If you’re looking to buy your first home, chances are good that you may not have had a lot of prior experience in the real estate market. Aside from the fact that the entire prospect of purchasing a home is daunting to most people, it can be even more confusing if you are not sure of the differences between a standard real estate agent and a REALTOR. While it’s common to use both terms somewhat interchangeably, there are actually variances between the two titles that separate them from each other.
Yes, both are licensed to sell real estate; however, one is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means they are bound by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. As a consumer, it’s not surprising that you may be wondering what this means since the idea of a code of ethics is somewhat arbitrary, but it’s important to note that the code which bounds each member of the National Association of REALTORS® is strictly enforced.
In short, The Code contains 17 articles, as well as certain Standards of Practice that bind REALTORS in a way that does not impact individuals who simply hold a real estate license. While it’s impossible to guarantee that all REALTORS will adhere to the standards at all times, The Code exists as a way to regulate and require ethical behavior.
While it should be noted that this in no way means that non-member real estate agents fail to be ethically-minded, it’s important to realize that most REALTORS take their promises very seriously.
To help aid in your understanding, the 17 REALTOR promises are as follows:
- Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
- Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
- Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
- Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
- Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
- Shall not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller’s express consent.
- Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.
- Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
- Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
- Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
- Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
- Must engage in truth in advertising.
- Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
- Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
- Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
- Shall not solicit another REALTOR’S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
- Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
If you’d like to learn more or are interested in buying or selling a home, I’d love to show you what makes REALTORS so great. Please feel free to contact me at my direct number below.
Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.MarieDinsmore.com | 770-712-7789