A REALTOR must subscribe, apply and adhere to the Realtor Code Of Ethics, of which there are 17 articles. For consumers, this is the part that's important. Curious why the Code of Ethics is important to a consumer, read below.
It was adopted in 1913, the Code of Ethics is strictly enforced by local real estate boards. The 17 Articles of the Code of Ethics also has various underlying Standards of Practice. The standards are much more restrictive and confines conduct more than state guidelines governing agents who simply hold a real estate license.
The Code of Ethics rules by the industry to regulate deserves recognition. Keep in mind, that even the non-NAR member "real estate agent" is held to the same legal standards.
Each of the 17 Articles carries weight to a REALTOR® in her everyday business practice, the first article is the basis for the way a REALTOR® operates. All Realtors pledge to put the best interests of their clients and customers before there own, which sets the tone of their business. Nowhere does it state the REALTOR® must be fair to all parties, but a REALTOR® must be honest and provide the best service, information, fiduciary responsibility to their clients and customers that are in the best interest of their parties.
Here are 17 things that a REALTOR® promises to do, which non-affiliates don't:
Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
Refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts about a property; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
Cooperate with other brokers/agents when it's in the best interests of the client to do so.
Disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
Avoid providing professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
Not collect any commissions without the seller's knowledge nor accept fees from a third party without the seller's express consent.
Refuse fees from more than one party without all parties' informed consent.
Not co-mingle client funds with the agent's own.
Attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
Not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
Be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
Engage in truth in advertising and marketing.
Not practice law unless the agent is a lawyer.
Cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
Agree to not bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
Not solicit another REALTOR'S® client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
Submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
As a consumer, you have the opportunity to research, inquire of and interview a potential Real Estate professional, that will be in the best interest of your needs.