Embracing the Four Cardinal Virtues of Good Character

The wisdom of Aristotle still applies today, even in real estate. Developing good character is a MUST to thrive in today’s market. 

Success is often measured by numbers in real estate: closed deals, commission percentages, and property values. While these metrics undoubtedly matter, there are intangible factors that underpin a thriving real estate career: good character and unwavering integrity. In this article, we will explore the profound significance of these qualities in the real estate profession, drawing insights from Aristotle’s Four Cardinal Virtues. 

Related reading: The Power of Integrity: Elevating the Real Estate Profession 

Aristotle’s Four Cardinal Virtues 

According to philosopher Henry Summers, “Human beings, for Aristotle, will be happy when they fulfill their purpose or function well. According to Aristotle, the rational powers of the human soul distinguish man from the other animals; reason is what makes humans unique. Human happiness and morality will therefore have to be in the exercise of the rational powers: the good person is one who wills and reasons well.” 

Aristotle believed that achieving a virtuous and fulfilling life required the cultivation of four central virtues: Wisdom, Courage, Temperance, and Justice. 

  1. Wisdom: In the context of real estate, wisdom is about more than just market knowledge. It is the ability to discern what is truly in the best interest of the client, even when it might not align with short-term gains. A wise agent understands that a satisfied client is the cornerstone of a sustainable and successful career. 
  2. Courage: Real estate often demands courage in various forms. It takes courage to pick up the phone, face challenges head-on, to provide honest advice, and to advocate for the client’s best interests, even when it may be met with resistance. A courageous agent might be afraid, but they navigate through uncertainties and complexities anyway in striving for the best outcome. 
  3. Temperance: Temperance, or self-control, is crucial in a field that can be rife with pressure and temptations. It means resisting the urge to cut corners, mislead, or pursue personal gain at the expense of the client’s welfare. A temperate agent is steadfast in their commitment to ethical conduct, even in the face of difficult decisions. 
  4. Justice: Justice in real estate goes beyond legal compliance. It entails a dedication to fairness and equity in all dealings. A just agent seeks to ensure that all parties involved are treated with integrity and respect, striving for outcomes that are not only legally sound but morally right. 

Related reading: The Collector – What Were Aristotle’s Four Cardinal Virtues? 

The Essence of Good Character 

The real estate industry isn’t always perceived in the way that professional real estate agents like you deserve, and the best way you can lift the reputation of this industry, as well as the perception of agents as professionals rather than “just salespeople,” is to always act with integrity and prove your quality of character.  


At the core of every fruitful real estate transaction lies trust. Clients entrust you with the monumental task of navigating them through a complex, often emotional process of buying or selling a home. When you operate with impeccable integrity, it builds a foundation of trust that can weather any storm. It means consistently doing what you say you will do, even when it might be easier or more profitable to do otherwise. 


In a fast-paced industry like real estate, reliability is invaluable. Clients depend on you to be available, responsive, and proactive. Being reliable means you can be counted on to follow through, ensuring that your client’s needs are met in a timely and efficient manner. 


Real estate transactions are deeply personal experiences, often intertwined with major life events. Being an empathetic agent means you understand and appreciate the emotions that can accompany these moments, whether it’s the excitement of a first-time homebuyer or the bittersweet farewell of a long-time homeowner. This empathy allows you to offer not only professional guidance but also emotional support, creating a lasting bond of trust. 


Professionalism extends beyond attire and punctuality. It encompasses a dedication to excellence in all aspects of the profession. This means you are well-informed, conduct thorough research, and approach each transaction with meticulous attention to detail. You uphold high ethical standards and treat all parties involved with respect and courtesy. 

Related reading: Home Sellers 101: What a Homeowner REALLY Wants When They List With You 

The Power of Virtue in Real Estate 

In an industry where reputation is the bedrock of trust, prioritizing trustworthiness, reliability, empathy, and professionalism while embracing the virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice not only creates a thriving career but leaves an indelible mark of positive influence on your clients and communities. Aristotle’s Four Cardinal Virtues provide an enduring framework for embodying the qualities essential for long-term success in this field, and the fusion of expertise and ethical excellence forms the cornerstone of a legacy that resonates far beyond the housing market, creating a lasting impact on the lives and futures of those you serve. 

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