Code of Ethics
Did you know that there is a Code of Ethics with obligations that might be higher than those mandated by the local laws that govern the profession of the American Realtor?
All real estate agents in Florida must be licensed, but to use the term REALTOR®, they must be members of the National Association of Realtor, (NAR) and pass the ethics test every four years. This test was created in November of 1913 and celebrated its centennial in 2013. The code has been revised and approved by the association a few times through the years; here is a summary of this code. The Code of Ethics covers many obligations as follows:
Between the REALTOR® and the client:
Client is the one with whom the realtor already has an established relationship, and not just someone who just asked for some casual details on some properties. In this relationship, the realtor must respect the client and preserve their interest and confidential information. A realtor must avoid exaggerations and provide clarifications on factual details of properties, cooperating with other realtors in the best interest of clients. Commissions must be explained and all contingencies must be clarified. Realtors are not allowed to receive commissions from service providers, such as banks, attorneys, inspectors, insurance companies, contractors, or any other professionals. These introductions are a courtesy and enhance the services of a real estate associate, but the choices are always of the client. Commissions to the realtor can only come from their broker and the realty where they work. All the money that the client sends to an escrow account should never be mixed with a personal account of a realtor. As well, a realtor should never hold a check for longer than 24 hours, it should be tendered to the agency immediately and deposited in an escrow account.
Between the REALTOR® and the public:
A REALTOR® must treat all clients equally, independently of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familiar status, country of origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. A realtor also cannot provide demographic information about specific areas. REALTORS® can sometimes prepare comparative market analyses (CMA) to help determine the price of properties, but these, even though they might follow strict standards, are still opinions. Only a licensed appraiser can provide a true evaluation of a property. When a REALTOR® charges for its services as an advisor, and not only receive his or her commissions, these services’ fees must be disclosed in advance. All promotions must be transparent, clearly displaying the company name and their qualifications, and when requested, they must provide their license. It is illegal to promote properties providing prizes, discounts and offers to the first buyers. Prices quoted are always the real prices.
Between the Realtor® and other real estate agents:
A REALTOR® should not make false allegations against other realtors or real estate offices and their practices. Realtors also cannot solicit business from colleagues. Often REALTORS® send out advertising, but these ads do not have the intention of stealing a client from another realtor. This code is directed to the malicious advertising or to protect customers that are not so happy with the services they are receiving from their current realtors and decide to change to a new one.
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