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Moral Dilemma

I missed a Horrible MLS Photo yesterday. I had a bit of thinking to do on the future of this part of my blog.

On Friday, I had a call from a member of our real estate board who had noticed one of his pictures on the blog last week. He wasn’t upset about the fact that his photo had ended up on my blog, but was more concerned that I was skating on thin ice by pointing out the inadequacies of other members’ photography skills, which could be construed as discrediting another member, which isn’t allowed under our code of ethics.

I explained that I never ever mention the name of the REALTOR®, the address or even the MLS® number of the subject photo. In fact, I rarely even know these things myself; I usually just scan the photos section of the listing without looking at such details.

Often, the photos are from out of the area or are e-mailed to me by readers.

And the whole point of this exercise (other than entertaining you, the reader), is to encourage real estate agents to get better at what we do. I’ve even posted some of my own photos before.

This agent that called was concerned that I was poking fun at other agents in our area, which is inappropriate, especially now that I’ve been elected as a director for our real estate board. It really struck me when he told me that he had in fact voted for me. I felt like a complete jerk.

So I had a bit of a dilemma on my hands. On the one hand, I don’t feel I’m doing anything wrong. Usually my comments are more helpful tips on how to make the photo better rather than biting remarks ridiculing the agent that took the photo (whose identity is never revealed). On the other hand, I do have a duty to respect and represent the agents who elected me to sit on the board for the next two years, and I feel I’m held to a higher standard in that regard.

What I’ve decided is that I’ll continue the Horrible MLS Photo Of The Day. However, I will no longer use pictures from the Victoria Real Estate Board, and wherever possible, I’ll search for them outside the province. I will also begin to accept reader submissions from outside our trading area. I will also make sure that my comments about the photos, if any, will be constructive in nature and not demeaning.

And my policy stands as it always has, that if you’ve found one of your photos on this blog and want it removed, simply let me know and I’ll take it down.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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  • You know, I’ve read similar complaints on freelance writing blogs that post horrible job postings on their blogs. Like yours, the posts are to encourage better work, and not to demean someone else. Sometimes, the clueless need to get a clue. And I think that’s poor show on someone’s part to hold the fact that they voted for you over your head and to make you feel guilty for something, like you said, isn’t even wrong.

  • Thanks for the comment, Amanda. I think the point is that as a director, I am held to a higher standard; this agent did have a point. And perception is everything. I don’t need to do anything wrong to be in trouble for it; just the perception of playing unfairly is enough. I did subscribe to a code of ethics and I need to be extra careful now that I’m elected to represent them.

    At the end of the day, I can still accomplish my goal of educating other REALTORS® without alienating my peers here in Victoria. Good karma is important too,so I’m not upset about changing it.

  • Stephanie Pink

    Your blog is great. Although I understand the position of the member from our real estate board and the duty to uphold the REALTOR® code of ethics, I have always seen your blog as a challenge to raise the bar. Our job is to effectively and professionally market real estate so our pictures shouldn’t look like the average ad on usedvictoria. Keep up the good work!