Working with a Realtor gives buyers, sellers and investors many advantages they need to succeed in today's real estate market. One of those is the assurance that Realtors subscribe to a strict code of ethics, which provides their clients with the highest degree of professionalism, ethics and service. And this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Realtor Code of Ethics.
Consumers often are not aware that not all real estate licensees are Realtors. Only those who are a member of the National Association of Realtors can use the term "Realtor" and must subscribe to the code of ethics as a condition of NAR membership. Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in real estate specialties, bringing value to buyers, sellers and investors.
The code is a comprehensive document consisting of 17 articles that spell out professional responsibilities owed to clients, other Realtors and consumers. The code is a living, breathing document that is amended from time to time to adapt to changes in the industry and how transactions are conducted in an ever-changing environment of technology and marketing strategies. Thus, all Realtors are required to take extensive training on NAR's Code of Ethics at least once every four years to retain their membership.
By adopting the code in 1913, NAR became only the second trade or business group in the United States to adopt mandatory ethical standards for its members.
Real estate is a business based on trust, and working ethically is a way to build trustworthy relationships. Buying, selling and investing in property is a major decision, and consumers need to be able to depend on their Realtor to guide them through the process with their best interests in mind. The code helps provide an added layer of security to help Realtors do just that.
A Realtor must be honest with all parties in the real estate transaction, not only their own client but also other Realtors or real estate agents and their clients. Realtors should also be forthcoming with all parties by disclosing all pertinent facts regarding the property and the transaction. If something seems questionable about a property, the Realtor is obligated to investigate and make recommendations that buyers consult their own expert and inspectors. In addition, Realtors must be truthful in advertising and in communications with the public. When distributing newsletters, creating websites or placing advertisements, Realtors must represent only their work and not take credit for the work of another real estate professional.
Throughout this year, we will highlight the code of ethics and its centennial. My goal is to share with our members and consumers how the code helps buyers and sellers of all types of property in our area. So stay tuned for how we are celebrating the code locally.
In the meantime, I encourage all consumers to read more about the code of ethics and how it benefits them at www.realtor.org/code-of-ethics.