“It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man that makes us believe the oath.” (Aeschylus) from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
Wow, Aeschylus must have known a Realtor! The same can certainly be said about our Realtor Code of Ethics. Having the NAR Code of Ethics is oft pointed to as an indication that being a Realtor is a profession and not just a job. I suppose there is some truth to that, but probably there is more truth in Aeschylus’ words (slightly modified to fit here) that - It is not the Code of Ethics that makes us believe the Realtor, but the Realtor that makes us believe the Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics in and of itself is a wonderful document; however, if the people involved in the day-to-day practice of real estate see them as something to be bent or ignored altogether, they are just words. That’s why it is the responsibility of every Realtor to not only live by the Code, but to report those who aren’t. There is no room to look the other way when you see a Code violation, because doing so demeans the profession and all who practice it.
The reason that the Code exists in such detail is that too many people in real estate are not ready to live by simple, golden rules, such as “do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” Somehow their value systems have become so distorted that they stop after “Do unto others.”
There are still lots of things in the normal day-to-day life of a Realtor that are not covered by the Code, such as those who feel they need to bully their way through a deal or that they only win if the other side loses in negotiations. Even a well written Code of Ethics can’t help there - it's not a Code of Acceptable Human Behavior. You still have to put up with boors in real estate as in life; but at least it’s a start.
So don’t be taken in by the admonitions of “Don’t be such a hard-ass” or “Everybody does it”; if you are involved with a Realtor who is obviously breaking the Code, report it to your local board. It’s not being hard-ass, it’s being honest and that is one of the bedrocks of the Code to begin with. We are all better off because we have the Code of Ethics, so we also need to be diligent about making sure that it is followed by all.
The Realtor Code of Ethics is celebrating it's 100th year in existence this year. You can read about that and read the Code itself at - http://www.realtor.org/topics/code-of-ethics-centennial