The REALTOR® Code of Ethics (Simplified)
When choosing a REALTOR® to represent you, you are choosing an agent who swears themselves to a highly specific code of ethical conduct. To help you better understand the expectations of an agent bearing the REALTOR® designation, we are breaking it down into its core elements with easy-to-understand layman’s terms.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is a massive, ever-changing document. To maintain the title, REALTORS® are required to renew their membership every two years by taking a class updating them on this code, and any changes that have been made. This is a huge benefit to you as a client because you know when choosing a REALTOR® to represent you, you are choosing an agent who swears themselves to a highly specific code of ethical conduct.
To help you better understand the expectations of an agent bearing the REALTOR® designation, we are breaking it down into its core elements with easy-to-understand layman’s terms. The document consists of 17 articles, each of which is summarized below. Keep in mind, this is highly simplified language and does not fully represent each article. You can find the full language in the links provided.
DUTIES TO CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
Article 1: Always put the clients’ needs first, but remain honest with all parties.
Article 2: Details of a home must not be sugar-coated, exaggerated or omitted.
Article 3: REALTORS® are to cooperate with each other unless it’s not in the clients’ best interest.
Article 4: Personal ties are to be made apparent before contracts are signed.
Article 5: REALTORS® cannot give their services for sales in which they have interest.
Article 6: Any recommendations which bring in referral fees must be disclosed.
Article 7: Client’s must know if their REALTOR® is receiving additional compensation.
Article 8: Client’s money can never be in REALTORS®’ personal bank account.
Article 9: Any and all documents pertaining to a transaction should be present in clear, understandable terms.
DUTIES TO THE PUBLIC
Article 10: REALTORS® don’t discriminate or deny service based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Article 11: REALTORS® only provide services within their professional scope.
Article 12: You can trust a REALTOR® to be honest (i.e. no false or misleading advertising).
Article 13: They aren’t law experts, and won’t pretend to be. Instead, they will recommend legal counsel when their client requires it.
Article 14: The code is their law. A REALTOR® will not attempt to interfere in any way if they are charged with breaking the code of ethics, and must cooperate completely with the National Association of REALTORS®.
DUTIES TO REALTORS®
Article 15: Trash-talking is below a REALTOR®, which is why they will not knowingly make statements that are false or misleading about other realtors or professionals.
Article 16: They respect exclusive relationships and will refrain from interfering with the brokerage relationships that other REALTORS® have with their client.
Article 17: Disputes are settled with due process.