This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS, so I thought a little shout out to this document and to my fellow professionals was appropriate. I am so proud of what we stand for as stewards of our industry, our communities, and our Country.
The Code has gone through many iterations over the last hundred years, it’s relevancy ever critical to how we REALTORS conduct ourselves in the world. It really is not just a Code, it’s a way of doing business and living our lives. Every REALTOR has pledged to uphold the standards set forth in the Code and be professional in their dealings. The history and tradition of the Code has as it’s first priority protection of the public and it outlines our duties to clients and customers, as well as to each other. The Code of Ethics existed before any real estate licensing laws and has been the standard that state lawmakers and regulators strive to match. The Code of Ethics guides us in how we conduct ourselves and the commitments we represent.
Take the Preamble to the Code of Ethics for example. It is quite inspiring, presents a big picture vision of our obligations to society, and outlines a lofty ideal. To me, this Preamble is paramount, as it directs us to accept the responsibility of being actively involved in the protection of the rights of home ownership, being stewards and teachers in our industry, and continually striving to be better at what we do. I believe these things to be the foundation of real estate agent professionalism, being committed to all things real estate, in our lives and in our communities:
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, and for which they should be diligent in preparing 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® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience 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. REALTORS® having direct personal knowledge of conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate Board or Association of REALTORS®. (Amended 1/00)
Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interests of those who utilize their services, REALTORS® urge exclusive representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over their competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about other practitioners. In instances where their opinion is sought, or where REALTORS® believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage or gain.
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.
In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
Accepting this standard as their own, REALTORS® pledge to observe its spirit in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in accordance with the tenets set forth below. (Amended 1/07)
This is why you see may see many of us taking active roles in all levels of government and our communities, whether it is actually running for office, attending meetings, offering counsel, supporting candidates and causes, etc. Organizations like homeowner associations, school boards, planning commissions, and city councils, in the Poconos and in every other area in the country, all benefit from REALTORS actively participating.
Sure, we are all in business to earn a living, but the most professional of us, those dedicated to upholding the ideals in the Code of Ethics and the tenets of a thriving, healthy marketplace, continually work to stay current on issues, educate ourselves about our industry, and embrace every aspect of the business. This is not a ‘what’s in it for me’ business. It’s the business of shoring up the foundation of our country by being an actively participating citizen REALTORS. After all: “Under all is the land.”