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Happy 100th Birthday, REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Crossroads

There are many who will tell you they trust a REALTOR just about as much as they trust a used car salesman.  That certainly makes a point, however, it is not based in reality.  Since 1913 REALTORS have been held to a Code of Ethics; ours was the fourth profession in the country to establish such a code behind doctors, lawyers, and engineers.  Used car salesman to date have no such code.  In fact, the Code of Ethics sets our profession apart from any other sales position. 


centennial REALTOR Code of Ethics bannerAs with any profession you will always find a bad apple, you will certainly find someone who does not adhere strictly to the code, and you might just happen upon an agent who is ignorant of the code's required action in a given situation.  However, you should rest assured there are penalties assessed on a daily basis when complaints are filed and investigated. 


The Preamble of the Code references such things as "grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty:" that is a pretty lofty set of ideals for a professional equated with those who kick tires.   We do hold ourselves to a high standard and take the tasks with which we are charged most seriously.  "Fiduciary duty" is a term which rolls easily off our tongues, and immediately causes one to sit up and take notice.  "Is this in the best interest of my client?"  must be our principal thought from initiation of a listing, through closing and beyond. 


Beyond the Preamble there are seventeen articles of the Code, each dealing with a specific aspect of our profession.  These run the gamut from misrepresentation of facts, to the unauthorized practice of law, to truthful advertising.  The volume of information discussed therein might be looked upon as overwhelming and an easily violated.  However, the purest direction to follow, with which one will never be wrong, both personally and professionally, is noted near the end of the Preamble:


"In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORScan take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rules, "Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them."

golden rule banner

Comments (4)

Karen Johnson, Realtor, ABR
Addison Wolfe Real Estate - Doylestown, PA
"Bucks County PA Homes"

Hi Ro, thanks for sharing that 2013 marks the 100th anniversity of the Code of Ethics.  I did not realize that it had been around for that long.  Great post!

Sep 02, 2013 01:33 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Ro, fun post, but the reality is that a distinction had to be made between "businesssmen" and others who dealt in land because greed and fraud was rampant in the Guilded Age.  The distinction of subscribing to a Code of Ethics, while admirable, does not get any teeth until about 1974 and our journey continues as we seek higher professional standards.

Sep 02, 2013 03:05 AM
Ro Reed
RE/MAX Crossroads - West Akron, OH
Turning Your Dreams Into An Address!

Thanks for your comment, Kevin.   I wasn't aware of the dismal history of the first 61 years of the code;  I'm glad I stuck to current day ideals for this blog. 

Sep 02, 2013 07:09 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Congratulations on this milestone, a code of ethics is highly important in any profession, and the more that it is enforced the less you will have perceptions or used car salesmen.

Sep 02, 2013 07:49 AM