Many decades ago the National Association of Realtors® drafted the first version of its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice which has actually been the model for real estate agency law in most of the states. The preamble to the Code of Ethics suggests lofty ideals that Realtors® aspire to and strive towards. The Standards of Practice that follow outline very deliberate “best practices”, that when violated can make a subscriber subject to discipline. Below are some excerpts from the aspirational preamble.
“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. Realtors® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms and the preservation of a healthful environment.”
“Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which Realtors® should dedicate themselves. Realtors® therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow Realtors® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.”
“In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public and each other, Realtors® strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experiences and study with others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.”
“The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal.”
Each year since the first drafting, the Code of Ethics has been modified to clarify or to modernize practices, such as the duty to present a true picture in their advertising, including internet content posted. This practice speaks to their zealous attitude to improve their standards. When you hire a real estate broker, make sure they are also a REALTOR®.