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In 2013, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors is helping the National Association celebrate the centennial of its code of ethics.
Yes, that’s correct: Real estate professionals in these organizations have had such a document since 1913. In fact, it’s one of the oldest of its kind.
Our code is a specific, interpretable document that acts as both a guideline for our professional actions as well as a lens through which to view sticky situations if our behavior is questioned. Over and above the myriad legal accountabilities of real estate practitioners, the code asks, “Was it right” and “Was it in the public’s best interests?”
I have always been fond of our code of ethics for its excellent balance of the public trust and our professional goals. Here’s the first paragraph of the preamble, as an example:
Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.
If you are interested in more about the 100th anniversary of the Realtor Code of Ethics, be sure to stop by the Pennsylvania association’s website. Also, the National Association of Realtors has a nice interactive timeline of the history of the code of ethics.