The Code of Ethics for Realtors in Portland
Realtors are schooled heavily on the code of ethics, but most buyers and sellers don’t become aware of The Code unless they feel there is a situation in which their agent has acted unethically.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is a lengthy (eight pages as of 2017) document detailing all of a licensed real estate agent’s responsibilities and obligations. It describes a Realtor’s duties to their clients, to the public, and to other Realtors. It’s a good document to read before hiring a real estate agent in Portland (or anywhere) to represent you in buying or selling a home.
Before we dive into what the REALTOR® Code of Ethics prescribes, it’s important to make a distinction between Realtors and real estate agents. Simply put, a REALTOR® (capitalized, with a register symbol) is a member of the National Association of Realtors as well as his or her local real estate association. (For readability, on this real estate blog we substitute the proper noun “Realtor” for the all-caps version.) In Portland, by Oregon law, real estate agents must have a Broker’s license — see our post on that here or Principal Brokers license. However, being a Broker does not necessarily mean they are a Realtor, only membership in the NAR can get you that. Locally in Oregon, our teammates are members of the Portland Metro Association of Realtors, the Oregon Association of Realtors, and then finally members of the National Association of Realtors. We have three Principal Brokers on our Oregon team and multiple Brokers. (In Washington the terms are Broker and Managing Broker, and we have one Broker in SW Washington, Clark County, and one Managing Broker.)
What’s one of the requirements of being in the NAR? You got it — adherence to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Here are some of the highlights (from the NAR website):
- Realtors protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly.
- Realtors refrain from exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts related to property or transactions.
- Realtors cooperate with other real estate professionals to advance their clients’ best interests.
- When buying or selling on their own account or for their families or firms, Realtors make their true position or interest known.
- Realtors make sure that contract details are spelled out in writing and that parties receive copies.
- Realtors give equal professional service to all clients and customers irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation.
- Realtors paint a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.
- Realtors make only truthful, objective comments about other real estate professionals.
The Code of Ethics sets Realtors apart from other professionals. It exists because we’re dealing with something so central to humanity — our land and our homes. It’s been around for over 100 years and continues to evolve with the times, but it’s goal is still the same: To create a consistent standard of ethical behavior for all Realtors.
As the saying goes, if you see something, say something. Knowing that Realtors are required to abide by these ethical standards, questionable behavior should never be tolerated — by buyers, sellers, or those who work with them. It’s unfortunate but true that sometimes complaints must be launched and the NAR must investigate. That is why they exist and they do their job well.
Above all, when you buy or sell a home in Portland, be sure you’re working with a Broker who is not only licensed, but belongs to the National Association of Realtors. Put the Code of Ethics to work for you!July 17, 2017