The Latest Updates to the Code of Ethics
During its May meeting in Washington, D.C., the National Association of REALTORS® made a few updates to the Code of Ethics that are effective in 2019.
Brokers and agents must affirm offers are submitted
Standard of Practice 1-7 was updated in response to frustrations voiced by brokers in busy markets who don’t know if their offers are actually presented to sellers. This standard now requires that if a buyer’s broker asks whether the offer was submitted, a listing broker or agent must provide an affirmative, written response, unless the seller provided a written waiver of the broker’s obligation to present certain offers.
Clearing up confusion in ethics hearings
A change to Section 13(d) of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual clarifies the rights and role of REALTOR® principals in an ethics hearing. Specifically:
- A respondent’s REALTOR® principal has the right to be present during the hearing without providing notice.
- A respondent’s REALTOR® principal can make opening/closing statements, examine/cross-examine parties and witnesses, introduce documents, consult with respondent, testify, and respond directly to questions from the panel.
- A complainant, in his or her sole discretion, may allow his or her REALTOR® principal to receive documentation related to the complaint and participate in the hearing as a witness or as counsel.
Local associations have second policy option to publicize repeat violators
Professional Standards Policy Statement 45 was amended to allow two options for local associations to choose regarding publishing the names of ethics violators. The existing option, when adopted, allows a local association to publish names, articles violated, and disciplinary actions in official communications intended primarily for members of the local association—but only after a second violation occurs within three years.
The newly added second option, when adopted by a local association, allows the local association to publish all instances in which an ethics violator is disciplined with a letter of reprimand, a fine, suspension, and/or expulsion—without the requirement for a second violation within three years. The ethics violator’s name, photo, article violated, and discipline imposed may only be published in official communications intended primarily for members of the local association.
Presentation of offer… certainly an agent has a realistic expectation that their client’s offer will be / has been presented to the seller. Beyond that – the seller has the option to respond, reject, counter or do nothing – as frustrating as it may be to them and the other agent / buyer. Absent any time requirements in the offer for a response the buyer’s side is waiting on the seller to do what they want to do. Conversely – when the seller does respond – there is no set time for the buyer to respond to what the seller… Read more »
We don’t need more rules and codes. I would be happy if we could trust showing agents to not allow clients to play with appliances, HVAC controls, etc. and lock all doors and turn of lights. I have to go check on vacant listings often because of the above. Find patio doors open, AC thermostat turned as low as it will go, etc. and may have been that way for several days. Of course, Mr. Nobody did it.
After your list of issues – in not sure why you don’t think we need more rules and codes. If you submitted offers – and encouraged to do so – then your offer is NOT accepted after several days that usually include a weekend and more – to then finally get a response from the listing agent that says they accepted another offer. Then you do your research to find that he did both sides and executed an offer 7!days after you submitted yours. This has happened to me twice on large leases and when I discussed this with my… Read more »
I have had agents tell me they will not waste their time with presenting an offer they know client will not accept. Yes. It may be low ball and yes you may be correct but I (maybe even agree its ridiculous) work for my client so I write up what is asked. All should be presented no matter what!
I have also had agent I feel didn’t present our offer to work both sides.
They better present it. I ask them to send it to me in an email stating they will not present it and turn it over to TREC. Nobody refuses to submit then.
Winnie, I couldn’t agree more.
I have only had a few minor issues with agents and listings thankfully! Sadly rules do not fix disrespect!
I’ve had more than one seller cancel their listing after a buyer agent either did not show up as scheduled or the left the house unlocked. If you are not going to make a showing appointment please call and tell the seller.
I am not understanding why publishing repeat violators would be of any use? What about not speaking badly about other agents? These violations are between the association and the agent. Why doens’t the association just fine excessively or suspend? Are we to begin creating Association’s Most Wanted posters too?
It’s called accountability.
I must have skimmed through this, so if I say something unrelated sorry. If the public can see it then it needs to be posted so if they do their homework they know or not if that agent is ethical and a rule follower and will be the best representation for them or is the agent a legal liability to them. Like I said I may be off base to what you are referring to.
So does this mean an email is ok to respond to the buyers agent on an offer or does the seller have to sign that notice of offer form saying they got the offer? Then the seller agent sends it?
The requirement is on the listing broker, not the seller. The National Association of REALTORS cannot make a consumer do anything. NAR only has jurisdiction over REALTORS.
Regarding 1-7. Will Listing Broker be required to notify Buyers’ Broker that Seller has waived their duty to submit certain offers? (Read original and subsequent) If not, it would appear more clarification needs done here as this doesn’t address if the Listing Broker has a responsibility to relay ” Sellers’ waiver to submit certain offers” to Buyers’ Broker in the event Seller has, indeed, waived the requirement to submit certain offers. It seems the way the original is written and the subsequent is written, there’s still a chance of no communication required of Listing Broker in that instance.
In other words, communicate if the offer was presented and if not, why not!!
Publishing the names and photos is a COLOSSALLY BAD IDEA. First, it takes the entire premise that we (NAR, TAR, local) are a self-regulating entity, internally and confidentially handling complaints, which is a BASIS for the Code, and simply blows that out of the water. “Publishing” indicates this will be committed to paper. I then scoff at the naïveté that this publication would never leak outside of membership to the general public. In those cases where an error in judgement occurs, (this does happen) publishing this information about our members who have not had the benefit of due process OF… Read more »
Unless, and/or until there are rules that would require the seller to at least acknowledge that they received an offer (showing the time & date) this will always come down to a “he said vs. she said” issue. As has been indicated here, sellers are not really required to do anything with an offer. They can accept, counter, decline, or in fact do nothing at all. The only real defense that a buyer has to the “do nothing at all” approach is to put some sort of expiration clause into the offer/contract. In the eyes of most sellers this will… Read more »
This would be important in a multiple offer situation. The listing agent tends only to present best.
I appreciate the detail in this article. Well written and to the point!