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Ethics of Sneaky House-Buying

Mr. Barker is returning to a town he once lived in and a position he once held. He and his wife visit several real estate brokers there in hopes of finding a house. One broker mentions that Horace's house will soon be for sale. "Oh," Barker says, "I know Horace; is he leaving the area?" The broker explains that he is not, but is moving to a larger house she showed him because his family has outgrown their present home. As they are driving to inspect Horace's property, Barker casually asks the broker which house Horace is buying. The broker tells him. She innocently adds that he is paying $78,000 for it.

After leaving the broker, Barker goes directly to the owner of the house Horace is planning to buy, inspects it, is impressed with what he sees, and says to the owner, "Look, I know Horace has offered you $78,000. I'll pay $79,000, and what's more, you won't have to pay any broker's commission." The owner agrees and Barker buys the house.

Was Barker's behavior unethical?

Solution Preview

In my opinion, Barker has not broken any code of ethics. At a personal level, maybe he has deceived his friend Horace by ...

Solution Summary

Briefly looks at the legality and ethics of a man sneakily outbidding a friend based on inside information in an objective manner.

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