A recent e-mail sent to all Royal Instituition of Chartered Suveryors (RICS) Members raises the subject of ethics and integrity in running a business such as ours. In particular, concerns have been raised over conflicts of interest.
In the past few days, we were contacted by a potential client who had previously engaged one of our competitors to produce a valuation report on one of their properties. Apparently, the report was for the use of the owner, but a Bank then became involved and instructed the Valuer to state that the property in question did not provide adequate security for a loan. The owner was not informed about this until just before a crucial meeting relating to the property. The owner was extremely upset at the turn of events and critical of the Valuer who they had appointed.
Whilst not pretending that we at Andrew Idle Associates are perfect, as there is always room for improvement, there are some situations you find yourself in as a Valuer or as a Property Agent in which we need to take care as to how we conduct ourselves.
It is sometimes easy to succumb to the temptation for more money when really we should be taking a step back and giving thought to the various parties involved and what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. Principles ultimately matter more than money and it is important that clients feel they can place their full confidence in us; given that we are advising them on what is when all is said and done, a major asset.
In particular, although part of our role may be to act as a broker to help bring together a letting or sale transaction, we in our firm always try to avoid situations where we are in danger of getting ourselves into a conflict of interest.
The RICS has this week indicated an objective to get tougher on conflicts of interest, with regard to RICS Regulated Firms and, one would anticipate, especially in relation to carrying out valuation work. This comes as the RICS seeks to consult with its members about updating the Red Book (for valuations) in line with International Valuation Standards.
We are all being scrutinised and judged; we would like to think at Andrew Idle Associates that we have built up a reputation for straight and honest dealing and some feedback in the local press over the past few days endorses us for that.