Your participation in your planning and zoning process fulfills your patriotic and social responsibility as long as there’s no conflict. A conflict would arise if you had an ownership interest in a project that you’re planning or zoning board was reviewing. An issue could also could arise if you represented a developer or builder who proposed a project to the planning or zoning board on which you sit.
If advertising leads a reasonable reader to believe that the property is located in Princeton when it isn’t, that’s not a true picture. But if the ad says something like “near Princeton,” it’s probably fine. Ad copy should honestly describe a property.
Often, we believe unethical interference occurred in these types of circumstances. We think we—not the person who was paid—are entitled to the commission. The key is to investigate and decide whether there’s an ethics complaint or arbitration request to pursue.
If your offer wasn’t submitted, that’s a violation of Article 1 of the Code, which requires REALTORS® to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. If you believe your offer hasn’t been given a fair shake, you can file an ethics complaint with your local association.
Rather than wait until the deadline is looming, why not take the time now to reacquaint yourself with and rededicate yourself to the Code and what it stands for? The time you spend with the Code will be time well spent.
The Internet has changed some aspects of the way we do business and encouraged all of us to think up innovative ways to practice real estate. Don’t forget, though, that the Code of Ethics and the law still apply in the online realm.
The law, RESPA, prohibits kickbacks, commissions, and rebates for referring a buyer or seller to a settlement service provider such as a lender. If the payments are for referring business, there’s a violation of RESPA, regardless of whether the broker or salesperson receives payment.
When seller clients instruct listing agents to disclose terms of competing offers, the agents should consult with their broker and attorney to ensure the disclosure is legal in their state and for guidance on how to carry out their clients’ instructions.
We, as real estate professionals, can be torn between business relationships with service providers and our legal responsibilities to clients. Our clients deserve to know all material information about the transaction.
Self-dealing creates a negative impression in the minds of real estate consumers. Article 1 requires honesty to all parties in the transaction. Standard of Practice 1-6 requires offers to be presented objectively. Article 2 requires us to avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, and concealment of pertinent facts about the transaction.
There’s no mandatory reporting rule for individual REALTORS® in the Code. NAR has considered a mandatory duty but hasn’t adopted it. But certainly the spirit of the NAR Code of Ethics is that violations of law should be reported.
As dual agents, you both represent the buyer and the seller. Unless the state specifies otherwise, a dual agent can legally contact either client, as the buyer and the seller are the clients of either agent.
Under the Model Rules and Regulations of MLS, the listing broker’s offer of compensation could be paraphrased as, “I, listing broker, promise to pay you, cooperating broker, x percent of cooperative compensation if you become the procuring cause of the sale.” The offer isn’t “I promise to pay you if I collect enough from the seller.”