Ethics, Realtors® and Real Estate

Real estate agents in Tucson who are members of the Tucson Association of Realtors subscribe to a Code of Ethics and customers and/or clients who feel that they have been unfairly treated can review the Code of Ethics, which can be found on three web sites. 

The first web site is that of the Tucson Association of Realtors.

Go to the Public page, then to Professional Standards, and then to the Code of Ethics. Information is available on how to file a complaint and how to request Arbitration. 

The second web site is the web site of the Arizona Department of Real Estate

Both sites give a wealth of information regarding real estate, real estate transactions, and ethical behavior between the client/customer and the real estate agent. 

Additionally, the Arizona Association of Realtor’s® site has a Consumer Assistance section. 

The Code of Ethics is specific regarding the conduct of Realtors®. Realtors® are those people who have the little ® after Realtor® and who are dues paying members of the Tucson Board and members of the National Association of Realtors® Non-member real estate agents do not have to abide by the Code of Ethics, but nevertheless, must treat all people fairly, honestly, and without prejudice. Realtors® are held to a higher standard of conduct than non-members. 

The Arizona Association of Realtors Purchase Contract specifically addresses the duties of both the buyer and the seller, as well as the methods to be taken if one party breaches the contract. The real estate agent is acting in behalf of either the buyer or seller, unless in dual agency, in which case, the designated broker of the firm is representing both buyer and seller. 

Because of the backlog in the courts and the fact that breach conduct involves real estate, which can tie up a person’s home and/or funds depending upon the court docket, it is recommended that parties who feel they have been “injured” take the situation to Mediation and/or Arbitration before the Tucson Board. This does not preclude litigation, however. 

Buyers and sellers have rights, and familiarity with the Code of Ethics will help both parties understand the duties and obligations of the Realtor®. As a client/customer, you have the right to ask your agent for a copy of the Code of Ethics. Agents now must take an Ethics course as part of the Continuing Education requirements for renewal of their license. 

All three sites detail the eight page Code of Ethics and give information as to what the “injured party” may do to bring a complaint before the Board of Realtors. The State of Arizona site gives information on Fair Housing, as well as information about complaints against Homeowner’s Associations. The Landlord-Tenant Act can be printed from the Arizona Real Estate Department site also. 

If you are interested in buying or selling your home, a trip to one or all of these sites may help you understand what your Agent should be doing for you and your recourse if you do not feel you have been represented in a professional manner. 

However, communication is the key to any good and smooth transaction. Make sure your agent understands what you expect of him/her, and make sure you understand what is expected of you. Real estate relationships are no different than life; poor communication leads to misunderstandings, resentment, hard feelings, and sometimes litigation. 

If you and your agent do not have good communication, examine your collective behaviors, and then decide whether you wish to continue in the relationship. Remember, you are the employer in this real estate transaction!