It is important to appreciate that REALTORS® provide buyers and sellers with the professional advice that they need to undertake one of the most important financial transactions of their lifetime.
As with other professions, REALTORS® need to hone their skills and keep up with emerging issues by taking annual mandatory real estate education courses and attending a number of timely professional development sessions. A requirement for being a member of WinnipegREALTORS® is that salespersons must commit to real estate as a full-time occupation. As a result, REALTORS® are well-versed in the nuances of the local real estate market.
One thing consumers often don’t realize is that REALTORS® must adhere to a code of ethics ensuring that accuracy and quality of information is provided to clients.
It actually goes back over 100 years to when the
Winnipeg Real Estate Exchange in 1913 hosted the
National Association of Real Estate Boards (now National Association of REALTORS®, which is headquartered in Chicago) at their annual convention in Winnipeg. This was the first code established by real estate boards in the U.S. and Canada to set a high standard for its REALTOR® members to follow.
The code of ethics has served ever since as the Ten Commandments of the real estate community. It binds REALTORS® together in a common continuing quest for professionalism through ethical obligations based on honesty, integrity, fairness, accountability and professionally competent service.
Ask any REALTOR® about what makes him or her a REALTOR®, you will probably get an answer such as, “I’m a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association,” or, “As a member of the Canadian Real Estate
Association, I’m bound by a code of ethics.”
A code of ethics sets a standard for behaviour which is above the ordinary — behaviour which doesn’t look for the line defining legal and illegal or right or wrong, but instead requires what is morally correct or “honourable,” as the Concise Oxford Dictionary states.
The Canadian Real Estate Association adopted their code of ethics and standards of business practice in 1959, and has revised it eight times since to ensure that it remains relevant to the real estate business and real estate practitioners. Since 1959, members of the association have been conducting their business in accordance with the code of ethics.
The CREA code of ethics is made up of a series
of statements about appropriate conduct for a
REALTOR® in all aspects of a real estate transaction.
Here’s how the code of ethics reads:
“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.
“Through the member, the land resource of the nation reaches its highest use and private land ownership its widest distribution. The member is instrumental in molding the form of his or her community and the living and working conditions of its people.
“Such functions impose grave social responsibilities which the member can meet only by diligent preparation, and considering it a civic duty to dedicate himself or herself to the fulfillment of the member’s obligations to society. The member, therefore, must be zealous to maintain, and continually strive to improve, the professional standards of his or her calling:
• “By keeping informed as to developments and trends in real estate,
• “By endeavouring to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practice in connection with real estate transactions,
• “By rendering his or her services and opinions based only on the member's knowledge, training, qualifications and experience in real estate,
• “By seeking no unfair advantage over, nor injuring directly or indirectly the reputation of, nor publicly disparaging the business practice of other members, and
• “By being loyal to the member’s real estate board and provincial association and active in their work.
“In the interpretation of his or her obligations, the member can take no safer guide than that which has been embodied in the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’
“No inducement of profit and no instructions from clients or customers can ever justify departure from the ideals of fair dealing and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty standard of moral conduct in business relations.
“Accepting this standard as the member’s own, every member pledges to observe the spirit of the code in all dealings and to conduct business in accordance with the standards of business practice as adopted by the Canadian Real Estate Association.”
The 28 articles of the standards of business practice which follow the code of ethics are divided into four sections: Duties to Clients, Duties to Clients and Customers, Duties to the Public and Duties to REALTORS®. The standards of business practice is even more specific than the code of ethics about how REALTORS® should conduct their business.
With these standards, doesn’t it make sense to use a REALTOR®?
When you think of it, it makes as much or more sense for the REALTOR® to abide by the code of ethics and standards of business practice because their very lifeblood and best form of advertising is through word of mouth. Professionalism is not an option, it is a must if they want to be successful in a real estate career.
REALTOR® is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and describes a real estate practitioner who is a member of the association.