A couple of days ago charges were announced related to real estate fraud. According to the press release by the FBI in Oregon,
Among the 39 defendants named today are two real estate agents, 11 mortgage brokers, one bank loan officer, and one certified public accountant (CPA).
There are some ongoing investigations and they are expecting more charges to occur.
I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to comment on this. I was having a hilarious and off tangent facebook conversation with some other real estate agents from across the country focused on the term “raising the bar.” It’s the current term agents cry out to express the need for greater standards in our industry. That battlecry has been going on for my entire career as a real estate agent here in Salem and honestly, the bar hasn’t been raised a whole lot here in Oregon. I mean Oregon just put into law that a real estate agent has to have a high school diploma or GED. That wasn’t in the books before. That’s like raising the bar a millimeter. Not sure that is what the battlecry is about.
Personally I, like these other fellow agents, am tired of the battlecry. See here’s the deal. The government can’t regulate behavior: they can only regulate systems. It is up to each of us that makes up the system to regulate our behavior. If we want to talk about real estate fraud then brokerage owners need to look at how they fail to train their agents. If we want to talk about improving the world of real estate it is up to the business owners, whether your own a brokerage or a mortgage business to have their own standards. Government has never been about raising the bar; it has always been about the lowest notch on the bar. It is the responsibility of the business owners to ensure that we are well above that lowest notch.
I am not the biggest brokerage in town. I don’t have “bragging rights” that I have 100 agents working at my firm. I also don’t have to worry about real estate fraud. I don’t have to worry that I have a mediocre agent in my midst. My agents have direct access to a real estate attorney for any help they need. Part of preventing fraud is making sure your agents can be successful so that they aren’t in a position of having to compromise their ethics. I’d rather be the smallest game in town, with the best agents, even if there are only a few of us.
Me…I’m not aiming for the lowest notch. Forget about raising the bar for the industry. Raise the bar for yourself or your brokerage. Consumers know the difference.