“Big Brother” is no longer just a television show on CBS where we, the viewers, are playing the peeping Tom; nor is it an outdated trope from a George Orwell novel. No, Big Brother has crept into the real estate industry, and we are the objects of affection … or is that the objects of suspicion? Do we deserve to be under scrutiny? When we violate trust — yes.

Recently, our local industry has been dealing with the aftereffects of a real estate agent caught on hidden camera, allegedly stealing prescription drugs. Although the court case has been postponed until a later date, potential customers and clients are left in real time with concerns about protecting their property while their house is on the market. Can you blame them?

When news broke of this alleged crime, I took to my Facebook page to address the issue and reassure my “friends” and “fans” that in my experience, this is not the norm in our industry. I immediately got a call from a fellow agent suggesting I take my post down. I can appreciate not wanting to give our profession a black eye; however, the punch was already thrown, and not by my fist.

Maybe it is the public relations graduate in me –I don’t know — but I wanted to acknowledge head-on the issue that was being blasted on our local television stations and face the blowback. My “friends” were pleased that I didn’t turn a blind eye, and that was validation enough that I made the right choice for my business.

Ironically, I recently had the pleasure of working with a very savvy seller. When calling to discuss feedback I had received, my client recounted what the buyers and their agents were doing at each showing. At first I didn’t think too much of it, but then the details became very specific. I inquired how they knew so much about the tours, and then I was informed that they have video surveillance as part of their home security system.

My client was watching every move and could easily say, “I know what you did last showing” to every agent who entered. I immediately had a flashed back to my own showings and wondered if I have ever done something I would not want caught on camera. Aside from adjusting my clothing when a buyer wasn’t looking or helping myself to a chocolate left on the table for us (for us, right?), I am confident in the way I have conducted myself as a real estate professional. What about you? Have you ever done something you would not want Big Brother seeing?

I want to leave you with some great nuggets of wisdom here, yet there isn’t much to say other than: Have integrity. To quote C.S. Lewis, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.

Shannon Milligan is a top-producing associate broker/Realtor and the president of the RVA Home Team with Keller Williams Realty Richmond West. Shannon has a passion for marketing, blogging and providing a tremendous customer experience for her clients all while winning with integrity. Please visit Shannon on her website or stop by and make friends with her on Facebook.

Email Shannon Milligan.

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