Real Estate Ethics Reviewed
All real estate companies in America are held to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS. This document requires all practicing REALTORS to adhere to a specific list of Duties to Clients and Customers. The code is comprised of seventeen articles covering areas where real estate companies and their agents must represent, disclose or interpret standards of care for their clients, among one another and within the overall community.
This document plays an extremely important role in protecting the rights and interest of the general public as well as the real estate companies and its agents as well. The ethics covenant is enforced by each states individual Association of REALTORS. A panel of peers, realtors from throughout the state, comprise the non-partisan group that reviews complaints made by the general public, businesses, groups and even other real estate professionals. Once a complaint is made, the respondent (normally a specific realtor or firm), has the right to respond in writing to the complaintant’s accusation. Most complaints are then forwarded to a hearing panel so that each side can present their point of view and subsequently a decision is rendered by a majority of the panel on the topic.
Nearly every designated broker in the industry is faced with handling various complaints or arbitration with this process and unfortunately, the system is commonly misused and abused for nonsensical or retribution oriented reasons. However, these instances aside, the process does identify individuals or real estate companies that have been found guilty of non-ethical conduct and behavior. Naturally, the public has a right to know and should ask a prospective agent prior to hiring them what their company’s record is relative to filed complaints, results, lawsuits or arbitration. Obviously you want to do business with agents/companies that handle their clients with virtue and always “Do The Right Thing!”
The articles comprising the code of ethics include Article 1: Treat all parties to a transaction honestly, in all ways, never misleading an owner as to market value, utilizing full disclosure and being factual in the presentation of all aspects when handling a contract. Article 2: Elaborates by insuring that an agent does not exaggerate, misrepresent or conceal pertinent facts relating to a transaction. Agents must disclose adverse factors that are easily discernible to a real estate professional. DISCLOSURE is an important real estate requirement.
Article 3: defines the expected cooperation between various real estate brokerage’s to insure the clients best interest are always represented including Exclusive Agency situations, the communication of compensation changes, variable rate commission arrangements or dual agency. This article also requires the disclosure of sub-agents, existence of and status of accepted offers, relationship disclosure with client, and availability of property accessibility to show to clients. Basically this means that “pocket -listings” are not allowed and full disclosure of listed properties must be made on the multiple listing systems. Intentional shielding of available properties to the general public and other real estate professionals is not allowed and can be addressed through this article.
In a future writing, I will cover the remaining fourteen articles that comprise the code of ethics. As a matter of the general public having access to a company’s status as it relates to ethics complaints, Better Business Bureau complaints or lawsuit filings or complaints with the Arizona Attorney General’s office, all of this is public information and easily accessible with a little online website investigation. In this regard, Provident Partners Realty & Management is pleased to disclose that we have an unblemished record of serving our clients and the communities we do business in; including an A+ rating with the Central and Northern Arizona Better Business Bureau! For more information, feel free to contact me personally at 602-622-1196.
By Bill Spain
Provident Partners Realty