Code Update: 'True Picture' Extends to E-commerce

Two new Standards of Practice addressing public representation and Internet promotional practices were added to the Code.

January 1, 2008

Each year, NAR’s Professional Standards Committee reviews and evaluates the Code of Ethics to ensure that it addresses current issues and practices in real estate. In 2007, the committee focused its attention on Article 12 of the Code, which requires REALTORS® to “present a true picture in the advertising and representations to the public.”

The committee decided that the exponential increase in the use of instant messaging, e-mail, and other forms of electronic communication made it necessary to expand the scope of the Article’s coverage to include e-promotions. The change, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2008, requires a true picture in “advertising, marketing, and other representations.”

In addition, the amendment states that REALTORS® must ensure that “the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.”

Two new Standards of Practice addressing public representation and Internet promotional practices were added.

Standard of Practice 12-12 provides: “The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS® to use and display only professional designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are legitimately entitled.”

Standard of Practice 12-13 provides: “REALTORS® shall not: use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less than a true picture.”

To ensure the smooth implementation of these new rules, a case interpretation explaining Article 12, as interpreted by Standard of Practice 12-10, was adopted by the committee in November and can be found in the Law and Policy section of

Like the real estate business itself, the Code and Standards of Practice continue to evolve, reflecting both the new forces in the market and the timelessness of ethical practices.

Bruce Aydt

Attorney Bruce Aydt, ABR, CRB, SRS, is a national real estate educator, a Missouri real estate broker, and past chair of the National Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee.