By Jeffrey D. Chute, Mass Instructor on Professional Conduct
The year 2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS®. In recognition, Jeffrey Chute reviews key components.
Article 3 of the Code of Ethics
Article 3 states, in essence: REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. Not only is this embedded in the Code, most MLS Rules and Regulations incorporate this concept.
Example 1 You are listing a very desirable home…in a great location…and at a price deemed reasonable for the market. As your seller client is ready to sign the listing contract, he mentions that his ex-spouse is a sales agent in town and he does not want the ‘ex’ to have access to the home.
Example 2 You are preparing to take on a property listing whose current listing contract with a competitor is about to expire. Again, the client requests that no one from the (soon to be) previous
office be allowed access.
Aside from the potential of missing a qualified ‘ready, willing and able’ buyer, are these instructions
those which you, as the listing agent, can observe? In both examples noted above, a conversation
with the seller client needs to be held with the potential drawbacks of their (client’s) request outlined. Still, if the client is persistent in this matter, this can be interpreted as a ‘lawful instruction’ to you as their agent.
Your broker or manager should be informed, as they should make contact with the broker and agent(s) who are to be excluded.
Be mindful of the following:
1. In BOTH cases, the CLIENT indicated non-cooperation of their own initiative. YOU, as a Realtor® member, can never practice any restriction of cooperation on your own.
2. In both cases, these were personal issues of the seller client. Any client who wishes to waive cooperation due to fair housing issues, etc. would be in violation of the law…and subject to prosecution. In THIS case, not taking the listing would be the best course of action (as well as
informing your broker or manager).
Knowing what a Seller Client can and cannot give as instructions in the matter of cooperation will help you become a better-informed REALTOR®.