Realtor’s Code of Ethics
Most realtors are honest and ethical business people who realize that their financial success depends on maintaining good relationships with their clients and a good reputation in the community. As a result, many adhere to the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics. You should try to find a realtor who advertises his or her commitment to the Code of Ethics. It is a document of great persuasive force in dealing with any realtor; it tells him or her how colleagues will view any actions. Some of the elements of the Code of Ethics also extend from agents’ legal duties to their customers. Below are some of the key duties in the Code.
- When representing a client, a realtor has a duty to place that client’s interests above all other parties’ interests. However, a realtor must treat all parties honestly.
- Realtors may not deliberately mislead sellers as to the market value of their homes in an attempt to secure a listing.
- A realtor may not mislead a buyer as to savings or other benefits the buyer might realize through employing the realtor when seeking to become a buyer representative.
- A realtor may represent a buyer and a seller in the same transaction only after full disclosure to all parties and with their informed consent.
- Realtors must submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible.
- Realtors have an obligation to maintain their clients’ confidentiality not only during the time they represent a client, but even after their agency is terminated. They may not reveal clients’ confidential information, use their clients’ confidential relationship to their clients’ disadvantage, or use their clients’ confidential information to the advantage of the realtor or a third party unless the client consents after full disclosure, the realtor is required to do so by court order, the client intends to commit a crime, and the disclosure is necessary to prevent the crime, or the disclosure is necessary to defend the realtor against an accusation of wrongful conduct.
- When entering into a listing contract, a realtor must advise a seller of the company’s policies regarding cooperation with other agents; the fact that buyer’s agents, even if paid by the listing broker, will represent the buyer’s interests; and the potential for the listing broker to act as an agent to multiple parties, in multiple roles, with appropriate disclosures.
- A realtor must avoid exaggerations and must not misrepresent or conceal pertinent facts regarding the property in a transaction. They are not required to discover hidden defects, to disclose confidential facts, or to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license.
- Realtors are obligated to discover and disclose adverse facts about a property that are reasonably apparent to someone with real estate expertise.
- A realtor may not misrepresent the availability of access to a listed property.
- A realtor may not be paid by more than one party to a transaction without disclosure to all parties and informed consent of the realtor’s client(s).
- A realtor must use reasonable care to ensure that all documents in the real estate transaction are kept current as the deal progresses.
- Realtors may not volunteer information about a neighborhood’s racial, religious, or ethnic composition or engage in any activity that may result in panic selling. They may not print, display, or circulate any statement or advertisement indicating any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
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