The Inside Edge
by Roberta Ward
When I was requested to write an article about ethics in property investment I was asked a few questions:
• Do ethics and property investment make easy bedfellows?
• Are there ethical dilemmas in property investment?
• What does it mean to be an ethical property investor?
To answer these questions properly would take much more than one article, so I’m going to tell you in particular how we choose to apply it to our business.
Dictionary definition of Ethical: ‘moral principles, morally correct’.
Dictionary definition of Morals: ‘a persons standards or behaviour, concerned with right and wrong’.
These are the guiding principles which drive our business. I am often asked – “What is ethical property investing?” The three things it means to us are:
• Not getting involved with companies or individuals touting a ‘get rich quick’
• Teaching people the truth behind methods of investing- good and bad/ ‘warts and all’
• Being extremely careful who we link with – and by this I mean on any level-whether that is a text link out from our website to another company or literally the people we choose to work with and for.
In truth, it’s been a huge challenge keeping a moral compass within property
investing. There are many times when you are tempted by bribes or incentives to be part of something questionable. But, our own stance is to connect with and help people who have the same ethics as ourselves. We never directly recommend anyone we have not worked with personally. That way, if they prove to be not what they seem, then at least it’s just us and not any clients of ours who lose money. If we are not completely comfortable with them then we don’t work with them.
Our own code of ethics was developed over time because of the disgust we felt at the way property investing has been hijacked by marketing sharks who are really just chasing the quickest route to your money. The advent of huge ‘property networking’ events, which are little more than sales drives, has made the whole scenario very distasteful. It still amazes me why so many folks get sucked in by them.
As a company, we have to be very good judges of people, and we spend a lot of time examining those we do business with. The higher your profile becomes, the more people are keen to be seen working with you. This in itself presents a challenge and we have had to find ways to say ‘get lost’ politely! ( Not always easy-as those with poor reputations tend to be like a jack russell hanging on to a trouser leg!)
So back to the questions at the start of this article.
“Do ethics and property investment make easy bedfellows”- no not really, it’s complicated but it’s also very rewarding in the long term.
“Are there ethical dilemmas in property investment?” You betcha! Every day we come across new challenges, but business is about challenge after all.
“What does it mean to be an ‘ethical property investor?” It means having courage to stand up for how you believe business should be done and being prepared to weed out those who seek only to feather their own nest.
Roberta Ward is the owner of mypropertymentor.co.uk, a top 20 UK property blog, and teaches ethical property and wealth investment strategies for professionals via Joint Ventures, workshops and revolutionary collaborative events.