By Todd Lewys
Since 1913 — when the first Code of Ethics was approved by the National Association of Real Estate Boards — the REALTOR® Code of Ethics has guided the conduct of real estate professionals.
For more than a century, the Code has prompted Realtors to conduct business in a professional manner that’s defined by honesty, integrity, fairness, accountability and professionally competent service.
Should you be looking to buy your first home or selling your home, here are some of the qualities you should look for in a Realtor:
• Professional, competent service. This quality should be evident the first time you meet with your Reator. They should take the time to learn about you and your needs, and then build a game plan from there. That may include educating you about the market, connecting you with a mortgage broker to get you qualified — and then approved — for a mortgage. Once approved, you can begin looking seriously for a home. In this vein, your Realtor should provide you with an online portal you can access to look at homes that might be of interest to you.
• Absolute honesty and integrity in business dealings. Simply put, real estate transactions are a complicated, emotional process. Consequently, it’s imperative that an agent guide you through the process while keeping you on an even emotional keel.
• Dealing with you and other Realtors with the utmost respect and civility. Is the Realtor you’re looking to hire polite and considerate? Are they a good listener? Do they deal with any incoming calls from other Realtors calmly and with respect?
• Cooperation with & fairness to all. So, you’ve found a home that you really want to buy, but the vendors are stuck on a price that’s just out of your price range. This can be a touchy situation. Nevertheless, it’s one that a good, experienced Realtor should be able to handle with aplomb. With a little give and take, they should (hopefully) be able to work out a deal that works for both you and the vendor.
• Personal accountability. Things can and do go wrong in real estate transactions. Does your Realtor appear to have the qualities required to deal with challenge and controversy in a professional manner — and the ability to own up to making an error if one should occur?
Of course, there are other things you should expect from your Realtor:
• To protect your interests. In short, a Realtor should always be looking out for their client and have their best interests at heart. At the same time, they must do their level best to deal fairly with all parties involved in the transaction.
• Keep clients informed. For example, a Realtor should use their experience to assess a home — and then inform their client of a home’s strengths and weaknesses. If there are too many red flags, a good Realtor should prompt you to move on to another home in short order.
• Outline all expenses associated with a transaction. As noted previously, buying or selling a home is a complicated process. Buyers — especially those purchasing their first home —should be made aware of closing costs, land transfer tax and miscellaneous expenses. Sellers should be advised that some (possibly significant) costs — repairs, renovations or staging — may come with readying their home for sale.
Seeing as buying a home is the single biggest financial commitment that you will make in your lifetime, it’s imperative to find the right Realtor, one who will fit your needs — and personality.
Consequently, it’s important that a Realtor embody the qualities set out in the Realtor Code of Ethics.
If their approach fits you — one that’s honest, courteous, knowledgeable and above all, professional — then it’s likely you’ve found a Realtor will help you find your dream home, or sell your existing home for a tidy profit.