By Toby Boyce
“Should NAR include a pro bono provision in REALTOR® code of ethics?”
The question was posed to me recently on Twitter by Sellsius publisher Joseph Ferrarra. It is something Ferrara has been kicking around for a while with “Pro Bono Real Estate Broker?” appearing June 2006 and several other articles including “Should NAR include a pro-bono provision in REALTOR® code of ethics?” on Feb. 24.
I am a huge Ferrarra fan and am honored to have had the opportunity to meet him on a couple of occasions. But, on this occasion I just don’t get it.
There are two key pieces of this discussion that bother me. (1) If you can’t afford to pay a commission on the house, can you afford to maintain the new house? (2) Adding this to the code of ethics doesn’t do anything but give it lip-service.
Don’t get me wrong, pro bono work is extremely noble and can be very rewarding. I strongly believe in giving back to our community – either through volunteering or providing pro bono work for some in the market. However, it all comes back to dollars and cents to me. Real estate is not law. People do not require our services, while everyone may need an attorney at some point in their life. If a buyer is purchasing a starter home, but “can’t” pay my 3 percent commission — so I rebate it back to them. They are essentially getting into the home with 0.5 percent down. Isn’t that the kind of stuff that got the housing market in trouble to begin with? Continue reading »