Because real estate agents deal with transactions that involve hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, the last thing they want is to obtain a reputation for dishonesty or unethical behavior. Perhaps even worse is that certain actions can place your license, and therefore your career, in jeopardy.
One of the important elements of your education and training in the field of real estate is learning the code of ethics. These rules and regulations are so important that you will be retested on them periodically if you want to maintain your real estate license. Even if you are not a member of the National Association of Realtors, abiding by its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice can help ensure your actions on the job will comply with the highest ideals of your industry.
Protecting your clients’ rights
You have a fiduciary duty to your clients. This means you must use honest and forthright means to seek the best interests for those you represent. Even if an honest disclosure or a conflict of interests may lose you an important commission, your obligation to your client requires you to divulge information he or she needs to make a reasonable decision. Additionally, the Code of Ethics forbids agents to act in a way that discriminates against someone because of race, religion, family status or other protected classes.
During your dealings with those hoping to buy or sell property, you will likely be privy to private and sensitive information for your clients, such their financial circumstances and family dynamics. Sharing those details, even with your co-workers or family, can be a serious breach of ethics.
Working in the industry
Your actions toward your fellow agents should reflect the code of ethics as well as common courtesy. Stealing business from an agent or slandering other agents to win their clients violates the code of ethics. In fact, it is always a wise idea to treat your competitors as you would want them to treat you. Failing to do so can quickly place your license on the line and may even result in more serious legal trouble.
Even if you have been working in real estate for years, you may benefit from a review and brush-up on the ethics that govern your industry. Since every state has its own additional regulations, it is wise to understand the unique rules where you work. Fortunately, opportunities exist for agents to refresh their memories and renew their certifications through continuing education courses offered by experienced instructors whose goal is your success.