Ethics can mean different things to different people. Luckily, in the real estate industry, there is a board that regulates the ethics of realtors with a code of ethics. Real estate agents make money off of commission which may make it seem that they are simply sales people and the sale is the most important thing.
Yet, it goes deeper than that as a real estate agent needs to do a balancing act between making money and also keeping the best interest of their clients in mind. Sometimes those two different factors diverge and it can create a conflict. Sort of like how it is in the interest of a society to have widespread property ownership while also limiting the effects of development on the environment.
Besides simply acting in an ethical manner, real estate agents should also have giving back to the community in which they operate in mind. Volunteering for organizations like Habitat for Humanity is one that makes sense since it involves property and housing. Making sure that even people with little means are able to have shelter as it is a basic human necessity.
Another area in which real estate agents can act in an ethical manner is that they can share their knowledge with their peers. Everybody understands that the real estate industry is very competitive and it can devolve into an every man for himself type of scenario.
However, people like Debrah Lee Charatan have found a huge amount of success over the years in real estate all while sharing her vast knowledge and connections with others. It doesn’t need to be a cutthroat environment as there is enough for everybody to go around. The more agents help each other, the better the entire industry is for all involved.
Then there is the matter of regulatory bodies that keep an eye on the goings on within the industry. It is up to the people in the real estate business to aid regulators when it comes to enforcement of regulations. They can even aid in influencing regulatory commissions to find the best path forward to solve some common issues within the industry when it comes to ethics.
Lastly, a good real estate agent seeks to make the community where they operate better than how they found it. A good way to do this is to donate some time to make sure that the people in the community have enough to eat.
In the times during a pandemic, for example, food banks are working overtime. An agent can go door knocking and ask people for non perishable food to give to a local food bank. This also does have the benefit of establishing a real estate agent in good light with the locals and can even help increase business. However, that is an added benefit and not the sole reason to do this.
Sleeping well at night is probably the biggest personal benefit to acting in good faith and practicing an ethical business.