By Kay Wilson-Bolton
April 10, 2006
There is supposed to be one distinctive that marks a REALTOR® from an agent with a real estate license, and that is the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics.
They are a combination of the Golden Rule, common sense and the Ten Commandments. They lay the groundwork for good business practices and fair play—particularly in the realm of real estate.
The National Association of REALTORS® has recently reviewed the Code of Ethics, to which all REALTORS® subscribe, and updated them to insure that REALTORS® work product is geared to the highest level of honesty, integrity and professionalism.
REALTORS® commit themselves daily to behave in such a way as to bring credit to their companies and their personal business practices. As in life, perfection is out of reach, but continuing to reach these lofty goals is standard practice among our REALTOR® community and it is demonstrated in how we treat our customers and each other.
Our Code of Ethics in comprised of sections that deal with the public, clients and customers, and other REALTORS®.
For example, in the area of Duties to the Public, Article 10 states that
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. (Amended 1/90).
REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. (Amended 1/00)
Standard of Practice 10-1- Except as provided in Standard of Practice 10-3, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/05)
In the area of Duties to Clients and Customers, Article 1 states that 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. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01)
In Standard of Practice 1-1, it states that REALTORS®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics. (Amended 1/93)
A unique area is the article dealing with Duties to REALTORS®. Article 15 states that REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices. (Amended 1/92).
There is a common understanding that REALTORS® need each other in every transaction. There must be good communication and common goals—such as fair play, full disclosure and satisfied customers.
The Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS® has a wonderful option for the public. If you have a question about practices or a concern about fair play, we always recommend that you speak first with your REALTOR®, then the broker or office manager. If that fails to produce the desired result, our Ombudsman Committee is chaired by Faith Cosby and concerns can be directed there. Simply call the Association office and ask for the Executive, Randy McCaslin. The number is 981.2100.
Matters filed for review are sent to the Grievance Committee, led by Judy Ohaco. At this level, if there are findings of potential violations, they are referred to Professional Standards Committee for a hearing.
The Professional Standards Committee is chaired by Jim Keith and along with staff, will set the matter for hearing.
REALTORS® are here to serve the public and ethics make the course ahead unmistakable.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and can be reached at 805.340.5025.