When you think of professionals who follow specific codes of ethics, what comes to mind? Doctors, lawyers, engineers – all are professionals who pledge to follow a strict code of ethics. For important life issues like your health and legal matters, it makes sense to have relationships with professionals who follow such a code. I would encourage you to consider a similar relationship when it comes to real estate transactions.

REALTORS® -- more than one million real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® -- pledge to adhere to NAR's strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Among other things, membership in NAR obligates them to be honest with all parties involved in a transaction, whether it is the buyer, seller or cooperating agent.

The NAR Code of Ethics is the public’s assurance that they are dealing with a professional who has their best interests in mind. REALTORS® are subject to disciplinary action and sanctions if they violate the duties imposed by the NAR Code of Ethics.

It is important that consumers understand the difference between REALTORS® and other real estate practitioners.

There are almost four million licensed real estate professionals in the United States, but only members of the NAR can call themselves Realtors®. Real estate practitioners are simply licensed by their state to do business. The term “REALTOR®” stands for competency, fairness, high integrity and moral conduct in business relations.

Folks looking to buy or sell a home should consider REALTORS® their best advocates in the marketplace. When choosing a real estate professional, look for the registered trademark, REALTOR®.

Because the Code of Ethics is so important, all REALTORS® are required to take a minimum of two and a half hours orientation on the Code of Ethics. A newly adopted NAR requirement calls for existing members to take a refresher training course every four years.

Adopted in 1913, the Code includes 17 Articles and related Standards of Practice that outline the professional duties of every REALTOR® to clients, customers, the public and other REALTORS®.

Here’s a general overview of just a few of the key principles REALTORS® willingly agree to under the Code:

When considering their obligation to their clients, REALTORS® use the golden rule as their guide: ‘Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

REALTORS® accept this standard as their own and pledge to observe its spirit in all of their activities.

The REALTORS®’ Pledge of Performance and Service
Abridged Version / Complete Version

Duties to Clients and Customers

Article 1 REALTORS® protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly.

Article 2 REALTORS® refrain from exaggeration, misrepresentation or concealment of pertinent facts related to property or transactions.

Article 3 REALTORS® cooperate with other real estate professionals to advance their clients’ best interests.

Article 4 When buying or selling on their own account or for their families or firms, REALTORS® make their true position or interest known.

Article 5 REALTORS® do not provide professional services where they have any present or contemplated interest in property without disclosing that interest to all affected parties.

Article 6 REALTORS® disclose any fee or financial benefit they may receive from recommending related real estate products or services.

Article 7 REALTORS® receive compensation from only one party, except where they make full disclosure and receive informed consent from their client.

Article 8 REALTORS® keep entrusted funds of clients and customers in a separate escrow account.

Article 9 REALTORS® make sure that contract details are spelled out in writing and that parties receive copies.

Duties to the Public

Article 10 REALTORS® give equal professional service to all clients and customers irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Article 11 REALTORS® are knowledgeable and competent in the fields of practice in which they engage or they get assistance from a knowledgeable professional, or disclose any lack of expertise to their client.

Article 12 REALTORS® paint a true picture in their advertising and in other public representations.

Article 13 REALTORS® do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

Article 14 REALTORS® willingly participate in ethics investigations and enforcement actions.

Duties to REALTORS®

Article 15 REALTORS® make only truthful, objective comments about other real estate professionals.

Article 16 REALTORS® respect the exclusive, professional relationships that other REALTORS® have with their clients.

Article 17 REALTORS® arbitrate financial disagreements with other REALTORS® and with their clients.

Please remember that this is simply a general overview of the Code’s key principles. For additional information on the Code of Ethics and its enforcement, speak with a REALTOR® or contact the Hilton Head Area Association of REALTORS® (843)842-2421.

To view the Code in its entirety, Click Here.