A Life of its Own
In the Blogiverse, there is a lot of conversation about NAR as if the association had some life of its own. Sometimes the conversation revolves around perceived restrictions created by the Code of Ethics and opinions expressed which range from the Code being ineffective to writers who seem to feel that the code is some sort of barrier to creative business techniques. I’m not sure why this happens, because in my experience neither of those positions are accurate.
After 30 years of serving on local, state and national Professional Standards committees, I can assure anyone that there are no “rubber stamps” in Professional Standards hearing, and that participants take the entire procedure seriously. I have seen defendants moved to tears by the very process, and know that thousands upon thousands of commissions disputes have been resolved without litigation as a result of arbitrations facilitated by the Code. And in both ethics and arbitration cases, the entire process is much speedier than either regulatory agencies or litigation.
A Living Document
As far as the restrictions of the Code, I just don’t get it. In fact, the very existence of NAR was created by the desire of real estate professionals to regulate the actions of those people in the industry who were not treating the public in a responsible manner- it took 5 years of national meetings before the publication of the first code of ethics in 1913. Not only is the Code a living document which has been modified constantly over the last 95 years to reflect the changes in our industry, but it is also a document which fits easily into normal business practice.
I’m proud to hold myself to a specific set of standards that talk about my responsibilities to the public, my customers , my clients, and my colleagues. In Philadelphia, when I started in the business, there was a large Non-Realtor community, and those of us who were active in the REALTOR movement viewed the Code as a point of differentiation. In fact, the Code was an integral part of my listing presentation, since I felt that a consumer should know that there was a place to go if they felt they were treated unethically. I often say that getting a listing means successfully answering four questions
- Why use a REALTOR?
- Why use my brand?
- Why use my company?
- Why use me?
Oh, You LIKE Having a Commitment? What a Shock.
When you ask “Why use a REALTOR?” we talk about the exposure we can provide and the benefits of using a real estate professional including the protection of the Code of Ethics – and the response from consumers indicates (at least in my experience) that they like having that commitment from their agent.
Perhaps the criticism comes from a lack of information about what the process is and how the process works. In my next post, I’m going to try to work on that with you by explaining how the code and the standards of practice impact the practitioner, and how the Code is modified. And we’ll also spend some time talking about the complaint and enforcement and appeal process so that clarity and transparency is reached there also. But I would encourage everyone to contribute their own concerns or questions so we can be sure that they are explained or addressed.