Shared from the 7/8/2018 Kingsport Times-News eEdition

How do Realtors preach ethics?



Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) President Aaron Taylor, left, takes a smart phone image of (left to right) Realtors Sharon Duncan, Leigh Brown and Jewell McKinney before a National Ethics Day webinar was held at NETAR’s offices in Gray. The webinar was live streamed to nearly 30 states and about 300 Realtors associations across the nation.

GRAY — Respect property. Respect the public. Respect your peers.

Those words represent the cornerstone of the Realtor Code of Ethics, which is now more than 100 years old.

National Ethics Day for Realtors was recently celebrated with an ethics webinar — held at the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors headquarters — which was live streamed to nearly 30 states and about 300 Realtor associations.

“As part of our outreach to membership, every Realtor has to take an updated (ethics) class every two years,” North Carolina Realtor Leigh Brown, who led the webinar, said. “Part of that is we always have new Realtors coming into the profession, and the other part is it just jazzes your business back up and remembers the good parts about what Realtors do.”

The webinar, Brown pointed out, also gives Realtors a chance to bond since they work as a group of independent contractors and entrepreneurs.

“(Realtors) don’t always feel as one collaborative profession,” Brown noted. “This will build that up, which means if good Realtors do real estate better, then their colleagues will do better and change the experience for the end consumer.”

Brown said the Realtor Code of Ethics leads the way for Realtors obtaining licenses to practice.

“There have been challenges with professionalism in the social media world, and we’re urging our members to not go down the nasty road with their competitors and competing brands,” Brown stressed. “It’s an ongoing battle. Social media has made some of us a lot meaner, I believe. The Code of Ethics reminds us to lift ourselves up and lead in our communities the way Realtors always lead.”

The Code is enforced at the local level through knowledgeable peer panels.

“We’re a self-policing profession,” she said. “If you run into a bad actor, you’ve got to turn them in, and file a complaint with the (Realtors) association, and then there’s a hearing … when members are willing to report the bad actors, the behavior of the whole area generally gets better … ethics is competing ideas about what’s right and wrong.”

The webinar also gave a shout out to the Realtor Relief Foundation started in 2001 after Sept. 11, 2001 to address housing crisis needs financially.

Over the 16 years, the foundation has collected nearly $31 million in contributions and granted close to $28 million for 63 disasters in 36 states and territories. One hundred percent of the money donated to the foundation directly benefits victims of disasters across the mainland and its territories. The National Association of Realtors covers all of the foundation’s administrative costs.

“The most recent one was Hurricane Harvey which destroyed Houston area … after Harvey we did $2 million in housing assistance in Texas and Louisiana,” Brown said of the aid that came from the foundation.

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