'Under All...is the Land" ~ A Call to Remembrance

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Under all is the land.

Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment. 

opening excerpt: The Preamble of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors®

For the past couple of days, those words..."Under all is the land" have rumbled through my mind.  Not unlike the manner in which an intermittent bolt of thunder and lightning resonates an echo which meanders into the distance.

American flagI frankly admit that when I entered into the real estate profession over 15 years ago, I had limited comprehension of how the unwise allocation of ownership could threaten the SURVIVAL and GROWTH of free institutions and indeed our civilization. As a new agent, my job just did not seem to resonate with that sort of significance or prominence.

I've recently finished reading Michael Lewis' book, 'The Big Short' and have started on another book, 'Housing Boom and Bust' by Thomas Sowell.  It is unsettling to read about how the on-going devastation of the sub-prime mortgage disaster and the foreclosure crisis continues to traumatize our nation.  And although, much of the focus in the last few years has been on the mortgage lending industry and Wall Street, I think it behooves us as an industry to examine ourselves & our responsibilities as stated in the Code of Ethics.

Did you know you have a Moral Responsibility as a Realtor®?  One which extends beyond the boundaries of ordinary commerce  and which has grave social and patriotic responsibilities?  Did you know that it is your OBLIGATION to study and remain aware of issues of concern to the welfare of the public, our industry and land owners AND to be willing share the fruit of your knowledge and experience with others? Read about this here..

I wonder how our industry would conduct itself if we truly understood how fundamental real estate is to the welfare of our nation?  It is noteworthy to consider that the most significant issue to threaten the very survival basis of our economy has been the collapse of the housing industry.  This feat was not accomplished by the collapse of the manufacturing sector, the shipping of jobs overseas or even the wild shenanigans of Wall Street.  

In a few weeks, we will be celebrating the July 4th weekend which commemorates our nation's Independence.  Amidst the pomp, parades, picnics and apple pie we might all take a moment to think about all that being a Realtor® signifies.  If we continue to think and behave as though this job is all about getting the next transaction to close or finding the next willing body to purchase or sell...we're in the process of loosing sight of who we are and what we are called to do.

During one of the most critical times in our nations' history, please remember that  our jobs as Realtors® support the under-girding of our nation. ' Under all is the land' is a reminder that the day to day activities of Realtors® support the economy AND the moral fiber of our country.  Our patriotic duty is just as significant as that required of our lawmakers, civic leaders and military personnel.

This year, the real estate board in Grand Rapids, Michigan will require all agents to complete Quadrennial Code of Ethics Training consistent with guidelines established by the National Association or Realtors®.  I think that this training is one of the most important aspects of raising the bar of professionalism within our industry.

If you haven't done so in awhile, I'd encourage you to review the Code of Ethics in it's entirely. I hope you'll come away with a reinvigorated perspective.  At times we have a tendency to loose our way amidst the difficulties and challenges of life.  It is in these moments that we are well served when we are reminded of our higher calling and our responsibility to serve others.  Never forget, WE ARE REALTORS, that's not just what we do...it's emblematic of WHO WE ARE.

 

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Re-Bloggged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mary Kay Hopkins 06/19/2010 09:27 PM
  2. Paige Walker 06/19/2010 11:43 PM
  3. Donald Bradbury 06/20/2010 10:30 AM
  4. Derenda Grubb 06/20/2010 11:09 PM
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Comments 38 New Comment

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Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Lenn, thanks for stopping by.  While I would agree that many of our lawmakers may not understand the unique role that real estate plays in the welfare of our nation, I would also say that unfortunately many of our members do not either.  

It is our job to educate the public.  Since we live and work in the communities we serve, it is also our responsibility to demand accountability from our elected officials and to work in cooperation with them for the welfare of our citizens.  We can't afford to throw our hands up in despair...the stakes are too great.  For millions of families who are without security or residence because of this mis-management/corruption, crisis is a fundamental element of basic survival.

June 20, 2010 11:13 AM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Charita...the Code of Ethics provides the guiding principles which frame our conduct as a profession.  I think that to the extent that we have ignored it or only pull it out to discipline wrong doing, we have minimized it's most important element...the ability to keep us moving forward in the midst of a stormy, chaotic environment. This is supposed to be the basis for everyday conduct with each other and in our service to members of our community.

@Robert...thanks for your comment.

June 20, 2010 11:18 AM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Claudette...Thanks for your comment.  There are many who are very frustrated by the direction our profession has seemed to be heading.  The good thing about platforms like Active Rain is that they provide a forum for frank discussion and open exchange of ideas. 

June 20, 2010 11:27 AM
Rainer
147,103
Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin
WJ Bradley Mortgage Corp.
W. J. Bradley Mortgage Corp.

Lola, great post and intriquing comments.  As an "outsider" I cannot comment on the good or bad of NAR and its' executive board.  I do see merit in a collective unit, but I could not agree more with Jenna Dixon's comment, "I don't need to spend $500 a year to claim to have ETHICS."  All sides of our respecitve industries have our fair share of "flakes" who have all the "Club" (NAR, NAMB, etc.) seals of approval...and, essentially they have been used as a ticket to ride.  I have an issue with that, whether it's in real estate or in finance.

However, I do see the detriment's of a industry of "Lone Rangers".  For instance, the debacle of HVCC is due in large part to the fact appraisers have no local, state or national organizations and, therefore, no lobbyists "on their side".   The future of Mortgage Brokerage is shakey, at best....and many feel it is due primarily to the lack of focus from NAMB.

Thus far, IMHO, real estate agents (REALTOR or not) have not "taken it on the chin" as appraisers and mortgage brokers have.  I suspect that has just a bit to do with the lobbying clout of NAR.

June 20, 2010 11:55 AM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Joe, thanks for your recommendations.  Our local board is offering a course taught by an instructor, but there is also the online option.  An old proverb says...'you must know where you come from to know where you're going.'  This is even more important if a change in direction/perspective is called for.

June 20, 2010 12:16 PM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Jenna...you're right in pointing out that the Code of Ethics and it's enforcement are two different things. One of the biggest challenges for many boards has been the enforcement of the Code - our professional standards system has not always been adequate in this undertaking, but I think there's a more important issue here; one which you refer to when you note that it's NOT the Code of Ethics which defines your ethical standards.  I think that's true in the sense that moral law is what defines good character, however every society needs a clear statement of group norms to maintain order and discipline.  The Code serves this purpose for our industry IMO.

June 20, 2010 12:26 PM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Paula...part of the problem is that we've become focused on the transaction.  In a sense, guided by the check received rather than principle.  Imagine if our founding fathers had used this limiting view to draft the constitution.  Many of the gains which have enabled our nation to lead the world would never have come to pass if this had been the case.  When we focus on short term gains, we loose the potential of the future because we tend to ignore the law of consequence, which results long after the initial actions have taken place.

 

@J. Philip...Thank you for your comment.

June 20, 2010 12:30 PM
Rainer
34,278
Gerard Falzon
Rental Property Expert, Investment Property Expert
- Gianni Property Group - Cary, NC

Here's my suggestion for an amendment  to the Preamble:

REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership (that the market will bear).

I'm big fan of Dr. Sowell and read all of this columns.  This had led me oppose all attempts by the federal government to artificially inflate the real estate market through the use of the Homebuyer's credit, FHA-insured loans, Goverment-Sponsored Entities (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginny Mae, etc), mortgage relief programs.  Through these taxpayer-funded programs, the government has rewarded speculation, irresponsibility; discouraged the pride of ownership.   

What actions should we, as professionals with ethical responsibilities, do?  Should we avoid working with credit-unworthy buyers?  Should we avoid working with buyers who plan to finance using FHA? 

June 20, 2010 12:44 PM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Deborah...interesting perspective. Although, some of the previous commentators may disagree with the results of our lobbying efforts at the state and national levels, it is important to have the views of our members represented in the conversation.  Real estate is an important fundamental aspect of our nation's heritage and our economy.  Policy can have incredible consequences.  It's important to have people in positions of authority who are able to act with integrity as they make decisions which are going to impact future generations.

June 20, 2010 01:11 PM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Gerald, I've just started to read Dr. Sowell's book.  It promises to be an insightful read.  I'm not sure what he says about the FHA program as I have not gotten to that section yet, however, I do avoid working with buyers who are not credit-worthy.  I refer them to lenders who help them to create a plan to bring their finances into order.  Some of these buyers have returned as long as three years later and purchased homes in a fiscally responsible manner.

June 20, 2010 01:13 PM
Rainmaker
680,743
Kay Van Kampen
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions

Working with so many short sales, today our business is not about making money.  It's about saving a consumer that's upside down and hoping they will survive this economy.

June 20, 2010 01:23 PM
Ambassador
1,855,280
Nestor & Katerina Gasset
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale
International Properties and Investments LLC

Lola- Thomas Sowell is a genius. He is one of the brightest economics minds of the day but since he is not lock, step and barrel with establishment, his wise words go unheaded. 

This is why I cringe when agents tell me that they don't get involved with issues that 1.threaten private property rights, 2. threaten our profession, 3. increase the government's role in private homeowners and 4. Property taxes. These all have a huge bearing on the future of our independence. I could write a book about how I feel but this is your post. :) 

I tell all agents to read Thomas Sowell's book: Real Estate Boom and Bust. It is by far the biggest eye opener I have ever read. Thomas Sowell is very well respected at the Hoover institute at Stanford University. 

(But that is just one of his great works. He also rights with great factual information on the dumbing down of Americans and the racial divide that the establishment wishes to perpetuate. I have learned so much from him and other great leaders and have met some through the Frederick Douglas Foundation.) 

Kay- It is about making money unless you are so rich that you don't need any additional money to pay your bills. Saving a consumer who is upside down in their mortgage really is not doing that much to save the economy. Encouraging small business growth and encouraging people to go invent things and take charge of their dream like Chris Gardner did in Pursuit of Happyness- which BTW- is the greatest film ever made about free market systems and how taking a hand out is not an option- this is what will turn the economy around. 

Tell the government to get out of the way and let the private sector do what it knows how to do best, create jobs and make profits. Katerina

June 20, 2010 03:49 PM
Rainmaker
1,593,336
Dorie Dillard
Realtor-Canyon Creek- NW, Austin TX Homes For Sale
Coldwell Banker United Realtors

Good afternoon Lola,

I really like how Barabra referenced "we still have debris in our industry"...so true!

June 20, 2010 06:10 PM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Kay, Short Sales do require a lot of work often for less than the anticipated commission.  It's about saving and surviving for the consumer & our industry.  And then re-building on a foundation which is fundamentally sound.

June 20, 2010 09:55 PM
Rainmaker
374,933
Lola Audu
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Katerina, I'm so glad that I'm reading the book by Dr. Thomas Sowell.  I'm always thirsty for knowledge and understanding.  We MUST get involved in these issue...if we fail to do so, we have no one to blame but ourselves for fostering collective ignorance and poor results.  Thanks for stopping by to read and add an insightful comment.

 

@ Dorrie...'an inconvenient truth' on a variety of levels.

June 20, 2010 09:57 PM
Rainer
34,278
Gerard Falzon
Rental Property Expert, Investment Property Expert
- Gianni Property Group - Cary, NC

Any thoughts out there of action items for agents?  I proposed that we stop working with the government to destroy the real estate market.

June 21, 2010 01:00 PM
Rainmaker
647,632
Realty Works Temecula
Real Estate, Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee
Realty Works Temecula

Lola:  Excellent post highlighting the basic fundamentals of our society.  I enjoyed reading it very much!

June 21, 2010 01:33 PM
Rainmaker
312,353
Lori Churchill Cofer
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA
Beasley Realty

Lola,

This is a very eloquently written post that highlights our important role as Realtors®.  I think you have written a very important post and a timely one as well.

June 22, 2010 11:13 AM
Rainmaker
69,473
Loan Survivor Real Estate Financing Expert
Purchases, First Time Buyers, Pre-Approvals, Refinance

Raise the bar required to get into real estate and stay in!  The lending industry is doing it (banks are pushing it to get rid of broker competition).

If doctors acted like Realtors, where would healthcare be?

If Realtors acted like doctors, how much better would their industry be?

June 22, 2010 10:09 PM
Rainmaker
131,454
Kevin Henry
Henry Realty

You are right on. I think everyone could use this lesson in our society.

June 29, 2010 09:43 PM
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Rainmaker
374,933

Lola Audu

Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
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