Changing With the Times

From land sales to advertising, the 2010 Code of Ethics reflects current business realities.

January 1, 2010

The 101-year-old NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has another centennial to look forward to: In 2013, the NAR Code of Ethics turns 100. What’s clear to anyone who looks at the Code is how relevant it continues to be despite constant changes in real estate business practices, market conditions, and technology. Our Code’s dynamism stems from its design as a living document—a guide that’s continually updated to ensure that its bedrock principles of fairness and transparency apply no matter what the issue of the day is.

We see this in the changes to the Code and Standards of Practice made by the NAR Board of Directors at its 2009 meeting in San Diego. Here’s a brief summary of the updates.

  • Land sales. Recognizing the special skill and expertise of land brokers, the Delegate Body amended Article 11 to include "land brokerage" as a distinct real estate specialty.
  • Opinions of value. Standard of Practice 11-1 was amended to take into account that clients or customers requesting opinions of value or price may require specific types of reports or data different from that otherwise required under the Standard.
  • Advertising. Questions regarding advertising by real estate "teams" were addressed by expanding the scope of Standard of Practice 12-5 to require that advertisements of "real estate services" disclose the firm’s name in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. Additionally, two case interpretations (#12-25 and #12-26), dealing with advertisements of sold property where a broker or sales licensee changes firms, were adopted.
  • False and misleading statements. Article 15’s duty to "not knowingly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices" was clarified through an amendment to Standard of Practice 15-2 and by adoption of new Standard of Practice 15-3 which establishes "the duty to publish a clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic media once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading."
  • Breaching contractual agreements. Housekeeping amendments were approved to Standard of Practice 16-20 to ensure it’s clear that the duty to refrain from inducing clients to breach existing exclusive contractual agreements applies whether a REALTOR® voluntarily or involuntarily ends his or her relationship with a firm.
  • Other changes. A new Standard of Practice addressing access to listed property was added under Article 1. And Standard of Practice 3-2, dealing with changes in offers of cooperative compensation, was clarified.

Detailed information about these changes and other actions of the Professional Standards Committee can be found on

Linda Page

Linda Page, GRI, Broker of Fraleigh & Rakow Realty in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and 2010 chair of the NAR Professional Standards Committee. She was the president of the New York State Association of REALTORS® in 2008 and the New York State REALTOR® of the Year in 2003.