The REALTOR Code of Ethics signifies the decision REALTORS make to commit themselves to honor and service. Since 1913, the Code has grown in meaningfulness, and value, and a commitment to integrity, and professionalism.
The National Association of REALTORS Professional Standards Committee has developed a list of professional courtesies for REALTORS to use when dealing with other REALTORS as well as clients and customers on issues of courtesy or etiquette titled, “Pathways to Professionalism.” The list is intended to promote and encourage more professional conduct on the part of REALTORS, however, none of the items listed are enforceable as is the Code of Ethics.
Pathways to Professionalism
While the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association establish objective, enforceable ethical standards governing the professional conduct of REALTORS, it does not address issues of courtesy or etiquette. Based on input from many sources, the Professional Conduct Working Group of the Professional Standards Committee developed the following list of professional courtesies for use by REALTORS on a voluntary basis. This list is not all-inclusive, and may be supplemented by local custom and practice.
I. Respect for the Public
1. Always follow the "Golden Rule."
2. Always respond promptly to inquiries and requests for information.
3. Schedule appointments as far in advance as possible; call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment.
4. Always schedule property showings in advance.
5. If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the situation to the listing broker or the owner.
6. Communicate with all parties in a timely fashion.
7. Enter listed property first to ensure that unexpected situations, such as pets, are handled appropriately.
8. Leave your business card if not prohibited by local rules.
9. Never criticize property in the presence of the owner.
10. Inform sellers that you are leaving after a showing.
11. When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell or knock before entering. Knock before entering any closed room.
12. Present a professional appearance at all times; dress appropriately and have a clean car.
13. If the seller is home during a showing, ask their permission before using the telephone or bathroom.
14. Advise the clients of other brokers to direct questions to their agent or representative.
15. Communicate clearly; don't use jargon not readily understood by the general public.
16. Be aware of and respect cultural differences.
17. Show courtesy and respect to the general public.
18. Be aware of and meet all deadlines.
19. Promise only what you can deliver and keep your promises.
II. Respect for Property
1. Be responsible for visitors to listed property; never allow buyers to enter property unaccompanied.
2. When the seller is absent, be sure to turn off lights, shut windows, and lock doors after a showing.
3. Tell buyers not to smoke in listed property.
4. Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.
5. When a property is vacant, check that heating and cooling controls are set correctly and check the outside of the property for damage or vandalism.
III. Respect for Peers
1. Call the listing broker to report the results of any showing.
2. Notify the listing broker immediately if anything appears wrong with the property.
3. Notify the listing broker if there appears to be inaccurate information on the listing.
4. Share important information about a property, including the presence of pets; security systems; and whether sellers will be present during the showing.
5. Show courtesy, trust and respect to other real estate professionals.
Click here to view the National Association of REALTORS Real Estate Resources: 2013 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.