by Russ Meyer, REALTOR(R), Nebraska Home Sales
I like a good challenge question. Recently, I was giving an early morning talk. An older gentleman patiently raised his hand and asked “What ethics do REALTORS® follow?” I was floored. I enjoy talking about inspection processes, I can’t wait to share first time buyer financing options, but the topic that gets me wide awake was now front and center.
We as REALTORS® spend a significant amount of time on this topic. Our industry is heavily regulated on multiple levels. The Nebraska Real Estate Commission oversees the laws of the state as it relates to licensees and brokers. Nebraska law regulates the behavior and standards of real estate professionals. Nebraska law also mandates a minimum level of continuing education in order to maintain a license.
The National Association of REALTORS® has a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice initially adopted in 1913 and continuously updated. REALTOR® is a designation provided only to real estate professionals who choose to be members. The Code has three parts: duties to the public, duties to clients, and duties to other licensees. It requires agents to act competently and be a beacon of moral conduct. REALTORS® are to treat all parties with respect, to disclose information that is pertinent while preserving confidential information (as defined by state law), and to recognize, identify, and disclose when there is a conflict of interest. REALTORS® continuously work to remain informed on issues affecting real estate as knowledgeable professionals; they identify and take steps through enforcement of the code of ethics to eliminate practices that may damage the public or could discredit the real estate profession. Above all, REALTORS® are expected to put the interests of their clients and the public above their own.
Locally, REALTORS® also belong to a local Multiple Listing Service which creates and enforces the rules set for REALTORS® and listings in a geographic area. In addition, agents are overseen by licensed brokers operating each individual brokerage.
Finally, we follow the Golden Rule in our relationships with the public, our clients, and fellow agents. Real estate professionals provide a valuable service. We cannot provide that service if the public cannot trust us. That trust begins with our code of ethics.