or put business first and rent to a tenant who has a steady job and better prospects of paying her monthly amount?
- You are about to buy a small building that has three rental units on the upper floors and a coin-operated laundry on the ground floor. The man who operates the laundromat has a lease and would like to stay on as a business tenant. However he tells you that he has been skimming cash income away from the business without reporting it on his taxes. Does that situation pose an ethical dilemma or an investment risk for you as a potential owner of the building?
- You are considering buying a building that is in pre-foreclosure. The current occupants will be forced to move out if the building is foreclosed. If you buy the house, however, you can rent it back to them and allow them to stay. Should you think along those lines, or make decisions based on profits alone?
So you see the strategy to simply “do the right thing” can become confusing in the world of real estate. That’s why The Real Estate Education Center has developed a unique course, Doing the Right Thing, which helps real estate professionals develop a series of guiding principles that will serve them well during their professional lives.
The course explores a number of real-world situations and ethical dilemmas:
- Applying ethics: working with colleagues, competitors, and employers
- Ethics and the practice of real estate
- Models for ethical decision-making
- Professional perspectives
- The evolution of moral reasoning
Ethical real estate practices can make you more successful in the long run and less prone to legal risks. You owe it to yourself to learn more about this course.