“Ethics” identifies customs, principles and values that a culture or community consider to be sound, where our behavior is quantified. Ethics are considered particularly significant when related to the activities of skilled or influential professionals. Though there’s not an official code for most real estate agents, many are members of the National Association of Realtors, that includes an integrity code. The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors has 17 articles that can be outlined in the golden rule: do to others as you’d like them to do to you. Failure to follow this code of ethics can result in a member to lose his or her membership.
Obligations to Clients
Articles 1 to 9 deal with the responsibilities property brokers have toward their clientele. Article 1 requires representatives to promote the interests of the customers first, while they remain obligated to treat all parties honestly and fairly. Agents should not mislead owners or buyers in the marketplace worth of a property or the savings they can make through their services. Article 2 instructs agents not to exaggerate or hide pertinent details. According to Article 4, realtors can’t represent themselves, immediate relatives or businesses they have an interest in without informing the owner in writing. Article 8 requires brokers to keep a special account, separate from their private accounts, to hold monies in trust for customers or other parties in a property transaction.
Duties to the Public
Articles 10 to 14 deal with the responsibilities of a property agent to the general public. Article 10 forbids brokers from denying services to individuals for reasons of race, colour, religion, sex, family status or nationality. According to article 11, an agent should also be cautious not to provide”technical services” in areas he or she is not competent. Agents have to be careful they don’t create misleading adverts. But, according to article 12, an agent can provide prizes, bonuses and other incentives for customers that employ his services, as long as the terms of the offer are clearly explained. Article 13 forbids property agents from providing legal guidance that constitutes unauthorized practice of the law; instead, he must recommend contacting a lawyer.
Duties to Other Members
Articles 15 to 17 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors govern interactions between its own members. These comprise not making false statements regarding competitors (post 15), or soliciting the work of exclusive customers of other brokers (post 16). The rule aims to restrict agents from targeting the customers of other brokers by telephone or email. However, this is acceptable if the services offered are somewhat different than what the other agent is now offering. It is fine to provide property management services to the present customer of an agent who is offering brokerage services.
The Code of Ethics and the Law
A code of ethics is not the same as state or federal law on property. Even though the code of ethics will usually require higher standards of practice than the legislation, it’s the law that takes precedence in any battle. Property brokers, irrespective of the professional business they are affiliated to, should be knowledgeable about the actual estate laws of the nation (see Resources for information about California legislation ).
Condition Codes of Ethics
Each nation’s professional association provides its guidelines for realtors. The California Association of Realtors creates its own code of ethics and arbitration manual to employ the National Association of Realtors code to California state legislation. If you are a realtor you should become acquainted with the National and state principles of ethics (see Resources).