The Realtor’s Code of Ethics
Many people don’t realize it, but professional Realtors, like those in many other professions, have a code of ethics to adhere to. The National Association of Realtors, which is similar in function to Realtors as the American Medical Association and American Bar Association are to doctors and lawyers, has created a very detailed code for us to follow.
The code helps preserve the professionalism of our industry and to ensure that all parties in a real estate transaction are treated fairly and equally. Here are some excerpts (in italics) from the 2012 Realtor’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, Realtors pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly.
Without this standard, anarchy would reign in the real estate field. Honesty and commitment to the agent/client relationship are critically important.
Realtors, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.
As hard as it is for honest people to imagine, there are so-called Realtors out there who will do ANYTHING to make a buck, including deceiving others.
(Oh, in case you were wondering about the capital “R” you see in the word “Realtor,” that’s the correct way to write it, even according to the dictionary. I think it’s cool that we’re in possibly the only profession where our job title is capitalized.)
Realtors, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant representative, shall not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or other benefits that might be realized through use of the Realtor’s services.
Again, here’s another standard that assures that buyers and tenants aren’t coerced into using the services of the Realtor with the promise of what could be false hopes.
Realtors may represent the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the same transaction only after full disclosure to and with informed consent of both parties.
An important one, because if this standard is ignored, you can see what kinds of trouble could erupt. There’s nothing wrong with an agent making double the commission in a deal, but both the buyer and seller have to know this in advance. Many times, one or the other party will object to it, for obvious reasons.
Realtors, acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall submit to buyers/tenants all offers and counter-offers until acceptance but have no obligation to continue to show properties to their clients after an offer has been accepted unless otherwise agreed in writing. REALTORS®, acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall recommend that buyers/tenants obtain the advice of legal counsel if there is a question as to whether a pre-existing contract has been terminated.
This is just good business practice, and we’re happy to be able to say that our real estate firm, Bradford & Udouj, is committed to this standard and every standard that can affect the agent/buyer and agent/seller relationships.
So there are a few pieces of the Realtor’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, as set down by the National Association of Realtors. Nick and I haven’t memorized the entire thing by any means, but we have our OWN code of ethics, and from what I can tell, ours and theirs are pretty much the same.
Real estate has a good code. Good agents follow it to the best of their abilities.