Say that a realtor suggests that you need a certain subjective requirement to be approved, but that the owner is somewhat flexible. Now, this is not a legal requirement, which would be illegal to break, but rather a subjective requirement, like that of an owner who wanted to make a decision on what requirements to make of the buyer before buying a house.

As a way to push things along, you offer a quantity of money to the realtor as a thanks for their time. In reality, you think of it as a sort of "bribe", to get them to do what you want, when they had previously made up their mind against your favor; but it's not really bribery, because you are not asking them to do anything illegal, only to try to convince the owner to decide in your favor. The compensation, as justified, is merely for the realtor's time and effort.

How would this circumstance be evaluated by ethical systems in philosophy?

  • Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. The way your question is phrased ("would you consider this...?") seems like asking for users' opinions, which is against this site's policy. Without that the question is unanswerable, unless you specify a moral system according to which this case is to be judged. Ethics is not physics where one can ask "is it right?" and not worry according to whom. It would help if you at least state whether you want this judged according to a moral code of duty, moral virtues, or utilitarian considerations, something more tangible than "how do you feel about it?"
    – Conifold
    Feb 18, 2020 at 0:14
  • This question could be dramatically improved by replacing the last line with: "How would this behavior be evaluated by ethical systems in philosophy"?
    – Dcleve
    Feb 18, 2020 at 3:00
  • I've just realized why it is typical in Canada that you are not permitted to talk to either the other person nor the other person's realtor. You talk to your realtor. Your agent talks to their agent. Their agent talks to them. To short circuit just such situations.
    – puppetsock
    Feb 20, 2020 at 20:40

2 Answers 2


The realtor is the agent of the seller. The ethical violations come in when you attempt to induce the realtor to do something that is against the interests of his client. That is, whenever you attempt to change the realtor from being the seller's agent into your agent, that's an ethical violation.

For example: If you tried to induce the realtor to hide information or provide false or misleading information, that would be an ethical violation. "Sell to him or we won't get anybody else at this price."

The reason that realtors usually work on commission is to try to get them to operate in their client's best interest. This presumes that "maximum selling price" is in the seller's interest. If you put your money into the realtor's hands, you may be pushing the realtor into a position where his motivations no longer align with the seller's interests.

  • What if it is not against the interest of the client Feb 19, 2020 at 20:03
  • @philosopher The thing is, the seller gets to determine what is in his interest.
    – puppetsock
    Feb 20, 2020 at 14:21
  • The thing is, the seller still has that choice. The only thing is a realtor just continuing to talk with them about a scenario. Feb 20, 2020 at 19:44
  • As I said, you are attempting to make the realtor your agent instead of the seller's. You should get your agent to talk to the other realtor.
    – puppetsock
    Feb 20, 2020 at 20:38

I think your question is not a philosophy question but more of an ethics question. It sounds like the question you are asking could be answered by asking "would the subjective requirement hurt/damage someone else?". ex: it is illegal to build a granny flat behind my house in my city with out approval because it affects the economy, I build a granny flat to increase property value when I sell, nobody can tell the difference, 5 years later the economy isn't keeping up. This doesn't directly affect me but the indirect consequence makes it morally unjust.

  • 1
    Ethics is philosophy. Feb 18, 2020 at 14:33
  • I already suggested that the requirement will not hurt anyone at all, and it is not illegal. There are no morally unjust consequences. Feb 18, 2020 at 14:35

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