Sometimes a friend will call or email me and say that he or she is buying or selling a house, has a Realtor but wants my advice about the real estate purchase contract nuances, analyzing comps, or any other real estate related question. Usually it’s someone out of my Silicon Valley market area, though a few times it’s been someone closer to home.
Most professionals don’t want to be asked to give professional advice when they aren’t going to be compensated – this is true for lawyers, doctors, and many others. But it’s also true for real estate professionals, too. The problem, though, is not really that some folks overstep the bounds of asking for a favor. Instead, it is a matter of ethics.
I cannot interfere or meddle if you or they have a Realtor. This is part of our Realtor Code of Ethics:
Code of Ethics
The Code establishes time-honored and baseline principles that come from the collective experiences of REALTORS® since the Code of Ethics was first established in 1913. Those principles can be loosely defined as:
- Loyalty to clients;
- Fiduciary (legal) duty to clients;
- Cooperation with competitors;
- Truthfulness in statements and advertising; and non-interference in exclusive relationships that other REALTORS® have with their clients.
Non Realtor real estate licensees also have boundaries on what they can and cannot do, too. One big area is that we are not supposed to advice outside of our areas of competency. I feel pretty good about a lot of areas ranging from Santa Cruz to the south to Redwood Shores to the north and Fremont, Pleasanton or Livermore on the east bay plus all of Santa Clara County. But I don’t know Sacramento real estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate or San Diego real estate, so it would be wrong for me to suddenly delve into those arenas. Even more so if that friend or relative asking “for a favor” were working with a Realtor or other real estate licensee and my commenting would constitute interference.