Understanding the Realtor Code of Ethics

realtor code of ethics



Real estate transactions are pivotal moments in our lives – often involving significant investments and emotional stakes. When navigating this landscape, consumers seek competent professionals and ethical guidance.

Enter the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its foundational Code of Ethics—a compass that directs REALTORS® in their dealings and interactions. For home buyers and sellers, understanding this code provides insight into the ethical standards real estate professionals uphold. 

Noteworthy, not all real estate agents are REALTORS®, and this code of ethics does not bind them. 



#1: The Essence of the Code

At its core, the NAR Code of Ethics outlines the duties and responsibilities that REALTORS® commit to when serving their clients and the public. It’s not merely a set of rules but a set of principles that reflect a commitment to honesty, integrity, and professionalism.

However, many REALTORS® out there that do not always follow this guide. If you live in Louisiana and find yourself needing to file a complaint, you can start here: https://lrec.gov/enforcement/how-to-file-a-complaint/




#2: What’s in the Code of Ethics? 

The Code comprises 17 Articles that cover various aspects of real estate practice. These Articles touch upon fundamental principles such as loyalty to clients, truthfulness in advertising, safeguarding client information, and promoting fairness in dealings.

You can find the full code of ethics here: https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/the-code-of-ethics




#3: Client Commitment 

Central to the Code is the principle of putting clients’ interests above all else. REALTORS® pledge to prioritize their client’s needs, providing diligent and competent service while maintaining confidentiality and loyalty.

Many agents violate this spirit by participating in dual agency. Most lawsuits against REALTORS® originate because of this practice. 

[WORTH READING: Dual agency: why it’s a bad idea]


code of ethics


#4: Honesty & Transparency 

The Code of Ethics emphasizes honesty and truthfulness in all dealings. REALTORS® are obligated to provide accurate information, disclose relevant facts, and avoid misleading statements.

Please note, though – an agent not knowing the exact square footage is not the same as an agent hiding material defects on a property! 




#5: Fair Treatment For All

A significant aspect of the Code is the commitment to treating all parties involved in a transaction fairly and equally, regardless of race, religion, gender, or any other characteristic protected by law.

This is also one of the most violated codes by agents. Do not hesitate to file a complaint or to call an agent’s broker if this issue arises. (We have experienced other agents making remarks that violate this code firsthand.)




#6: Enforcement & Accountability 

The NAR doesn’t take the Code lightly; it actively enforces its principles. Local Associations have processes in place to address complaints, ensuring accountability among its members.

For the New Orleans area, once a file is lodged, the grievance committee looks at the evidence and case and determines if a code of ethics violation has occurred. From there, it is moved onto the Professional Standards Committee to bring both parties in, hear their sides, look at the evidence, and determine what punishment a REALTOR® may receive if found guilty. This can range from additional continuing education hours to fines to suspending or losing their real estate license. 



The NAR Code of Ethics is more than just a guideline; it’s a framework that upholds integrity, professionalism, and client-centric service in the real estate industry. Understanding this code empowers consumers to recognize and engage with Realtors® who are committed to ethical conduct, ensuring a smoother, more transparent, and trustworthy real estate experience.



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