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Professional ethics in real estate agency

I’m starting a post series on ethics. Business ethics. The ethics of my business. I’m fresh off the completion of a 6 hour online CE course  featuring case study by case study applications of the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

One of the first things to recognize when someone identifies themself as a person with real estate expertise, is to simply ask if they are indeed a Realtor.

A Realtor subscribes to the code of ethics of the National Association of Realtors.

A mere “agent” who is indeed a licensed real estate salesperson in their respective state is not a Realtor – for instance, I am a “licensed real estate salesperson” in Georgia and I am not a “licensed real estate broker” and both my broker and I are members of the local Board of Realtors for Dekalb county.

Our local boards in every part of the United States, enforce the professional ethics to which all Realtors should aspire.

We have mandatory ethics courses to attend, and we have clear pathways for dispute resolution and complaint channeling – these practices and professional standards assure the highest level of ethics from all members.

Mere agents don’t necessarily subscribe to that. They might aspire to the ideals– that’s a good thing. But, they haven’t signed up, and they don’t necessarily have accountability, except under state law.

Agents are not part of a bigger social contract; Realtors are.

Many mere agents are in our business. Many brokers support mere agency models, and quite often these are volume driven license holding businesses with a litany of “onesey, twosey, threesey” sales per year agents who just want to park their license and make profit, but not necessarily grow a lasting, community focused business.

Most of these folks are not the agents that you might recognize from signage in your Intown neighborhoods, however some are  – you might be surprised how many agents are merely in this business for the commerce and who don’t necessarily have the wherewithal to operate by a higher professional code.

Think before you hire and always consider this key part of Realtor code:

REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

More on ethics in 2013!

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