The REALTOR® Code of Ethics - The Most Violated Article

Managing Real Estate Broker with Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. BK646565

Petra Norris - Realtor®The REALTOR® Code of Ethics - The Most Violated Article

This past week I attended Lakeland's Association of Realtors® Quadrennial Member Education Course before it would expire on December 31, 2008. This course is a must for every Realtor which must be taken every four years. I decided this year to do my continued education through hands on, a more interactive education instead of the more convenient online education courses. In our association alone, there are many REALTORS® that still have not taken this mandatory course. I was wondering how many Realtors® are in the United States that have not taken it, how many are here on Active Rain that still lacking this training? Have you taken the Code of Ethics Training yet?  Are you one of them?

There are times in our profession, we take things for granted and forget to do the smallest, though the most important thing when involved in a real estate transaction. The instructor, a very experienced Realtor® and a great teacher, who taught this course, said that Realtors® are:

  • Too busy and/or
  • Don't know that they violated.

The most violated Article of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics is Article 9. Please take a minute to read Article 9 below:

Article 9

         Realtors®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing. (Amended 1/04)

                   • Standard of Practice 9-1

                     For the protection of all parties, Realtors® shall use reasonable care to ensure that documents pertaining to the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate are kept current through the use of written extensions or amendments. (Amended 1/93)

                   • Standard of Practice 9-2

                    When assisting or enabling a client or customer in establishing a contractual relationship (e.g., listing and representation agreements, purchase agreements, leases, etc.) electronically, Realtors® shall make reasonable efforts to explain the nature and disclose the specific terms of the contractual relationship being established prior to it being agreed to by a contracting party. (Adopted 1/07)


Have you violated Article 9?

When going out on a listing appointment and the seller is ready to sign, do you use carbon paper so the seller has a copy of the contract before you leave their home?

What is your procedure?

When my client has no internet, and this happens especially with the elderly, I print out the listing contract with all pertinent information twice and go over with my client before they sign. When an offer comes in, I call my sellers and set up an appointment to present the offer with an extra copy in hand.

Florida Realtors® are required to take 14hrs of Continued Education within two years during their licensure. Of the 14 hrs, 3 hrs have to be law courses. I would like to see that the REALTOR® Code of Ethics Course should be part of the required 14 hrs of Continued Education taken every two years instead of four years. What do you think?

Petra Norris






Copyright © 2008| All Rights Reserved |

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics - The Most Violated Article

Petra Norris - CDV TransAtlantic, Inc. - Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker -

P.O. Box 92050 - Lakeland, FL 33804-2050 -

Telephone (863) 618-6919


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Debbie DiFonzo
Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri - Lebanon, MO
Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate

I sit on our state wide grievance panel - and I agree - Ethics should be required every two years vs every four. I continue to be amazed by some of the complaints - they come down to plain sloppiness. No copies given, not all the blanks filled in, buyer agency agreements with no compensation.


Sep 07, 2008 02:24 PM #1
Regina Lundeen
Delaware Association of REALTORS® - Rehoboth Beach, DE

There are people who are going to do it right and there are people who will not.  Changing course requirements is probably not going to change this behaviour.  IMHO, of course.

Sep 07, 2008 02:31 PM #2
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK

After nearly a decade in real estate, I'm still  amazed at the things Realtors do.  Some out of ignorance but the majority out of plain 'ol laziness.  I tend to sign agreements in my office so copies are easy to provide. 

Sep 07, 2008 06:01 PM #3
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I do the listing on zip forms and then when I drop the lockbox off I send it to them or I email it to them. Most of the time I email then a copy but for the elderly I take it to them too.

Sep 07, 2008 10:47 PM #4
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale

Debbie- I'm sure you can write a book about it with your involvement in your grievance panel. I just hope with this blog that I can get agents to realize the most violated article and make them aware, in addition that they not forget to take this mandatory class. 

Regina- You are probably right - we can't change this behavior, however if we reach Realtors (r) by making them aware of by not only reach out here on our blogs but also making it mandatory every two years.

Jesse & Kathy - Me too, it never seizes to amaze me.

Missy - Thanks for stopping by and commenting on this very important issue nobody should neglect. 

Sep 08, 2008 12:17 AM #5
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Petra we can never have too much training when it comes to ethics. Making sure we have valid written agreements is soimportant. It what we are getting paid to do. Can you imagine standing in front of the judge and your customer/client losing their case because you let a contract expire? That would not be a good position to be in.

Sep 08, 2008 01:30 PM #6
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale

BB - You are so right about more training needed, especially COE. No only to have valid written agreements, but leaving a copy behind with customer/clients is essential as well.

Sep 09, 2008 01:54 AM #7
Marlene Pellegrini
Norwich, CT

If a person is signing anything with me,  and they are not at my office were the copy machine is at hand, I make sure thatthere are 2 exact copies of the documents for them to sign.  That way we both have'em.  It is more work but it is the right thing to do.

Thanks for your blog.

Sep 09, 2008 01:59 AM #8
Rudy McComick

Realtors often forget about the code of ethics in fact here in Wisconsin, I believe the code itself is corruption. There are firms ready, willing, and able to lodge false complaints against other realtor members in order to attempt to control the market. Sadly there is a provision in our state code that does not allow us to fight back when someone makes false statements. That to me is the biggest crime against our industry and it comes from within. Shame on you SCWMLS/RASCW.


Article 15
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices. (Amended 1/92)

  • Standard of Practice 15-1
      REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded ethics complaints. (Adopted 1/00)
  • Standard of Practice 15-2
      The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about competitors' businesses and competitors' business practices includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others. This duty applies whether false or misleading statements are repeated in person, in writing, by technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means. (Adopted 1/07)
  • Mar 30, 2009 02:59 AM #9
    An Marshall
    Berkshire Hathaway - St. Augustine - Saint Augustine, FL
    Your St Augustine Real Estate Consultant

    So good to be refreshed on the code of ethics and review some great discussion.  thank you.

    Jul 30, 2009 01:34 PM #10
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    Petra Norris

    Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale
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