With Indiaís rather ambiguous legal system riddled with many loopholes, we often see businesses, especially realty businesses, following a path of dishonesty and self-interest without actually doing anything illegal. I have always thought that practicing code of ethics in business is often a diffi cult choice. So we often fi nd ourselves talking about Ďethical practicesí in real estate business. Does it mean that the company keeps clear of all murky dealings in its businesses? By Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India
The fact is unethical practices in real estate are the product of a short term, mercenary approach to the business. This phenomenon is more evident among smaller brokerages, which often have no more than a single dealing with many of their customers. Iím not saying that all small brokerage houses are unethical. (I personally know a number of small operators whose business methods are completely above reproach.) They know that good ethics equals good business. What Iím saying is that a professional real estate agency that takes ethics seriously treats every new prospect as a potential long-term client.
When every deal is regarded as a potential prospect that brings in more clients, ethical conduct becomes a natural by- product. An ethical mindset cannot be enforced. It comes as a result of a deep understanding of how businesses work best in a highly competitive environment. The Indian real estate market has been notorious for lack of transparency but that is changing fast. Larg property consultancies are now handling a number of international clients, who are either eager to enter or expand operations in the Indian subcontinent. Such clients expect high standards in terms of service quality and clarity, and are often worried about being taken for a ride by unscrupulous operators. All they have to depend on initially is the tangible, verifi able ethical approach of their real estate partners on this end.
So, what constitutes ethical business practices in real estate business? I canít cover all facets of ethical business here as some pertain to clients, others to employee conduct and yet others to Government authorities. However, it is the way in which one deals with clients that can either make it or break it. Briefl y, Iíll focus on these aspects here.