C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


What's the Cost of Your Integrity?


Rich was kind enough to make this available for a re-blog. What an awesome post. Enjoy!


There is a Bible story in the Old Testament that never fails to amaze me, no matter how many times I read it.

It's the account of Esau selling his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:19-34).

To understand the full weight of this story, you really need to understand the extreme value and importance the Jewish people ascribed to the firstborn son. It was a position of great privilege, prestige, and status. It afforded a double portion of the Father's inheritance. And, prior to the Levitical Era, assigned the responsibility of family Priesthood.

And so it is with great bewilderment that we find Esau exchanging this most coveted title to his younger brother Jacob for a mess of pottage.

A life-long position/title of privilege, prestige, and status sacrificed for a brief, temporal satisfaction of fleeting hunger.

Sounds all too familiar, doesn't it? We tend to scoff at the stupidity and poor short-sighted judgment of Esau, and yet, all around us we see the same kind of things happening.

The US political landscape is rife with disappointing and disheartening examples of public figures who have relinquished positions/careers of authority and trust, and traded them for momentary pleasures.

Even within our industry, there is the temptation and danger of 'selling out' in order to achieve some short-term financial gain. Especially with the market being as slow and challenging as its been. People are desperate to make ends meet and become increasingly vulnerable to a lapse in ethical judgment.

As real estate professionals, many of us are required by law to take continuing education courses on ethics each time we renew our license. We're familiar with the NAR Code of Ethics and could probably recite one of the 17 articles from memory.

But do we really take such training to heart? Do we allow these principles to become a vital, living/breathing part of who and what we are?

Or, like Esau, do we quickly compromise our position of trust, and jeopardize our careers, for some brief, temporal gain.

None of us are immune to such indiscretions. They typically start out as seemingly small, insignificant, and easily justifiable actions. Just this once, we tell ourselves. No one will know.

But the next occurrence becomes all the more easier to commit, and soon, a habitual pattern emerges.

So the question I want to pose to the collective ActiveRain brain trust is this:

How do you personally protect your ethics and integrity? What practical preventative measures can we put into place that will help to prevent us from falling prey to such alluring enticements?

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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, and Crabbing in the Hood.

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Comment balloon 11 commentsC Tann-Starr • May 10 2009 09:24AM


Many moons ago, on another discussion board, a mortgage broker in southern California commented that agents don't adhere to the Code of Ethics, don't think about the Code of Ethics, and that the Code of Ethics means nothing -- to be a REALTOR® means nothing. She said there was no difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®.

The funny thing about this is years later, she contacted me to buy an investment home in Sacramento. That's when she discovered first-hand that the Code of Ethics is a BIG DEAL to many of us. Because ethical agents, those who refuse to compromise integrity, do believe and follow the Code of Ethics; it's part of our nature.

sacramento agent

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 11 years ago

Carolyn, great post to re-blog! I just stopped by to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) over 11 years ago

Huge!  This is an awesome post!  I'm so thantkful I caught this that had the opportunity to share this thought!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

Little Sister - Thanks for the re-blog, I never read this post by Rich!

"Happy Mother's Day Little Sister

 Bib Brother (Vegas Bob)

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz over 11 years ago

How? By looking at myself in the mirror every day. I don't have to be pretty on the outside but I sure better be able to look myself in the eye.  Doesn't matter who knows--I know.

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) over 11 years ago

I read somewhere that an agents ethics are challenged most when business is slow.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 11 years ago

Thanks for reblogging. I missed it the first time. Hope all agents read your post.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 11 years ago

C - let me join the cheering for the re-blog.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) over 11 years ago

Dear C-Tann,

Thanks for a Richly deserved Re-Blog. I loved it the first time I read it and just as much the second time around. Thanks to both of you!


Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY (WJK Realty) over 11 years ago

Carolyn - This post was completely worthy of being re-blogged.  Nice choice.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 11 years ago

Thank you, Jason. Rich did an awesome job.

Thank you, Betina. I sent links to all of my friends. Very well said. :-)

Big Mike, I am sooooo with you. To think I used to be scared of that button (LOL).

Gita, I almost missed it as well. Someone sent me a link and said they thought I'd like it. How very true. :-)

Greg, I have read something similar as well.

Maria, there's nothing like having to face what you've done (or didn't do).

Robert, I hope your family and you enjoyed the holiday. :-)

Lisa, I'm with you. Awesome bit of blogging. :-)

Connie, thank you. Enjoy your day, lovely. :-)

Elizabeth, you'd be amazed at the crazy things I have walked away from. People have strange notions about what it is that we do and don't do. I had to explain to someone who asked for her file that she could have a duplicate but was not entitled to the original file. That is a business record the state requires us to maintain for a minimum of three years. If there is litigation, we have to maintain the file for the entire case, then we're back to the three years maintenance(LOL). She was miffed. I was tickled. That's like going to a lender and stating BTW now that I have my home and mortgage I want my orginal file from your bank please.That is soooo not happening so why expect a Realtor to do it? Seriously... :-)  

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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