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A REALTOR®’s edge is code of ethics
Mar 12, 2010

It is important to appreciate that REALTORS® provide buyers and sellers with the professional advice 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. The following article on the code of ethics was provided the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA).    

A REALTOR®’s edge 

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.”

The CREA code of ethics does make a REALTOR® special. 

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 29 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®?

REALTOR® is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and describes a real estate practitioner who is a member of the association.

The public has the right to report in writing to MREA any alleged breaches of the code of ethics by their REALTORS®, which will then be investigated by the association.