Code of Ethics Sets REALTORS® Apart

Release date: 01/01/07

When you think of professionals who follow specific codes of ethics, what comes to mind? Doctors, lawyers, engineers – all are professionals who pledge to follow a strict code of ethics. For important life issues like your health and legal matters, it makes sense to have relationships with professionals who follow such a code.

The N.C. Association of REALTORS® encourages you to consider a similar relationship when it comes to real estate transactions. REALTORS® -- more than 1,000,000 real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® -- pledge to adhere to NAR's strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Among other things, membership in NAR obligates them to be honest with all parties involved in a transaction, whether it is the buyer, seller or cooperating agent.

“The NAR Code of Ethics is the public’s assurance that they are dealing with a professional who has their best interests in mind,” explains Ronnie Thompson, past president of the N.C. Association of REALTORS®. “REALTORS® are subject to disciplinary action and sanctions if they violate the duties imposed by the NAR Code of Ethics.”

It is important that consumers understand the difference between REALTORS® and other real estate practitioners, Thompson says. There are almost four million licensed real estate professionals in the United States, but only members of the NAR can call themselves REALTORS®. Real estate practitioners are simply licensed by their state to do business. The term “REALTORS®” stands for competency, fairness, high integrity and moral conduct in business relations. According to Thompson, folks looking to buy or sell a home should consider REALTORS® their best advocates in the marketplace. When choosing a real estate professional, look for the registered trademark, REALTORS®, Thompson adds.

Because the Code of Ethics is so important, all REALTORS® are required to take a minimum of two and a half hours orientation on the Code of Ethics. Existing members must take a refresher training course every four years. Adopted in 1913, the Code includes 17 Articles and related Standards of Practice that outline the professional duties of every REALTORS® to clients, customers, the public and other REALTORS®.

Here’s a general overview of just a few of the key principles REALTORS® willingly agree to under the Code:

· REALTORS® avoid practices, which may harm the public.

· REALTORS® do not exaggerate, misrepresent or conceal facts related to property or transactions.

· REALTORS® protect and promote their clients’ interests and treat all parties fairly.

· REALTORS® represent themselves truthfully in advertising and other public forums.

· REALTORS® receive compensation from only one party, except where they make full disclosure and receive informed consent from their client.

· REALTORS® respect the exclusive, professional relationship that other Realtors® have with their clients.

· REALTORS® give equal professional service to all clients and customers regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status or national origin

. · REALTORS® willingly participate in ethics investigations and enforcement actions.

For more information about the Code of Ethics and its enforcement, Thompson recommends consumers speak with a REALTOR® or contact the association of REALTORS® in their local area. More than 1,600 local boards and associations of REALTORS® nationwide comprise the National Association of REALTORS®. As the nation’s largest trade association, NAR is “The Voice of Real Estate,” representing more than 1,000,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.