There is an ongoing discussion about what is professionalism.
For those in business, it refers to common courtesies extended to one another. Most commonly known as the Golden Rule. Business courtesies also apply to REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) specifically outlines those courtesies in Pathways to Professionalism.
REALTORS® are expected to reach even higher in their real estate transactional business. That higher reach is the Code of Ethics. NAR spells out those expectations in the 17 Articles of the Code of Ethics and provides the practical meaning of each Article in the accompanying Standards of Practice.
The Professional Standards and Grievance Committees who implement FAAR processes for professional behavior and a group of brokers met to discuss declining professionalism. Everyone agreed that there is an alarming trend of ignoring the Code of Ethics, as well as, the courtesies listed in Pathways to Professionalism. While no one believes that many FAAR members are intentionally ignoring the rule, everyone agreed that many agents are just not aware of crossing the line to unprofessional behavior.
Virginia licensing regulations include best business practices. Licensing renewal classes provide updates every two years. NAR requires training on the Code of Ethics very two years.
Despite the mandatory updates, why is professionalism declining? The group agreed that haste and ignorance were the top two reasons. Who is to blame? Is it brokers who provides little supervision of their agents? Is it demanding clients, misinformed customers? Is it the agent population looking to cut corners? The answer is yes, yes and yes. All contribute to the downturn in professionalism.
The leadership of FAAR believes the association can play a part in improving professionalism by creating awareness to the Code of Ethics and Pathways to Professionalism.
In an effort to raise the awareness of both, FAAR is launching a year-long campaign to educate the members on what they may have forgotten, never knew or just are not connecting the rules to everyday situations.
The campaign includes a review of each Article along with its Standard(s) of Practice. Those well versed on the Code, will pen articles providing the meaning of each and the potential violation.
The main aggregator of information for the campaign is faarmembers.com but information will also be pushed out in emails, social media posts, the FAARSide newsletter and several videos. Brokers will receive the information to use in sales meetings. Open discussion classes will play out unprofessional scenarios.
The campaign is called-
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics promises exemplary conduct. Are you living the promise?
Let’s get started. The first article is about the annual professional standards services provided by FAAR. Links will take you to specific documents. The second article is by Professional Standards Committee Vice Chair, Lynn Lenahan who will comment on the level of service REALTORS® should provide to each other as outlined in the usefulness of Pathways to Professionalism.
What’s coming up next? – The introduction to the Code of Ethics, why it is call the Gift of Vision, the message in the Preamble and a discussion on Article 1 and the related Standards of Practice.
For 25 weeks a new topic will be introduced. Here is the tentative schedule
Schedule- April through November
1 Introductory article with overview on campaign and video by Lynn Lenahan & Alicia Angstadt
2 “Fee to File an ethics complaint? No!” by Pat Breme
3 Pathways to Professionalism article by Lynn Lenahan and introduce NAR Video Series
4 Video Series continues- “Respect for the Public” & “Respect for Property”
5 “Respect for Peers” & “Conclusion”
6 Code of Ethics: A Gift of Vision, Preamble & a Quiz on the Code
7 Code by Article/Standard of Practice/a Case interpretation by contributing author starting with Article 1
8 Article 2
9 Article 3
10 Article 4,5
11 Articles 6, 7
12 Articles 8, 9
13 Article 10
14 Article 11
15 Article 12
16 Articles 13, 14
17 Article 15
18 Article 16
19 Article 17
20 “What happens in an ethics hearing?” by Lynn Lenahan
21 “Why Mediate” by Alex Long
22 “Why is an Ombudsman program helpful diffusing disagreements in a transaction?” – by Elsa Rake
23 Citation program and link to FAAR brochure
24 Forms for Filing and link to faarmembers.com/forms
25 NAR’s new Code of Excellence program- when it launches
Social media posts
Videos #1 Introduce campaign-
Classes (2)- Topic TBD
Signage at FAAR and offices- logo/slogan
Pathways to Professionalism- realtor.org
2018 Code of Ethics- realtor.org
Case interpretations- realtor.org
Citation program- faarmembers.com
Ombudsman program- faarmembers.com
Arbitration Guidelines- realtor.org
VR Legal Hotline- varealtors.com