An international coalition of almost 50 professional real estate bodies from around the world has announced the selection of a committee made up of independent global experts to write a set of global ethics standards for real estate.
The International Ethics Standard Coalition, which was launched in October 2014, has taken the first step towards creating a global code of ethics for real estate practitioners. The coalition of 50 global real estate professional bodies, which includes the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), represent thousands of practitioners working in real estate sectors around the world.
Real estate transactions are becoming increasingly globalised thanks to advancements in mobility, infrastructure, communication, and of course, technology, therefore the coalition strongly believes that an international set of values need to be established among real estate practitioners, and are united in the belief that proper business ethics play a vital role in the global property profession.
The committee of experts selected to write the international ethics standards consists of prominent real estate representatives from Russia, China, France, the USA, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Canada and the UK. Their task is to review the many existing ethical codes, identify common themes, and bring greater consistency and clarity to how ethics are applied in the real estate profession.
Peter Bolton King, chairman of the International Ethics Standards Coalition, said that although there may be different ethics and codes worldwide, there is no universal ethics standard to which all professional real estate and trade organisations subscribe. Once international standards are codified, business ethics in real estate will be improved.
How will this affect the real estate profession in Malaysia? Well, recent reports have revealed that more than 40% of property agent sales are lost to fake or illegal agents, who do not comply with standard business ethics, let alone the regulations implemented by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA). In addition, 30 to 40 cases of real estate deception are reported every month, as a result of 50,000 illegal real estate brokers operating in the country.
That is not to say that all registered or licensed real estate agents are ethical, as evidenced by the many reports of misconduct and misleading deals even by legitimate agents. An international code of standards will not only serve to improve the quality of real estate practitioners, but also provide a benchmark for real estate practitioners, and those seeking their services, to refer. Of course, it is still important to increase awareness to educate people about the methods of illegal agents, in order to prevent the public from falling for tactics like cheating, absconding, misinterpretation and profiteering from unscrupulous characters.