REALTORS® and the Code of Ethics
Not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®.
Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association Of REALTORS® may use the term REALTOR®.
REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics. The Code of Ethics defines a level of professionalism and responsibility in how REALTORS® conduct their business that sets them apart from other real estate practitioners.
The Code was first adopted by the National Association of REALTORS® in 1913 and has been revised over the years to reflect current developments in the professional practice of real estate. Boards and associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
Many ethics complaints result from a misunderstanding or failure in communication. Before filing an ethics complaint, make reasonable efforts to communicate with your real estate professional or a principal broker in the firm. If these efforts are not fruitful, the local board or association of REALTORS® can give you the procedures and forms necessary to file an ethics complaint.
Since the adoption of the Code of Ethics in 1913, thousands of hearings have been conducted by REALTORS® in the interest of protecting the public. Ethics complaints brought before NSR are treated with absolute sincerity and handled by the process dictated in the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual from the National Association of REALTORS®. The objective of this process in each case is to promote honesty, integrity, fairness, and competency, and to resolve controversies on the basis of the informed judgment of one’s peers.
For a more expeditious, informal process to dispute resolution without having to file an Ethics Complaint see the Ombudsman Program section.
Download more information on how to file an ethics complaint here.
The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. It can quickly solve conflicts before they become serious problems. Like a mediator, an ombudsman is a neutral facilitator that helps parties find solutions.
The NSR ombudsman will make all necessary contacts in an attempt to resolve the complaint. If the ombudsman efforts are effective, there is no further action necessary. If the efforts are not successful in resolving the complainant’s issues, the ombudsman will advise the complainant about the next step(s) in the complaint process.
This program is free to members of the public. Click here to view the Ombudsman Brochure.