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Today was the day I took the state-required “ethics” course. It was a packed house as real estate licensees of all sorts jostled to complete their biannual continuing education classes. The instructor took a quick survey of hands: a mix of very experienced (40-plus years) licensees on down to a number of folks taking their first ethics class for initial licensing. Regardless, there was something for everyone to learn.
Much of the class time was spent reviewing the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics. There are 17 articles with numerous “standards or practice” that give examples of how each article should play out in real life. There’s also a stirring preamble that evokes a high calling to care for the land and property of citizens.
Did you know it’s one of the oldest formal standards of conduct for any professional group in the nation, set in place in 1913? Many consumers don’t realize their real estate agents are held to a pretty high standard by their national, state and local associations, even before the law is brought into view.
Speaking of that standard, the class then spends some time on how the disciplinary process works should a complaint be filed against them, either by a consumer or another member of the association. Lastly, we ran through a wide variety of case discussions and applied the code and the applicable law.
Overall, it’s a good refresher in diligently representing your client, earnestness in putting forward the good faith effort on their behalf, and lastly a reminder to treat our fellow real estate professionals with the respect they deserve. It’s a good summary of an ethical real estate practice, all in one afternoon. In my humble opinion, one of the better statewide requirements!
Jeff Geoghan is vice president of marketing and communications for Coldwell Banker Select Professionals and Select Services, based in Lancaster City, with 10 offices in eight Central Pennsylvania counties. Jeff lives in East Petersburg where he also serves as mayor. Jeff has been actively involved in local government and business and has been used as a source by local, regional and national publications.