How I Live by the Code

Realtor Code of Ethics and Steve JollyThe Realtor Code of Ethics was created to protect consumers and provide standards of practice for real estate professionals.  While the code of ethics is great, I strive to provide a level of service to my clients that surpass these ethical expectations. 

Here is a short history of the Code.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Realtor Code of Ethics.  This code was created with the vision of the National Association of Realtors and provides realistic standards of performance.  Until the turn of the last century, real estate in the United States was usually sold by auction, given away by the government or passed down from family members.  Back then, selling real estate was a fairly simple process.

As parcels were subdivided and sold by developers and investors the practice of real estate became much more complicated.  Local real estate organizations were formed to share information and network with other trustworthy professionals.  These organizations came together to improve the industry and the quality of practitioners.  In 1913, the National Association of Realtors was born and the Code of Ethics was approved.  The Code of Ethics is a living document that is continuously updated and is based on the golden rule. 

Here are a few ways where I go above and beyond the code.

One of the most important to me is the Standard of Practice 1-5, which requires the consent of both the buyer and seller if the Realtor wants to represent both parties.  In Tennessee, we call the practice of representing both the buyer and the seller in a transaction: dual agency.  Dual Agency is perfectly legal and allowed within the Code of Ethics.  However, I have always declined to participate in the practice of dual agency.  I think that it is nearly impossible to represent to the best of my ability two parties that have competing interests. 

How can I get the highest possible price for the seller and get the lowest possible price for the buyer on the same property?

Due to the dilemma that I outlined above, I have always declined to participate.  A common myth among home buyers is they will get a better deal if they use the listing agent to represent them in the purchase of a home.  This is a misconception at best, and could cost the buyer more money in the long run. 

By taking this stance, I have given up tens of thousands of dollars in commissions over the years.  I prefer to pass of these commissions and make sure that my client gets the best deal for their home. 

Another favorite of mine is the Standard of Practice 1-3, which requires that Realtors do not mislead home sellers in the market value of their home in order to get a listing.  One of my best attributes is the ability to accurately estimate the sales price of a home on the market.  This skill was honed by completing thousands of broker price opinions for my bank clients over the years and learning the best practices from other experts.  

I promise to always give my honest and best opinion of price regardless of any external pressure.  My analysis will be based on facts and backed up with research that I share with each client.  For those clients who think their house is worth more than the market value, I work with them on a plan to best meet their pricing goals, budget and time constraints. 

The last standard of practice that I wanted to share is 1-6, concerning the quick and objective submission of offers to clients.  We believe in complete transparency with our clients and strongly feel that you should be informed at all times.  I also think that every client should immediately be notified of each offer received.   My promise is to help you make the best decision by timely delivery of information, fully explaining all of your options, objectively providing the pros and cons of each option and giving my best recommendation tailored for your situation. 

These are just a few of the many standards of practice in place for Realtors.  You can see the whole list here.

One last thing to remember:  Not every real estate professional is a Realtor.  By working with a Realtor, you will find a professional who has agreed to be bound by this set of principles. 

Is meeting the guidelines enough for you?

I fully recommend working with a Realtor who strives to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the Code of Ethics.  Find someone who is knowledgeable, who is willing to teach, who will work hard to meet your goals and who will have your best interests at heart.

What do you look for in a Realtor?

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