REALTOR Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors®


Effective January 1, 2018

Where the word Realtors® is used in this Code and Preamble, it shall be

deemed to include Realtor-Associate®s.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than

those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the

law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.


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.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce.

They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which

Realtors® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be

diligent in preparing themselves. Realtors®, therefore, are zealous to

maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their

fellow Realtors® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers,

the public, and each other, Realtors® continuously strive to become and

remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable

professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with

others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of

Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices

which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to

the real estate profession. Realtors® having direct personal knowledge of

conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of

client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting

in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the

appropriate Board or Association of Realtors®. (Amended 1/00)

Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the

best interests of those who utilize their services, Realtors® urge exclusive

representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over

their competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about

other practitioners. In instances where their opinion is sought, or where

Realtors® believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an

objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or

potential advantage or gain.

The term Realtor® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high

integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in

business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients

ever can justify departure from this ideal.

In the interpretation of this obligation, Realtors® can take no safer guide

than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied

in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you,

do ye even so to them.”

Accepting this standard as their own, Realtors® pledge to observe its spirit

in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates

or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in

accordance with the tenets set forth below. (Amended 1/07)

Duties to Clients and Customers

Article 1

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an

agent, Realtors® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests

of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve

Realtors® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving

a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity,

Realtors® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01)

• Standard of Practice 1-1

Realtors®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain

obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-2

The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass all real

estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted in person,

electronically, or through any other means.

The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are applicable whether Realtors®

are acting as agents or in legally recognized non-agency capacities

except that any duty imposed exclusively on agents by law or regulation

shall not be imposed by this Code of Ethics on Realtors® acting in

non-agency capacities.

As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the person(s) or entity(ies)

with whom a Realtor® or a Realtor®’s firm has an agency or legally

recognized non-agency relationship; “customer” means a party to a real

estate transaction who receives information, services, or benefits but has

no contractual relationship with the Realtor® or the Realtor®’s firm;

“prospect” means a purchaser, seller, tenant, or landlord who is not

subject to a representation relationship with the Realtor® or Realtor®’s

firm; “agent” means a real estate licensee (including brokers and sales

associates) acting in an agency relationship as defined by state law or

regulation; and “broker” means a real estate licensee (including brokers

and sales associates) acting as an agent or in a legally recognized

non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)

• Standard of Practice 1-3

Realtors®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead

the owner as to market value.

• Standard of Practice 1-4

Realtors®, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant representative, shall

not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or other benefits that might

be realized through use of the Realtor®’s services. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-5

Realtors® may represent the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the

same transaction only after full disclosure to and with informed consent

of both parties. (Adopted 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-6

Realtors® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly

as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 1-7

When acting as listing brokers, Realtors® shall continue to submit to the

seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of

a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing.

Realtors® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property

after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. Realtors® shall

recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel

prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance

is contingent on the termination of the pre-existing purchase contract or

lease. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 1-8

Realtors®, acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall submit to

buyers/tenants all offers and counter-offers until acceptance but have no

obligation to continue to show properties to their clients after an offer has

been accepted unless otherwise agreed in writing. Realtors®, acting as

agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall recommend that buyers/tenants

obtain the advice of legal counsel if there is a question as to whether a

pre-existing contract has been terminated. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 1-9

The obligation of Realtors® to preserve confidential information (as

defined by state law) provided by their clients in the course of any agency

relationship or non-agency relationship recognized by law continues after

termination of agency relationships or any non-agency relationships

recognized by law. Realtors® shall not knowingly, during or following the

termination of professional relationships with their clients:

1)  reveal confidential information of clients; or

2)  use confidential information of clients to the disadvantage of clients; or

3)  use confidential information of clients for the Realtor®’s advantage

or the advantage of third parties unless:

a)  clients consent after full disclosure; or

b)  Realtors® are required by court order; or

c)  it is the intention of a client to commit a crime and the information

is necessary to prevent the crime; or

d) it is necessary to defend a Realtor® or the Realtor®

’s employees or

associates against an accusation of wrongful conduct.

Information concerning latent material defects is not considered confidential

information under this Code of Ethics. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/01)

• Standard of Practice 1-10

Realtors® shall, consistent with the terms and conditions of their real

estate licensure and their property management agreement, competently

manage the property of clients with due regard for the rights, safety and

health of tenants and others lawfully on the premises. (Adopted 1/95,

Amended 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 1-11

Realtors® who are employed to maintain or manage a client’s property

shall exercise due diligence and make reasonable efforts to protect it

against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and losses. (Adopted 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 1-12

When entering into listing contracts, Realtors® must advise sellers/

landlords of:

1)  the Realtor®’s company policies regarding cooperation and the

amount(s) of any compensation that will be offered to subagents,

buyer/tenant agents, and/or brokers acting in legally recognized

non-agency capacities;

2)  the fact that buyer/tenant agents or brokers, even if compensated by

listing brokers, or by sellers/landlords may represent the interests of

buyers/tenants; and

3)  any potential for listing brokers to act as disclosed dual agents, e.g.,

buyer/tenant agents. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/03)

• Standard of Practice 1-13

When entering into buyer/tenant agreements, Realtors® must advise

potential clients of:

1)  the Realtor®’s company policies regarding cooperation;

2)  the amount of compensation to be paid by the client;

3)  the potential for additional or offsetting compensation from other

brokers, from the seller or landlord, or from other parties;

4)  any potential for the buyer/tenant representative to act as a disclosed

dual agent, e.g., listing broker, subagent, landlord’s agent, etc.; and

5)  the possibility that sellers or sellers’ representatives may not

treat the existence, terms, or conditions of offers as confidential

unless confidentiality is required by law, regulation, or by any

confidentiality agreement between the parties. (Adopted 1/93,

Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/06)

• Standard of Practice 1-14

Fees for preparing appraisals or other valuations shall not be contingent

upon the amount of the appraisal or valuation. (Adopted 1/02)

• Standard of Practice 1-15

Realtors®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers

shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the

property. Where disclosure is authorized, Realtors® shall also disclose,

if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another

licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03,

Amended 1/09)

• Standard of Practice 1-16

Realtors® shall not access or use, or permit or enable others to access or

use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those

authorized by the owner or seller. (Adopted 1/12)

Article 2

Realtors® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment

of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. Realtors®

shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property,

to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or

to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency or

non-agency relationships as defined by state law. (Amended 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 2-1

Realtors® shall only be obligated to discover and disclose adverse factors

reasonably apparent to someone with expertise in those areas required

by their real estate licensing authority. Article 2 does not impose upon

the Realtor® the obligation of expertise in other professional or technical

disciplines. (Amended 1/96)

• Standard of Practice 2-2

(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-12 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 2-3

(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-13 1/98)

• Standard of Practice 2-4

Realtors® shall not be parties to the naming of a false consideration

in any document, unless it be the naming of an obviously nominal


• Standard of Practice 2-5

Factors defined as “non-material” by law or regulation or which are

expressly referenced in law or regulation as not being subject to disclosure

are considered not “pertinent” for purposes of Article 2. (Adopted 1/93)

Article 3

Realtors® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is

not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include

the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate

another broker. (Amended 1/95)

• Standard of Practice 3-1

Realtors®, acting as exclusive agents or brokers of sellers/ landlords,

establish the terms and conditions of offers to cooperate. Unless

expressly indicated in offers to cooperate, cooperating brokers may not

assume that the offer of cooperation includes an offer of compensation.

Terms of compensation, if any, shall be ascertained by cooperating

brokers before beginning efforts to accept the offer of cooperation.

(Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 3-2

Any change in compensation offered for cooperative services must be

communicated to the other Realtor® prior to the time that Realtor®

submits an offer to purchase/lease the property. After a Realtor® has

submitted an offer to purchase or lease property, the listing broker may

not attempt to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect

to that cooperative transaction. (Amended 1/14)

• Standard of Practice 3-3

Standard of Practice 3-2 does not preclude the listing broker and

cooperating broker from entering into an agreement to change

cooperative compensation. (Adopted 1/94)

• Standard of Practice 3-4

Realtors®, acting as listing brokers, have an affirmative obligation to

disclose the existence of dual or variable rate commission arrangements

(i.e., listings where one amount of commission is payable if the listing

broker’s firm is the procuring cause of sale/lease and a different amount

of commission is payable if the sale/lease results through the efforts of

the seller/landlord or a cooperating broker). The listing broker shall, as

soon as practical, disclose the existence of such arrangements to potential

cooperating brokers and shall, in response to inquiries from cooperating

brokers, disclose the differential that would result in a cooperative

transaction or in a sale/lease that results through the efforts of the seller/

landlord. If the cooperating broker is a buyer/tenant representative, the

buyer/tenant representative must disclose such information to their client

before the client makes an offer to purchase or lease. (Amended 1/02)

• Standard of Practice 3-5

It is the obligation of subagents to promptly disclose all pertinent facts

to the principal’s agent prior to as well as after a purchase or lease

agreement is executed. (Amended 1/93)

• Standard of Practice 3-6

Realtors® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including

offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation.

(Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)

• Standard of Practice 3-7

When seeking information from another Realtor® concerning property

under a management or listing agreement, Realtors® shall disclose

their Realtor® status and whether their interest is personal or on behalf

of a client and, if on behalf of a client, their relationship with the client.

(Amended 1/11)

• Standard of Practice 3-8

Realtors® shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or

inspect a listed property. (Amended 11/87)

• Standard of Practice 3-9

Realtors® shall not provide access to listed property on terms

other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.

(Adopted 1/10)

• Standard of Practice 3-10

The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to

share information on listed property, and to make property available to

other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is

in the best interests of sellers/landlords. (Adopted 1/11)

Article 4

Realtors® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from

themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any

member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest,

any real property without making their true position known to the owner or

the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they

have any interest, Realtors® shall reveal their ownership or interest in

writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s representative. (Amended 1/00)

• Standard of Practice 4-1

For the protection of all parties, the disclosures required by Article 4

shall be in writing and provided by Realtors® prior to the signing of any

contract. (Adopted 2/86)

Article 5

Realtors® shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning

a property or its value where they have a present or contemplated interest

unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.

Article 6

Realtors® shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit

on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and


When recommending real estate products or services (e.g., homeowner’s

insurance, warranty programs, mortgage financing, title insurance,

etc.), Realtors® shall disclose to the client or customer to whom the

recommendation is made any financial benefits or fees, other than real

estate referral fees, the Realtor® or Realtor®’s firm may receive as a

direct result of such recommendation. (Amended 1/99)

• Standard of Practice 6-1

Realtors® shall not recommend or suggest to a client or a customer the

use of services of another organization or business entity in which they

have a direct interest without disclosing such interest at the time of the

recommendation or suggestion. (Amended 5/88)

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