Ethics Applies to Social Media and Technology


The 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo was phenomenal, and we partied like ROCK STARS. As we return home to our market place let’s keep in mind that as REALTORS® we know how to have a great time and adhere to the Code of Ethics.

Ethics and the Real Estate Professional

As a REALTOR®, you should be familiar with the importance of ethics in your daily life. Professional conduct involves more than adherence to the law, because one can adhere to the law and not act ethically. Ethics refer to a higher system of beliefs, principles, rules, and standards based on values. Business ethics establish rules that strive for a simple principle of what is right. Those principles may be a part or law, industry codes, company policies, or individual moral values.

Ethics define standards of integrity and competence when dealing with consumers, customers, or clients in the world of real estate and while using social media.

National Association of REALTORS®

There are numerous trade organizations that serve licensed real estate professionals. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1908, is the largest trade organization in the U.S. with more than one million members. In 1913, NAR became one of the first industries to have written codes for ethical conduct. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics contains statements intended to advise, guide, and regulate behavior while working in the world of real estate.

Real Estate Ethics

Real estate ethics focuses on service to the public and a commitment to professionalism, while adhering to rules that either prohibit or encourage certain behavior. By including sanctions for violations, the Code of Ethics becomes more effective.

However, the internet and social media evolve at lightning speed, and it may seem as though issues appear faster than NAR can update its rules and regulations. But as stated, ethics involves a higher standard of integrity and behavior, and the spirit of the Code of Ethics (COE) should be applicable when using social media even if a specific situation evolves that is not yet recognized.

A REALTOR®’s Duties

The Code of Ethics addresses duties to clients and customers, duties to the public, as well as duties to other REALTORS®, promoting fairness, competency, and integrity. The preamble of the NAR Code of Ethics states:

” … REALTORS® pledge to observe the spirit of the Code of Ethics in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in accordance with the tenets set forth .”

The REALTORS® Code of Ethics applies to social media.

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