An agent in town advertises that she will give away expensive spa gift certificates to anyone who lists with her or signs a buyer representation agreement with her. Is this unethical?

The agent hasn’t violated the Code of Ethics if she clearly communicates in her advertisement any contingencies that must occur before someone is entitled to receive the gift certificate, such as the seller listing with her or a buyer signing a representation agreement.

Article 12-3 outlines the terms of such an offer, stating: “The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not, in itself, unethical even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on listing, selling, purchasing, or leasing through the REALTOR® making the offer. However, REALTORS® must exercise care and candor in any such advertising or other public or private representations so that any party interested in receiving or otherwise benefiting from the REALTOR®’s offer will have clear, thorough, advance understanding of all the terms and conditions of the offer. The offering of any inducements to do business is subject to the limitations and restrictions of state law and the ethical obligations established by any applicable Standard of Practice.”